At the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, our mission is to create connections that inspire people to take action for wildlife.
We aim to be a welcoming place that cares and strives for the highest standards of conservation and sustainability. But how do we do it? The undercurrent to our mission is one of our foundations at the Zoo—education.
Our education department is full of awesome teachers and staff members who work hard every day to reach our visitors beyond just a fun day at the Zoo. Whether you encounter our education programs when you visit normally or if you sign up for a specific program, they aim to make sure you or your kids leave knowing a little more than when you came—and that you have fun doing it!
There are several ways we live out our mission through education. Here are a few, and how you can get involved.
Kid and family programs
Everyone loves a day at the Zoo. But did you know we offer a wide variety of monthly programs to take the fun to the next level? From day to night, we have events for all ages and interests. Some of our favorites include Kids Night Out, where kids can have a blast while parents enjoy some time away, and Storytime at the Zoo, a free event in partnership with the Orange County Library System. Looking for fun family activities? Our Night Hike, where the family can take a flashlight tour of the Zoo, often sells out, and Wild Zoo Art is perfect for the creative types to make some memories together. Check out the upcoming events on our website to find the perfect program for you. There’s always something new to do!
While we might be known for fun things to do for kids in Orlando, adults aren’t left out at the Central Florida Zoo. You can unleash your inner child at events like our Night Hike, which is open to all ages. Or, if you’re a shutterbug, check out our Wildlife Photography in Zoos workshop. You’ll have the chance to deepen your passion with techniques that work for film and digital cameras. You’re never too old to learn something new, so check out our adult programs here.
School break camps
Just because school is out of session doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. You can feed your little animal lover’s curiosity with one of our regular camps. We offer summer camps, spring break camps and even camps during breaks like Presidents’ Day. We offer options for a variety of ages and on a variety of topics—but they’re all designed to give kids memorable, educational hands-on experiences. They will learn about all aspects of animals while enjoying games, crafts, and more. Plus, they’ll work on teambuilding and make some new friends, all directed by our awesome educational staff. Spots go fast, so check out all of our upcoming Central Florida camp programs here.
While our camps can enhance students’ learning experience in school, we also offer excellent Central Florida homeschool programs that can enhance learning. Each month during the school year, we offer homeschool programs for students ages 5-8 and 9-13. We also offer periodic workshops for older students 13-17 and for the whole family. These sessions bring the classroom to life with a focused topic, ranging from the food chain to camouflage and nocturnal animals. They’re the perfect way to add some excitement, variety and depth to science lessons, especially for learners who love animals. Learn more here.
If you’ve been to the Zoo, you might have participated in one of our education initiatives! We spotlight Conservation Days throughout the year, where we aim to share more about a specific animal issue through games, crafts and even animal encounters. From Endangered Species Day and World Ocean Day to Bear Awareness Day, these efforts are great chances to learn more about the issues we care most about—and be inspired to make a difference.
At our Florida zoo, we believe learning should be fun. That’s our goal with all of our educational programs, and we’re proud of how they help people build connections with animals and inspire them to do more. We look forward to continuing to offer unique and interesting educational opportunities to our Central Florida community, and we hope to see you at a program soon.