Thompson Park Zoo and Conservancy

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School Programs-

During these 30 minute programs, students will gather in our classroom to learn about wildlife biology and ecology. They will also get to meet several of our education animals. Our programs have been designed to meet New York State education standards.

Most programs are geared toward elementary audiences. However, programs for older audiences can be arranged upon request. Programs can also be specifically designed to cater to curriculum  needs and enhance classroom learning. Maximum of 30 students per program session please.

Cost: $4.50 /child $6.75 /student over 12


Additional options to enhance your experience:

Butterfly House tour: $25.00/class. Classes will be broken into smaller groups.

Guided tour: $35.00/.

Animal Ambassadors at the Gate: $20.00 One animal from our education collection will meet you at the gate. Students are welcome to touch and ask questions about the animal.

Student lunches: $4.00 a piece. Save time and space and let the zoo provide your group with a bag lunch.

Teachers may opt to plan a full field trip to the NYS Zoo, which will include a program and all-day zoo admission. Additional group rate applies for zoo admission: $4.50 per child, ages 4 to 12  and $6.75 for children/ adults over 12.

Offerings are subject to change. Please contact the Education Department for more information.

Adaptations Across the Nations

Students will discover how animals from all over the world possess traits to help them survive and thrive! Participants will also get to meet several animals with unique adaptations.


Desert Adaptations

What adaptations do animals possess that allow them to survive in harsh desert environments? How do they obtain water? How to they deal with extreme temperatures? Find out in this specially designed program highlighting desert inhabitants.


Endangered Animals

Students will be introduced to several endangered animals and learn about the factors that threaten their survival.


Filled to the “BRIM” with Animals

This is a program designed to help students identify characteristics and adaptations of birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and mammals. Education animals will serve as ambassadors to give students an up-close look at the special features that define these animal groups.


Food Chains

Students will learn the major components of a food chain by creating their own food chains starting with the sun and a plant and ending with decomposers. Program also includes live animal encounters.


Get Outta Town!

Discover the importance of migration for many of our northern species. Where do they go? How do they get there? When do they come back? Students will learn that migration is an amazing behavioral adaptation.  


Habitat Chat

Students will learn that creatures could not survive without suitable habitats. This program includes hands-on activities, as well as live animal encounters with an emphasis on the habitat requirements necessary for their survival.


In the Not-So Still of the Night

Find out what happens at night when nocturnal animals become active. This program involves a trip to our new North Country Nights exhibit, and an up-close encounters with live nocturnal animals such as owls and millipedes.


In Your Own Backyard

Discover the diversity that exists right outside your window. Meet a few of our native education animals and discuss their population status in our area.


Nature is Sense-sational

Students will explore nature using all of their senses! In the process, they will discover how important senses are to the survival of animals. 


Owl Prowl

Owls are the perfect creatures to discuss unique, highly-evolved adaptations for hunting. Owls possess sharp talons, huge immobile eyes, and acute hearing, among other adaptations. This program includes an encounter with several live owls. 

Predator vs. Prey

Students will learn the definitions of predator and prey while meeting several live animal ambassadors. We will discuss the characteristics of these animal groups and introduce the concept of food chains/webs.


Surviving the Snow

How do the animal natives of Northern New York make it through our long, harsh winters? While some animals hibernate, others remain active under the snow or possess features suited for winter weather. This program emphasizes the adaptations of indigenous species.

Wonders of Water

This program is part of the AZA’s National Awareness Campaign. Students will learn all about water and its importance in the lives of all organisms. 

Contact Information for the NYS Zoo Education Department

Amanda Paddock - Curator of Conservation and Education

Thompson Park Zoo and Conservancy

1 Thompson Park

Watertown, NY 13601


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Visit the New York State Zoo Today (315) 782-6180

What Visitors Say

The North Country's best Summer destination.

- Alan, Watertown, NY