Distance Learning: Virtual Field Trips

Program Description

Our Virtual Field Trips: Distance Learning programs offer a unique opportunity for students and families to experience the Buffalo Zoo without leaving their classrooms or workstations!  Our interactive multimedia programs can include LIVE animal exhibit visits through our mobile devices or exhibit cams, pre-recorded video segments, and LIVE in studio education animal ambassador visits.  

Connecting with us is easy. No fancy equipment is required. All you need is an internet connected computer with a webcam and speakers to join our educators on a journey which can bring your classroom and learning to life!

All programs align with New York State Common Core Learning Standards and New York State Science Learning Standards. For a complete listing of relevant Standards, please contact us.

Program Details

What:  Virtual online programs

Who:  School classes, Home School families, After School programs, and more

Where:  Online with a computer or device with internet access, speakers, and a microphone

When:  Year round

Time:  45 minute program

Cost:  $135 per program

How:  Call 716-995-6143 to register

Class sizes are limited to 30 students to ensure maximum interactivity, quality, and fun.

Our preferred program connections can made through IP videoconferencing or our secure FieldTripZoom account. We can also connect through your Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other videoconferencing method. However, a test call is required prior to your program date to ensure connectivity.



— Internet access

ONE of the following:

— Computer with a webcam and microphone

— iPad or Android table

— Two-way audio/visual tele-conferencing equipment

Connecting with us is easy and we’ll walk you through every step of the way!


Available Program Topics:

VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP: Are you wishing that you could have a private tour of the Buffalo Zoo, but are unable to bring your group to us? Then a Virtual Field Trip is what you’ve been waiting for! Our education staff will lead your group through the zoo using our live exhibit cameras and pre-recorded video footage of our amazing animals. Virtual tours can be personalized to showcase a few of your favorite animals, based on availability.


A TO ZOO (30 MINUTES, PRE-K): Practice the alphabet with some of your favorite zoo animals! Students will sing along, share what they know, and learn about unique creatures that start with each letter.


ZOO’S CLUES (30 MINUTES, PRE-K): Can you find the biggest, longest, tallest, or smartest animals in the Zoo? Students will have opportunities for movement activities as they uncover clues to identify animals all over the zoo! 


WHO’S AT THE ZOO? (GRADES K–3): There are a lot of interesting animals and fun careers at a zoo! In this program, students will encounter a variety of animals and learn how our dedicated staff give them the absolute best care!


WILD WINTER ANIMALS (GRADES K–3): How do animals prepare for the winter and seasonal changes? Students will observe animals and explore how they use clever winter survival strategies such as migration, hibernation and other amazing adaptations. 


ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION (GRADES K–5): Students will learn how scientists classify, or group, animals according to features that they have in common. By looking at an animal’s body structure and body covering, students will investigate the characteristics and adaptations of the following animal classes: birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians!


SENSE-SATIONAL ANIMALS (GRADES K–6): Can you imagine a world where you could taste with your feet (like a butterfly) and smell with your tongue (like a snake)? Animals have developed amazing adaptations like these to allow them to survive in their environment. Students will discover how animals sense the world in many different ways.


BEHAVIOR BASICS (GRADES K–8): Playing, grooming, stalking….slithering, basking, and walking! Students will discover how we can better understand animals by observing their physical characteristics and behavior. They will also learn how zookeepers design enrichment for animals based on their natural behaviors. 


THE RAINFOREST EXPERIENCE (GRADES 1–7): Where in the world can you hear parrots squawk, monkeys howl, and insects buzz? In the tropical rainforest, of course! Students discover the importance of the rainforest and the consequences of its destruction by covering the layers, sounds, and animals of these vanishing rainforests. Students will also learn what they can do to help save this vanishing habitat.


HABITAT EXPLORERS (GRADES 3–8): Take an adventure around the world while visiting the Buffalo Zoo! Discover how scientists study animal adaptations and ecosystem relationships to protect diverse biomes around the world. We’ll explore the desert, rainforest, and tundra to uncover adaptations that enable animals to survive in extreme environments! 


CONSERVATION CONNECTION (GRADES 4–12): Are all animals important in an ecosystem? During this experience students explore the interconnectedness of the natural world by discussing food webs, endangered species, and zoo conservation. 


Q&A SESSION (ALL GRADES): Get all of your burning questions answered by the experts at the Buffalo Zoo during a question and answer session! Topics are set by the interested school, class, or community group in conjunction with the Buffalo Zoo. Students prepare questions ahead of time and are able to “interview” zoo staff. Example topics: local wildlife, careers, birds, etc.


ANIMAL ENRICHMENT SERIES PROGRAM (ALL GRADES): Let your students become scientists as they learn about animal behavior and animal enrichment in zoos! As the highlight of the program, students learn how to make specific enrichment items for designated species of animals at the Buffalo Zoo. This two-session experience culminates in a trip to the Zoo where students get the opportunity to observe the animals’ behavior as they receive their enrichment (non-local schools receive a “virtual field trip” to culminate the program). The cost of this two session program is $250 for non-local schools or $300 for local schools plus the cost of admission for students and chaperones during a culminating field trip to the Zoo.


TEACHER WORKSHOP: Would you like to introduce teachers at your school to videoconferencing and “virtual field trips” as an exciting and interactive learning experience? The Buffalo Zoo can be a part of your teacher training by providing a 30-minute workshop that demonstrates various aspects of our videoconferencing programs. The Zoo educator will briefly review the content of our distance learning programs and incorporate live animals, live cams, and a Q & A segment into the session.



Cancellations must be received at least 48 hours in advance. We will make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, a refund will be issued. The refund will be assessed an administrative charge of $25. If a cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the scheduled program, the full program fee will still be charged.

If a school encounters technical problems on the scheduled date of a program, the Zoo will wait approximately 15 minutes after the program start time to determine if the problem can be resolved. If not, the program will be cancelled for that date. The school then has the option to reschedule the program. If the school chooses not to reschedule, or if the technical issues cannot be resolved for another program date, the full program fee will still be charged.

In the event of weather-related zoo or school closings, we will make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, a full refund will be issued.



The Exploratory Enrichment program by Erie 1 BOCES allows students to visit areas of cultural significance for a first hand learning experience that ties in with the Next Generation learning standards. Erie 1 BOCES staff developers can help support students and staff in a 4 day experience, both on-site and in the classroom for students to experience collaborative intensive learning, using Model Schools days. This co-service is an excellent way for districts to provide field trips and other experiences for students.

The Buffalo Zoo’s Education team is here to provide your students with a WILD educational experience! Whether you’re looking for a virtual program that will take you inside some of our animal exhibits, a presentation to enhance your Zoo field trip, or the Zoomobile to bring the Zoo to You, we can meet your group’s learning needs. There are so many topics to choose from, including unique habitats, amazing adaptations, conservation, and so much more!