Book a FREE* activity for your pupils

All sessions are 45 minutes.
All sessions have a maximum of 30 pupils.
Due to the size of the zoo and all the other things to see and do, we recommend primary pupils only attend one session during their visit.

Our sessions are limited in availability and very popular.
Please book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions about these sessions or wish to check availability on a specific date, please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511 or 01206 332512 or email

*Colchester Zoo reserves the right to charge a £20 fee educational sessions which are booked but not attended.

Available KS2 Sessions:

Click on an education session for more details including curriculum links

An educational visit to the zoo will assist you in the teaching of ‘British Values’ and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. (SMSC)

Please note that unless otherwise stated live animals are not used in any sessions.
Many sessions use real bones, furs, feathers, and skins which are customs seizures from animals hunted in the wild.

Detailed Session Descriptions:

Adaptations – KS2

What adaptations do animals have? As a group, we’ll decide which bits of costume volunteers will dress-up in to demonstrate the major characteristics of Predators, Prey, and for older children adaptations to live in Hot and Cold places.

Click for National Curriculum links

African Animals – KS2

Discover the four main habitats of Africa and learn cool facts about some of the animals that live there. Focus on mountain animals, desert animals, rainforest animals, and savannah animals.

Click for National Curriculum links

Art – KS2

Pupils will each be given their very own wildlife sketchbook. They’ll then get the chance to learn how some great British wildlife and animal artists use sketching and recording wildlife to help scientists understand the animals. Pupils will learn how to classify animals into different groups (mammals, birds, etc.) and what key features to include when sketching or recording details from each group. Pupils will then get the chance to get hands-on and examine animal artefacts (skulls, furs, etc.) up close and practice their techniques.

Click for National Curriculum links

Planning a trip to the zoo with a focus on Art? Why not download our Colchester Zoo Art Trail!

Darwin Explorers Session – Upper KS2

Learn about Darwin’s big ideas through hands-on activities with real specimens. Pupils will travel back in time to the era of the Victorian naturalist. Armed with field journals, they’ll hunt for beetles and other insects just as a young Charles Darwin did using similar skills to identify and classify their finds. Continuing on the adventure, pupils focus on Darwin’s later work. Hands-on with real scientific study skins, pupils compare bird beaks and feet to investigate how birds are adapted to specific diets. The study of bird beaks is then related back to the idea of evolution through natural selection.

Click for National Curriculum links

Exploring Classification – KS2

Pupils will have the chance to explore and investigate a wide selection of animal artifacts (including real furs, feathers, and reptile scales). Together as a group we will learn about historic classification methods, and the taxon groups used by scientists today. Working in groups pupils will determine key characteristic for the groups. The entire class will then use these characteristics to sort the objects into these groups.

Click for National Curriculum links

Habitats – KS2

Animals live everywhere in the world, how do they live in such diverse habitats? Students will learn habitat characteristics, and discover some of the cool adaptions that let animals live there.

Click for National Curriculum links

Colchester Zoo – Educational Session PLOs – Habitats KS2 lower – years 3&4

Colchester Zoo – Educational Session PLOs – Habitats KS2 upper – years 5&6

Lifecycles – Lower KS2

Pupils investigate how different animals grow and develop. A variety of hands-on activities bring this topic to life as pupils examine replica eggs and play games to explore the various life stages of different organisms.

Click for National Curriculum links

Maths: Measure, Means, and More! -KS2

Pupils will get hands-on working in small groups to practice maths skills in a fun, interactive way. Groups rotate around different activities that often involve real animal artefacts and hands-on maths. Activities are tailored depending on age and may include: comparing patterns on tortoise shells, measuring snake skins, solving calculations involving enclosure size, using fractions to classify animals and more!

Click for National Curriculum links

Colchester Zoo – Educational Session PLOs – Maths KS2

Please note that this session does not involve teaching maths skills, but rather focuses on solving real world maths problems in a unique way designed to engage, excite and inspire pupils.

Plants & Animals – Lower KS2

Pupils will discover some of the fascinating ways animals can help and harm plants. Children will get to have a go at being botanists and identifying leaves using dichotomous keys, as well as learning about major plant types and plant structure. The use of animal skulls will also illustrate which animals might like to eat plants.

Click for National Curriculum links

Rainforest Layers – Lower KS2

Rainforests are a unique habitat because they are divided into layers. Students will learn about the emergent, canopy, understory and forest floor layers of the rainforest and about the animals that live at each level.

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Rainforest Threats – Upper KS2

Rainforests are amazing places full of diverse plants and animals.  Unfortunately, rainforests are threatened.  This includes individual endangered animal species and habitat loss threatening everything that lives in them.  Students will learn about these incredible places and what they can do to help save them.

Click for National Curriculum links

Saving Endangered Animals – KS2

Why are animals dying out? Is this natural and normal? What are these animals’ major threats? What can I do to help? These are all questions which will be answered during this session. The session is delivered in an upbeat and interactive way, focusing on guessing games and what we can do to help.

Click for National Curriculum links

STEM at the Zoo – Upper KS2

New for 2024!

From the secret science of zookeeping, to amazing advances in conservation tech, and building new animal enclosures, there is lots of STEM at the zoo!

The session starts with an introduction to the job role of zookeeping. This includes potential career pathways into the industry and specific job roles and tasks with a focus on STEM in the workplace. Next, an interactive activity has pupils evaluating an early prototype of a zoo enclosure whilst investigating how the zoo uses the STEM Design (engineering design / iterative design) process to consider the needs of users and improve on early designs. The session finishes by exploring some of the cutting-edge technology which is being used to help save endangered species and how zoos are involved in this process.

Are you participating in the STEM Design Challenge? Let us know on the booking form and we will schedule extra time in the session for questions and feedback!

*While typically reccomended for upper KS2, this session is also available for lower KS2 classes participating in the STEM Design Challenge

Science in the Wild – KS2

Pupils learn how our real life wildlife ranger team use science in the wild at our nature reserve in South Africa. Working scientifically through hands-on investigation, pupils will get the chance to put their skills to the test and identify what animals might be out there on the reserve based on gathered scientific evidence. This identification will involve the use of animal guides for tracks and scat as well as using dichotomous keys for harder identification skills.

Click for National Curriculum links

Who Eats Who? Session KS2

What do animals eat? What eats them? A variety of hands-on activities help students learn about herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores and how they link together into food chains. There are also lots of skulls to examine to get a better understanding of how teeth work.

Click for National Curriculum links

Zoos: Good or Bad? – Upper KS2

English curriculum links – the Zoo Debate

At Colchester Zoo, we recognise that there are many different viewpoints about zoos. In this session, students are introduced to the concept of formal arguments and how facts (not opinions) are required for strong arguments and counter arguments. Students will also be introduced to the concept of ‘bias’ and why it is important to consider the validity of sources. After this introduction to formal arguments (including claims and evidence), as a group we will consider some of the main arguments against zoos and their (evidence-based) counter arguments. This includes discussion of the five freedoms, reintroductions, zoo conservation efforts and more.

At the end of the session, teachers are provided with packs to continue the learning back at school. The packs contain critical reading exercises (both for zoos and against zoos), as well as worksheets to assess student learning. Based on their learning and reading, pupils write letters on their opinions which can be sent back to the zoo to receive a response.

Click for National Curriculum links


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