× EFFECTIVE MONDAY, NOV. 23: As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums will temporarily close. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media.

School Programs

Virtual and Free
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Due to COVID-19, the Zoo’s on-site school programs are on hold. While we cannot meet your class in person, we invite you to connect with Zoo educators in one of our free, virtual school programs.

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

Dates: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. 

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

Dates: Every other Wednesday, 10 a.m. 

Incredible Ectotherms 

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

Grades: K-4

Dates: Every other Wednesday, 10 a.m. 

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.

Grades: K-5

Dates: Every other Thursday, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. 

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.

Grades: K-5

Dates: Every other Thursday, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. 


Virtual school programs are live, hosted via Zoom and are approximately 30 minutes long. Students will be visible to the Zoo educator and their classmates, and will have the ability to raise their hands to ask questions. In order to participate in this format, those registering will need to provide copies of parental permissions to participate in onscreen programs. For questions about program participation, contact nzp-education@si.edu


Virtual school programs are best enjoyed by groups of 10 to 35 students. If you have more students than the program capacity, please register for a second program or write in a special request for consideration.

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.