The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

School Programs

Virtual and Free
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Thank you for your interest in the Zoo's school programs. Programs have concluded for the 2020/2021 school year. Please check back this summer to register for fall virtual school programs. Note: due to COVID-19, the Zoo’s on-site school programs are still on hold.

Explore the wild side of your virtual classroom with a Zoo educator. Discover animals, habitats and conservation through engaging virtual school programs from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. These discussion-oriented lessons are designed to correspond with Next Generation Science Standards.

The Zoo’s virtual programs are made possible by technology purchased with generous support from T-Mobile.

What Makes a Habitat a Home? 

Explore habitats around the world, from deserts to rainforests and everything in between. What makes these habitats suitable animal homes?

Grades: K-3

Lifecycles of the Smooth and Scaly 

How does a salamander go from an egg to an adult? Discover the stages of amphibian lifecycles, from water to land.

Grades: K-3

Incredible Ectotherms 

Snakes, salamanders, caecilians, oh my! Explore the commonalities and differences among ectotherms.

Grades: K-4

Zoo Walk 

Come along on a virtual tour as we explore animals at the Zoo. Your choice of three trails: American Trail, Lions and Tigers, or Cheetah Conservation Station. Seeing animals is not guaranteed. Offered seasonally.

Grades: K-5

Nature Walk 

There’s so much to discover right outside your door! Meander along nature trails with a Zoo educator and learn to appreciate your natural surroundings. Offered seasonally.

Grades: K-5

Suited for Survival

Learn how adaptations help animals thrive. From camouflaging sand cats to armored armadillos, each unique adaptation serves an important purpose.

Grades: K-5


Virtual school programs are live, hosted via Zoom and are approximately 45 minutes long. Students will be visible to the Zoo educator and their classmates, and will have the ability to raise their hands to respond or ask questions. In order to participate in this format, those registering will need to sign a consent form indicating permission for students to participate in virtual programs. For questions about program participation, contact nzp-education@si.edu


Groups must contain at least 10 students to participate in this program. Virtual school programs are best enjoyed by groups of up to 100 students. If you have more students than the program capacity, please register for a second program or write in a special request for consideration. If you are seeking a program for a larger class or group, visit the webinars page for more information.  

How to Register

Virtual school programs are free, but registration is required. See the Virtual Programs Calendar to register for an upcoming program.

All programs are based on availability. If the program is booked, you can join the wait list for your desired date. You will be contacted to confirm your program and to follow up on logistics.

Register for a Program


Contact the Zoo's Center for Learning Innovation at nzp-education@si.edu.