Zoo Investigations

Zoo Investigations

Most School Days
Times Vary
$100 per class, Scholarships Available
Grades K–5
Register Here

Polar bear in exhibit


During this one-hour web-based program, students confront the real-life, science-based challenges that zookeepers and researchers face every day.

Investigations are linked to the Illinois State Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core Standards.

Zoo Investigations

$100 per class

Students will take on the role of zoo scientists in this interactive virtual program series, developing their science skills as they make observations, gather data, and propose solutions to authentic animal care challenges.

Each program is designed to serve one class at a time and will take place via Google Meets or Zoom. Zoo staff will work with participating educators to determine the best platform for each classroom.

Private programs can be offered most school days at 9:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., and 1 p.m., and each time slot is limited to 35 students unless otherwise arranged with zoo staff. Custom times may also be available upon request. To schedule a custom time, contact learning@lpzoo.org.

The Cool Chicken Challenge (Grades K–2)

The chickens at Lincoln Park Zoo have been acting a bit strange lately, especially on hot days. Using their powers of observation, students will run a science experiment to figure out how to make sure the chickens are as healthy and comfortable as possible.

The Itchy, Scratchy Polar Bear (Grades 3–5)

What’s going on with Siku the polar bear? All of a sudden, he can’t stop scratching his back. Using observation and critical thinking, students will get to the bottom of this puzzling behavior and create a plan to make sure Siku is living his best polar bear life!

If You Give a Gorilla a Grape (Grades K–5)

Gorillas as social creatures that live in troops. Just like in any family, they sometimes take each other’s stuff. Students will use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create a plan to make sure all members of the gorilla troop have just what they need to grow and thrive.


Pre-program Narratives

Pre-program narratives are available for download for each Zoo Investigations program. Use them with students, if you choose, to give them an idea of what to expect from the program. These resources are especially recommended for younger and/or diverse learners.


More Information

NGSS Learning Standards

All Zoo Investigations programs support:

  • K-LS-1-1, K-ESS2-1, K-ESS2-2, K-E-SS2-2, K-E-SS3-3
  • 1-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 1-LS3-1, 1-ES1-1, 1-ES1-2
  • 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-4, 2-ESS2-1
  • 3-PS2-1, 3-PS2-2, 3-PS2-3, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2
  • 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4, 4-LS1-1, 4-ESS2-2
  • 5-PS1-3, 5-LS1-1

They also support the learning of key science practices, including:

  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions


The zoo offers full scholarships, thanks to the generosity of several donors, that cover the cost of the program.

Scholarships are limited, and submitting a scholarship application does not guarantee receipt of a scholarship. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all scholarships have been distributed. Lincoln Park Zoo awards scholarships based on the application and the needs of students. You will be notified by email about the status of your application.

Zoo Investigations Scholarship Application

Payment information

Credit card payment is necessary at the time of reservation.

Gift Cards for Zoo Programs

Share the love of wildlife by purchasing a gift card for select Lincoln Park Zoo programs! Purchase one for your child’s class or the animal-lover in your life. Gift cards are valid for virtual and in-person camps (prek–8), Malott Family Penguin Encounters (ages 6 and older), Monthly Action Plan (family program), Zoo Investigations (preK–5), and Zoo Explorers (preK–8).

Gift cards are available for $25 , $50 , $75 , and $100.


Please note that Zoo Investigations cancellations made with less than 48-hours notice are subject to a 12.5% cancellation fee.

Program Partners

Quest Foundation
PwC Charitable Foundation


Don’t see what you’re looking for? Lincoln Park Zoo learning staff will work with you to customize an experience to fit your needs. Please contact us for prices and availability.

 Get Prices and Availability

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