× The Zoo is open! Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Small Mammal House and Reptile Discovery Center will be closed Sept. 18 due to HVAC issues. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

School Programs

Virtual and Free
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Registration for fall virtual school programs is now open! Registration for spring virtual school programs opens Nov. 10. 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.

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

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

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 between some incredible 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

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

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

Format & Size

All virtual school programs are live and are approximately 45 minutes long. Many programs include views of the Zoo’s animals, but seeing animals is never guaranteed. There are two different virtual program formats, Classroom and Assembly style. 

Classroom Programs 

Classroom programs are “one on classroom/grade” style programs, designed for 10 to 100 students. These programs take place on Zoom or the school’s approved technology platform. 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. If you have more than 100 students, 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, see the Assembly style programs or visit the webinars page for more information. For questions about program participation, contact nzp-education@si.edu.  

Assembly-style Programs 

Assembly-style programs take place on the second* Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. ET from October to May. These 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, with a maximum of 500 participants. In webinar format, audio and video is disabled but students can actively participate using polls, Q&A and chat (to hosts only).

*There may be some exceptions.

How to Register

Virtual school programs are free, but registration is required. 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.