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Kids Educational Activities: Zoo Scavenger Hunt

Updated on June 19, 2013
Scavenger hunts incorporate learning into a fun trip to the zoo!
Scavenger hunts incorporate learning into a fun trip to the zoo! | Source

The next time you are planning a trip to the zoo, why not add a little more fun to the day? A Zoo Scavenger Hunt is a great way to learn about animals while enjoying the visit!

Is a giraffe on your list?
Is a giraffe on your list? | Source


Some zoos have free scavenger hunts available on their web sites! If you don't find one there, call the education center to ask. Or, create your own!

Scavenger Hunt Themes

To create a fun scavenger hunt at the zoo, first select a theme. There are many options to choose from, based on the age of the hunters. The zoo's web site can help with ideas of what you can expect to find there, if you haven't visited this zoo in the past. Here are some potential themes for your zoo hunt:

For younger children:

  • Find individual animals (provide a list, such as bear, tiger, shark, etc.)
  • Find animals that live in a particular environment (on land, in water, in trees)
  • Find animals that are all the same color.
  • Find items besides animals, such as a sign with an arrow, a restaurant, a big tree, or a red flower

For older children:

  • Give them a specific food, and have them find animals that eat that food, such as plants, insects, fish, etc.
  • Find animals that have a certain type of outside covering, such as fur, scales, or exoskeleton.
  • Find animals that are mammals, reptiles, birds, etc. For this theme, ask them to find a specific number of each.


Check the zoo's web site when you plan your trip to find lists of animals, a map of the zoo, and more ideas to help design the scavenger hunt!

Scavenger Hunt Methods

Next, decide how you want the children to identify when they've found an item on the list. This method will depend on the ages of the kids, but here are a few ideas:

List Checkoff. Provide a list to the kids at the beginning of the trip, and have them check off the items with pencil or crayon.

Draw what you see. Next to each item in the list, leave some room for them to draw a picture of the list item.

Take Pictures! Have the kids use a camera or smart phone to take pictures of the items. To confirm that they found the items, you can view the pictures. You can also make these into a fun photo book or collage to commemorate the visit!

A zoo scavenger hunt could include a search for baby animals!
A zoo scavenger hunt could include a search for baby animals! | Source
Focus on a theme to make the scavenger hunt fun!
Focus on a theme to make the scavenger hunt fun! | Source

Zoo Game Variations

There are many variations to the zoo scavenger hunt that are also fun and educational.

  • Make a crossword puzzle with clues from the zoo web site. There are many online sites that will allow you to make a crossword puzzle (you fill in the words) and print it out for the kids to complete.
  • Use a quiz instead of a scavenger hunt list and have the children answer questions. For example, you could ask what a shark eats, or which animals live in the desert.
  • Cater to their interests by creating a scavenger hunt or puzzle that is focused on an area they most enjoy, such as animals of the ocean or plains.

Scavenger hunts are easy and fun ways to get your children learning about their environment. Try them at the zoo or on any other excursion to keep them interested. Happy hunting!


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    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Jeff - I'd love to hear how your kids like it!

    • Jeff Gamble profile image

      Jeff Gamble 

      6 years ago from Denton, Texas

      Great idea Amy - we're visiting the Fort Worth zoo next week and will have to try this out

    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Marcy! Having worked at a zoo, it's always fun to find new ways to enjoy a visit.

    • Amy Gillie profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy Gillie 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks Nettlemere! My son loves to take pictures, and I think most kids do!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I love the idea of taking this type of game to the zoo! Kids would get a real kick out of anything like this - great suggestions! The photo idea is perfect - they love taking pictures!

    • Nettlemere profile image


      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Great ideas for kids to make the most of a visit to the zoo and a good tip about having them take photos for evidence rather then having to collect something physical.


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