The Central Florida Zoo: Top Tips For Your Homeschool Field Trip

Did you know the Central Florida Zoo opened with just 38 animals in 1975? Today there are more than 400 amazing animals that call the zoo home, making it the perfect spot for a field trip this year. If your kids love learning about animals, you won’t want to miss this great field trip opportunity. 

The Central Florida Zoo is a wonderful choice for a field trip not just because of all the wildlife, but because of the educational opportunities they offer for families and homeschoolers as well. During our visit, we took advantage of their up-close animal encounters. It’s an adventure we will never forget!

Keep reading to learn more about the homeschool zoo classes, the affordable annual membership option, and all our favorite animals to visit at the zoo. Plus, get the scoop on our new science unit studies featuring wild animals for even more incredible learning adventures.

Homeschooling at the Zoo

Homeschooling at the zoo is easy and tons of fun! Emily loves participating in the homeschool zoo classes available at the Central Florida Zoo. They offer homeschool classes for children from ages 5 to 17 as well as family classes so everyone can learn together.

Homeschool classes at the zoo, also known as Zooventures, are interactive adventures that include animal encounters, games, crafts, hands-on learning activities, and more. It’s the perfect hands-on interest-led science class for your kiddos!

We opted to participate in the zoo’s annual membership program because there are tons of benefits for our family. The annual pass comes with free access to the zoo and the botanical gardens throughout the year. Plus, discounts on purchases in the gift show and tickets to animal encounters, homeschool classes, and lots of discounts at other museums and attractions affiliated with the Central Florida Zoo. 

Must-Do Learning Activities at the Central Florida Zoo

If you’re planning a trip to the Central Florida Zoo in the near future, there are a few things you should definitely add to your plan for the day. If you’re wondering which exhibits are the most fun and which animals you just can’t miss, keep reading. Here are some of Emily’s favorite animals to visit at the zoo:


The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal at a top speed of more than 60 miles per hour. In the wild, cheetahs are threatened by habitat loss and low genetic diversity. At the Central Florida Zoo, you can meet two cheetah brothers.


A fossa is a really amazing animal from the island of Madagascar. These animals spend a lot of time in the trees, leaping from tree to tree. They have a long tail for balance and sort of look like a cross between a cat and a monkey. 

Fossas also spend a lot of time on the ground and can cover long distances. However, fossas don’t spend much time sleeping. They’re awake during the day and at night, napping whenever they need a little extra sleep.


Giraffes live in the savannas of Africa, feeding on leaves and flowers. Their height gives them an advantage over other herbivores. They use their long purple prehensile tongue to rip leaves off branches. You can even get the chance to see this up close and in person at the zoo by feeding the giraffes.

African Crested Porcupine

The African Crested Porcupine is the world’s largest porcupine! You might want to visit these animals late in the day since porcupines are nocturnal animals. If you visit in the morning, you might get to see these porcupine sisters sleeping together with their quills facing out for protection.

Clouded Leopard

Clouded leopards have cloud-like spots on their fur. Their spots aren’t the only cool thing about these unique leopards. They have special bones that allow them to climb upside down and hang from their back feet or climb head first down trees.

Barnyard Buddies

The Barnyard Buddies Children’s Petting Zoo lets you interact with farm animals and feed these curious creatures from the palm of your hand. You get a chance to visit with the alpaca, chickens, goats, Harlequin sheep and llama. This hands-on experience allows visitors to get up close with each of these barnyard animals.

Zipline Courses

Seminole Aerial Adventures offers a wonderful new perspective via a zipline course. It’s a must-do we’re hoping to take advantage of on our next trip to the Central Florida Zoo. If you’re an annual pass holder, you’ll get a 10% discount on zipline tickets to help you take advantage of this new adventure at the zoo too. 

An Amazing Rhino Encounter

Among the really cool experience available at The Central Florida Zoo, the rhinoceros encounters are one you don’t want to miss. The zoo offers many different animal encounter experiences including opportunities for homeschoolers to meet nocturnal animals, reptiles, and animals from around the world. 

During our field trip to The Central Florida Zoo, we got to experience the excitement of an up-close encounter with a rhinoceros! The zoo hosts these encounters daily for $25 per person for annual pass holders. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn more about the zoo’s rhino, PJ, and talk with the zookeepers one on one. 

We got to touch PJ the rhino and take lots of pictures with him too. Emily said his skin looks like armor, but it feels like a “dried out brownie!” We also learned that rhinos are herbivores with a big appetite when we saw PJ eat a whole banana, skin, and all!

Since the zoo limits these rhino encounters to just five participants, your kids will get lots of up-close personal time with PJ the rhino and a knowledgeable zookeeper to answer all their questions. It’s an amazing way to get some real-world experience with a threatened animal like this Indian rhinoceros during your field trip.

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Homeschool Field Trip

Make sure you get the most out of your field trip to the zoo with our latest group of mini-unit studies. These interest-led unit studies are built around the fascinating Who Would Win book series by Jerry Pallotta. 

The Who Would Win Mini Unit Studies are perfect for diving deep into the facts about the animals your homeschooler loves the best at the zoo. You could also use them to get your kids excited about your upcoming field trip to The Central Florida Zoo. If you’ll be traveling from a distance and need something to do in the car, these books and unit studies all about animals are perfect for keeping kids entertained and learning at the same time.

4 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Field Trip to the Zoo Awesome

Want more tips for your homeschool field trip to the zoo? Discover 4 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Field Trip to the Zoo Awesome in my article about how we get the most out of our zoo experience. 

Which animal is your child’s favorite to see at the zoo? Share your favorite zoo animals and zoo homeschool experiences in the comment section. Then, check and see if you can find their favorite animals in my new mini-unit studies.