Virtual Field Trips: Distance Learning

Program Description

Our Virtual Field Trips: Distance Learning programs offer a unique opportunity for students and families to experience live interactive footage of exhibits, animals, and staff at the Buffalo Zoo without leaving their classrooms or workstations! Connecting with us is easy. All you need is an internet connected computer with a webcam and speakers to bring the Zoo into your home, classroom, or office!

Program Details

These interactive presentations are geared toward school groups or learning pods. In each session, students will learn about the natural world with our education professionals. Class sizes are limited to 30 students or less. Choose from one of our topics below, or call for customized program pricing. 


All programs are interactive, multimedia, and employ the use of live animals and live exhibit footage as needed.

All programs are designed to help students fulfill the National and New York State Learning Standards.

Class size is limited to 25-30 students for maximum interactivity and program quality.

Program connections are made through IP videoconferencing or our secure FieldTripZoom account. We can also connect through your Zoom account, however, a test call is required prior to your program date.

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


What do you need to take part?

Internet access

ONE of the following:

— Computer with a webcam and microphone 

— iPad or Android tablet

— Two-way audio/visual tele-conferencing equipment. 

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


What are the program fees?

$135 for a 45-minute session

For our series class, Animal Enrichment: $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.




NEW! 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 (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.



What is the Zoo’s cancellation policy?

Cancellations must be received at least 48 hours in advance. The Buffalo Zoo will then make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, the Buffalo Zoo will issue a refund. The refund will be assessed one 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 Buffalo 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, the Buffalo Zoo will make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, the Buffalo Zoo will issue a full refund.

Registration Info

Distance learning programs offer a unique opportunity for students in Western New York and throughout the country to see live interactive footage of exhibits, animals, and staff at the Buffalo Zoo without leaving their classrooms!

How do you schedule a distance learning program?
1. Contact the Distance Learning Coordinator at the Buffalo Zoo to schedule a program for a specific date, at (716) 995-6143.

2. The Zoo will send a confirmation letter with additional information, along with any necessary materials.