Kids of all ages deserve the chance to experience the natural world and the animals that call it home. And what better place than the Minnesota Zoo to connect to these animals.

A field trip to the Minnesota Zoo is invaluable. Not only does it connect kids to nature, but it also:

  • Supports a child’s natural curiosity,
  • Provides a real-life experience for kids,
  • Introduces kids to new opportunities, and
  • Allows kids to explore personal interests.

These are all critical in the development of children. And to top it off, being outdoors has also shown to improve a child’s physical, emotional, and psychological health and well-being.

So come discover, explore, learn and have fun!

Book your FREE Trip Today!
Head Start programs receive FREE admission to the Minnesota Zoo every day of the year! Limited funds are also available for bussing.

Your Visit Includes:

  • Free admission for all children and adults in your group
  • Access to the Zoo’s animal exhibits
  • Wings Financial World of Birds Show
  • Play areas: Beehive, Hanifl Family Wild Woods (seasonal), and Woodland Adventure (seasonal)
  • Animal Demonstrations and Shows

To email or fax a request use the Head Start Field Trip Registration Form by clicking on the button below. A confirmation will be sent within 10 days confirming a date. Click the button below to begin.

We are currently not taking reservations for the 2020-2021 school year. Please check back for updates.

If you have any questions Email Us, Fax: 952-997-4838, or call 952-431-9218.

Programs Serving Head Start Groups

Head Start Bus Fund—(funds currently available)
A Head Start Bus Fund is available to cover your cost of transportation to and from the Zoo. These grants are awarded based on the availability of funds. To participate, simply indicate you need bus funds on your form above.

Early Childhood Field Trip Guide—New!
Field trips are an excellent way to support the natural curiosity of young children. Download the Early Childhood Field Trip Guide to help create a focused learning experience during your visit. This guide contains suggested itineraries, student questioning strategies, and other hints for interacting with your students to reinforce their empathy towards the natural world.

Preschool Encounters
Enhance your Minnesota Zoo field trip and engage your early learners’ sense of wonder and curiosity! Preschool Encounters is an all new educational program designed specifically for Head Start groups. Led by a Zoo Naturalist, each program is a half-hour long and includes a live animal encounter, a story, and a dress-up activity. After this memorable experience, your students are sure to leave the Zoo with heightened enthusiasm and eager to learn more about wildlife and the natural world!

Days:  Weekdays, subject to availability
Cost: $3 per student/minimum of $30
Ages:  3-5 years of age

Choose from four different themes:

  • Preschool Encounters: Mammals
  • Preschool Encounters: Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Preschool Encounters: Insects
  • Preschool Encounters: Oceans

To register, please call 952.431.9218, email [email protected], or mark your program choice on your Head Start Field Trip Registration Form.

7 Steps to a Successful Field Trip
As you know, preparing and getting to the Zoo is part of the fun. Here are a few tips to help make the entire trip a learning experience:

  1. Be proactive! Share your agenda and expectations with your students beforehand, from the bus ride to the proposed itinerary.
  2. Prepare the children for their visit by reading books and showing pictures of the animals and other things they may see at the Zoo. Create a K-W-L chart with your class, and allow time for questions and concerns about visiting the Zoo.
  3. Practice! Pretend to visit the Zoo before you arrive to practice observation and questioning skills, and if the children will be working on an activity while at the Zoo, practice this several days before visiting as well.
  4. Communicate expectations and schedules to chaperones before your field trip to alleviate confusion, and ensure they can reach you in case of an emergency.
  5. Assign smaller groups of students to each chaperone to make it easier to manage logistics, navigate the Zoo, and view animals.
  6. Take breaks as needed to prevent students from becoming too overwhelmed in an exciting new environment. Inform students of what is coming next on your itinerary to help mitigate any apprehension or ambiguity.
  7. Most of all, have fun!