What We Do Education

Zoos play an important role in education by introducing students to inquiry-based science that captures their imaginations and encourages exploration and innovation.


As one of the region’s foremost providers of lifelong learning opportunities, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo operates programs for students and visitors of all ages. From post-graduate research students to fourth-grade Career Day, the focus on science-learning and application runs deep. Cleveland Zoological Society donors have been central to these successful programs, ensuring access and affordability for more than 25 years.

Each year, roughly 100,000 students attend Zoo education programs – from week-long summer camps, to career days or programs for the homeschool community. Private philanthropic funding from Zoo Society donors allows the Zoo to provide free transportation and program scholarships to school districts in some of Northeast Ohio’s most underserved communities.

Developing Minds for Our Future

As one of the most popular year-round destinations in Northeast Ohio, the Zoo enhances the regional economy and quality of life in our community. The Zoo serves a wide and diverse audience of 1.1 million visitors annually. Approximately 80% are from 11 counties in Northeast Ohio. Free Mondays and free school visits account for approximately one-third of total attendance. Conservation education programming enhances the guest experience and develops the next generation of science-minded students.

Fostering inquiry-based learning: Northeast Ohio’s health and vitality are dependent upon establishing a highly skilled workforce, capable of thinking critically, collaborating to solve problems, and using science-based inquiry to innovate and create. Hands-on learning opportunities during school field trips, education programs or even a day trip to the Zoo reinforce science education and critical thinking.

Partnering with CMSD: The Zoo collaborates with Cleveland Metropolitan School District to embed inquiry-based science programs in seventh and eighth grade classrooms at five science-focused schools, as well as in every fifth grade classroom in the district. A new partnership with Rhodes School of Environmental Studies includes curriculum for high school students to use the 183-acre Zoo grounds as their classroom. At the Zoo, they learn biology and other sciences, and develop skills as community conservation leaders.

Connecting to classrooms near and far: The Online Resource Library houses thousands of multimedia resources, educational documents and lessons plans in a searchable database accessible 24/7 by educators throughout the country. These resources can complement an on-site visit or bring Zoo learning off-site to classroom or informal educational settings.

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