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The zoo is one of those places I really enjoy visiting when the weather is nice, therefore it often becomes a fun spring/summer excursion with my children. And because of the nicer weather, more animals tend to be out, and we can often see new baby animals too!
When heading off to a place like the zoo or a museum, it can be helpful to have an activity on hand to keep the children busy and interested. Scavenger hunts are a great way to do this! They keep the kids paying attention, asking questions, and eager to see each thing in anticipation of checking off another item on the list.
Zoo Scavenger Hunt for Younger Children
I have created this FREE, fun, and colorful (also prints well in black and white), Zoo Scavenger Hunt Printable for young children. Simply print it out, read the list with your children so they’ll know what to look for, and circle or mark out the items on the list as you see them. Have fun with it and enjoy looking for each item and discussing them as you go!
For More In-Depth Fun and Learning with Younger Children
If you want to get a little more in-depth with your learning at the zoo, you may print out on card stock some photos of animals you will find at the zoo you are visiting. Have your children find the animals and write some facts about them on the backs of the cards. Or take large lined notecards and print the names of the animals on the unlined sides.
When you get to the zoo, hand the cards to your children and start your scavenger hunt fun.
When they find each animal, they can take a photo of it. This can later be printed at home and glued over the name you wrote on the unlined side of the card.
Then they can write the information they learned on the lined side of the card.
After printing and gluing the photos at home, you can hole punch and use string to create a book of the animals they found and learned about at the zoo!
Scavenger Hunt Fun for Older Children
The next Zoo Scavenger Hunt Printable is for older children or even tweens and teens. You can play along with your children, or you can even make it a friendly competition! This would also be fun as a youth activity for students from your church or other group (like a homeschool group or group of friends). You can make rules (or not!), see which person or team can find all of the items on the list the fastest, or just have fun walking around the zoo together and looking for and discussing the animals and other things on the list.
I’ve done similar scavenger hunts with our church’s youth group. We divided the students into teams (with each team having at least one adult for supervision and safety) and had each team take a picture of each item on the list. You can have the students pose in the pictures and have the adults take the photos, or you can take the pictures of the items without the students in the pictures. Either way works, but we found that it was more fun to have the students in the photos! The teams were awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places as they returned to the starting/finishing point. It was lots of fun looking at the photos together!
Zoo Related Books
The fun doesn’t have to stop once you leave the zoo! There are lots and lots of great books for children of various ages that relate to the zoo. I’ve listed just a few of them below.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Curious George Goes to the Zoo by Margret and H.A. Rey
Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki
Older Children and Tweens:
The Secret Zoo by by Bryan Chick
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee