Education is one of our founding principles and one of the key cornerstones of our mission, along with conservation and recreation. As one of the Midwest’s leading combined nature and zoological destinations, school groups and home school families from across the globe come to enjoy the beauty and wonder of Wildlife Prairie Park. We offer a wide range of educational onsite programs to accompany field trips, as well as camps and classes. We also have outreach programs that will bring our animal ambassadors right to you. All our programs are designed to meet or exceed state teaching standards for science education for school aged children.
For more information or to start creating an adventure designed just for your class, call us at (309) 676-0998 ext. 312 or email email@example.com.
We offer multiple add-on learning programs that will make your field trip even more meaningful. Our programs are approximately 1 hour long (with 30 minute lecture and 30 minute hands-on lab time) and are available by reservation only. There is an additional cost for programs of $4 per student and chaperone ($5 for Owl Pellet Detective or Your Watershed & You), with a $50 minimum.
This program is adaptable for all age groups, and allows students to meet 5 of our educational ambassadors, including: birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. A knowledgeable animal keeper will introduce the students to each of these animals, present facts specific to that species, and review how each animal classification is similar/different from the others.
With habitat loss effecting so many species negatively, it’s becoming more important than ever to consider providing sanctuary to some of the local wildlife in your neighborhood, and it’s easier than you may think! Join one of our animal keepers and 5 of our educational ambassadors as we go over what each of our animals need to thrive in their ecosystem, and tell you how you can make your backyard or garden a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
Join an animal keeper or park naturalist on a guided hike through Merrill Woods, Walden Pond, and the Pioneer Homestead to learn more about the animals along our walking trails that call our park home! Hike is roughly 45 minutes and an approximate 1-mile round trip from the Visitor Center.
Come meet 3 of our different feathered friends at the park and learn about just how diverse our avian ambassadors can be! One of our knowledgeable animal keepers will introduce your group to our feathered educational ambassadors while going over what makes each of these species unique from each other. The program will be focused on their characteristics, habitats, adaptations, and migration patterns.
In this program, students will meet 1 owl ambassador while learning about their behaviors, diets, and habitats unique to each species. Students will then get the opportunity to dissect an owl pellet and try to identify the bones they find within! This program is a great, hands-on opportunity to learn about the food chain while meeting some unforgettable feathered friends.
Join one of our park naturalists for a hands-on lab that teaches students about their local watershed, while using microscopes and identifying the microorganisms found in water from the park’s lakes. Students will also learn how to differentiate which microorganisms indicate a healthy watershed, and which can be indicators of water pollution.
**Requires at least 1 Month Notice to Book**
This program introduces the concept of ecosystems to your students, before delving into three of the most common ecosystems in Wildlife Prairie Park: Forests, Prairies, and Wetlands. During the experience, students will also be introduced to five of our animal ambassadors, learning where each species is found, as well as the role they play within their ecosystem.
If you have students who show interest in zoology, animal science, and veterinary practices, this may be the program for you! Join one of our animal keepers for an informative discussion on the many pathways one can take if they are looking for a wildlife-centric career. Afterward, the keeper will introduce several animal ambassadors and demonstrate some of the daily care practices that keep our animals healthy.
Unable to bring your class or group to Wildlife Prairie Park to see the animals? Then have the animals come to you! Outreach programs are available year round and we have several options to suit your needs. We offer programming for all ages including schools, scouts, churches, daycares, libraries, senior groups, and more.
Reservations need to be made at least 4 weeks in advance. Pricing for outreach programs start at $225 and will vary depending on program type, group size, and distance. For our animal’s well-being Wildlife Prairie Park cannot do outreach programs more than 90 miles from the park. Payment is due at time of the program.
Wildlife Prairie Park has a strict animal ambassador policy which prohibits renting of individual animals, touching the animals, or holding them in pictures.
Enjoy a private encounter with 1 of our animal ambassadors and their trainer! This meet and greet allows up to 10 guests to have a 30-minute private session with your favorite animal ambassador for taking photos, giving treats, and asking any questions you may have.
Curious what it takes to be an animal keeper? Join our animal keepers as they provide the daily cleaning, care and dietary needs of our animals. You will learn about what it takes to care for all the animals at the park. All participants receive a water bottle, park bag and photo with an animal ambassador.
Keeper for a Day is available on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday only from 9 am to Noon. Space is limited. Our Director of Wildlife Programs will work with you to reserve an exact date that fits your schedule. Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks notice. For more information or to schedule, call us at (309) 676-0998 ext. 312 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is for anyone ages 6 and older. All participants ages 6 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Animal Ambassadors: Reptile collection, skunk, rabbits, and birds of prey (ages 6+)
Carnivores & Herds: Bison, elk, otters, black bear, farm animals and more (ages 9+)
Chaperoning adult for ages 6-12 is FREE
9 am to 9:15 am: Arrival at the Park and meet with your keeper at Forest Hall. Animal keeper will provide a tour of the area and cover safety rules for the day.
9:15 to 9:30 am: Opening animal care for the owls and bunnies in the main classroom
9:30 to 10:15 am: Animal care for the chickens outside and our pig “Rooster”
10:15 to 10:30 am: Break for the keepers
10:30 to 11:30 am: Animal care of reptile and amphibian collection (snakes, turtles, toads, salamanders)
11:30 am to Noon: Behind the scenes tour or Merrill Woods and photo opportunity with an animal ambassador
9 to 9:15 am: Arrival at the Park and meet with your keeper at Animal Kitchen. Animal keeper will provide a tour of the area and cover safety rules for the day
9:15 to 10:15 am: Opening animal care in the pioneer and Walden Pond loop (farm animals, swans, crane, river otters and Molly the black bear)
10:15 to 10:30 am: Break for the keepers
10:30 to 11:30 am: Assisting the keepers feed the bison and elk herd
11:30 am to Noon: Behind the scenes tour of Forest Hall animals and photo opportunity with an animal ambassador