We’re passionate about engaging students with nature and conservation, so we have a range of learning programmes that can support you and your students. 

Our popular Learning Sessions are suitable for students of all ages, and cover a range of topics from animal adaptations, ecosystems, and sustainability, to animal legends, our taonga, and careers at the Zoo.

If you’re looking for something that your students can work on over a longer time-frame, check out our annual Conservation Challenge and the Bush Builders programme for students of all ages, or Enrichment 101 for secondary school students, or Zoo Researchers for students studying NCEA Levels 2 and 3.

Pre-schools and kindergartens are welcome to explore the Zoo. If you book your visit in advance the special rate of $10.50 applies for teachers and parent helpers (normally $21), and for children 3 years and older (children under 3 are free). 

For more information about any of these programmes, please email us, or call us on 04 389 3692.

Bush Builders

At Wellington Zoo we love celebrating the living world.  Our award-winning Bush Builders programme helps urban students discover the biodiversity within their school, and empowers them to take positive action in their own communities, all the while celebrating the wonders of the living world around them.

Since the programme began in 2007, more than 3000 Wellington students have contributed towards the project’s goal of increasing the city’s biodiversity one garden, bird house, or lizard lair at a time! 

The programme involves three phases including a launch at Wellington Zoo, biological surveying at school and a student-driven action at the end of the programme. Wellington Zoo resources are available to participating schools to create in-depth learning experiences for students throughout the year.

Conservation Challenge

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Wellington Zoo and we want to inspire Wellington students to make a difference to conservation in their community. Teams can register for our annual Conservation Challenge in the following categories:

Wētā: Year 5-8

Pekapeka: Year 9-11

Tuatara: Year 12-13

The Conservation Challenge provides a framework for students to develop an understanding of the nature of science and environmental issues. Students learn what science is and experience how scientists work by taking action on an environmental issue that is important to them.

Projects are carried out in terms two and three with students presenting their results at the Conservation Challenge presentation and awards ceremony at Wellington Zoo in the final week of Term 3. These are the five steps involved in the challenge:

Step 1: Identify a local environmental issue;

Step 2: Design a plan of action;

Step 3: Put the plan into action;

Step 4: Collate and evaluate the results; and

Step 5: Communicate.

Awards will be given to groups who have demonstrated creativity, innovation and passion for conservation, making an outstanding conservation connection in their community.  

Students studying at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 may consider submitting their results to be assessed for the following Achievement Standards:

Education for Sustainability 2.1 – AS90810

Education for Sustainability 3.1 – AS90828

Cost: $50 per team (includes entry into Zoo for presentation ceremony)

2015 Conservation Challenge invite (apply before 27 March)

Enrichment 101

The welfare of our animals relies on us keeping them mentally, as well as physically active. One of the ways we do this is by creating ‘enrichment’. Each year we offer a limited number of secondary school technology students the opportunity to participate in Enrichment 101. Enrichment 101 has three steps: 

Step 1: Presentation of brief;

Step 2: Students present their enrichment prototype to Zoo staff; and

Step 3: Students present their completed enrichment item to Zoo staff.

Zoo Researchers

Zoo Researchers gives secondary school students the opportunity to carry out a practical investigation of an animal at Wellington Zoo.

Whether it’s observational or experimental, research plays a vital role in helping us to understand the world around us. At Wellington Zoo, we keep up-to-date on the latest research to make sure we stay on the cutting edge of wildlife care. As a Zoo Researcher, students can make a contribution to the understanding of our amazing animals, while improving their field research skills.

There are three steps involved in the programme:

Step 1: Group learning session with Zoo Educator; students receive a Zoo Researcher card to come into the Zoo as often as they like to conduct research for the duration of the term;

Step 2: Project design and research; and

Step 3: Data processed, results compiled, and shared with relevant Zoo staff.

Students studying at NCEA Levels 2 and 3 may consider submitting their results to be assessed for the following Achievement Standards:

NCEA L1 – AS 90925 – Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with direction

NCEA L2 – AS 91153 – Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context

NCEA L3 – AS 91601 – Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context, with guidance

Cost: $35 per student