The Zoo is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. Plan your visit.

School Programs

Virtual and Free
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Thank you for joining us for the 2021/2022 school year! Check back in late summer for fall program registration.

Discover animals, habitats and conservation through engaging virtual programs with an educator from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Virtual Field Trips

Virtual field trips are discussion-oriented lessons designed for groups of 10 to 100 students that correspond with Next Generation Science Standards. Programs are live and approximately 45 minutes long. Many programs include views of the Zoo’s animals, but seeing animals is never guaranteed. These programs take place on Zoom or the school’s approved virtual platform. Students will be visible to the Zoo educator and their classmates and will have the ability to raise their hands to engage 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.  

A canid (called a fennec fox) with thick, desert sand-colored fur, a bushy tail and big ears

What Makes a Habitat a Home? 

Explore habitats around the world. From deserts to rainforests, what makes these habitats suitable animal homes?

Grades: K-3

prehensile-tailed porcupine eating a banana

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

A northern red salamander climbing over rocks

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

An orange-red snake with darker red spots along its body, called a corn snake, slithers through the grass with its head lifted

Incredible Ectotherms 

Snakes, salamanders, caecilians, oh my! Explore the commonalities and differences between some incredible ectotherms. 

Grades: K-4

Sea lion standing on a rock with its blackish flippers visible

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

Bright pink-winged bird with a pinkish blush to the rest of the plumage. The bill is long and widened at the tip.

Rainforest Walk 

Fly, leap and swim along on an adventure through the Amazon Rainforest to explore the sights and sounds of plants and animals living in this unique ecosystem. 

Grades: K-5

A cheetah laying in the grass on a sunny day

Detective Dentition

Put your detective skills to the test and uncover the identity of several African animals by examining their skulls and using clues about consumer groups. 

Grades: 3-5

Public Virtual Programs

These public programs are designed for a variety of students to join and learn together, from small groups and home-school students to large groups or schools. Programs take place on Zoom in webinar format. In this format, audio and video is disabled but students can actively participate using polls, Q&A and chat. Visit the webinars page for more information.

UnZOOsual careers program logo

UnZOOsual Careers

In this monthly series, discover the variety of careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) at the Zoo. Held on the first Friday of the month (Oct. to Jun.) at 1 p.m. ET.

Grades: 6-8

a naked mole-rat sits behind green leafy vegetables

Assembly Programs

This series is a public version of our virtual field trips. Program topics rotate monthly and are held on the second Wednesday of the month (Oct. to May) at 1 p.m. ET. 

Grades: K-5

A gray catbird in a researchers hand. It has colored bands around its ankles.

Animal Celebrations

Throughout the year, check for special edition programs celebrating endangered species and conservation success stories.    

Grades: K-12

How to Register

All Zoo virtual programs are free, but registration is required for most. See the Virtual Programs Calendar for more information and to register for an upcoming program.

Register for a Program


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