Atlanta, Georgia has many destinations that are absolutely perfect for homeschool field-trips. Our new favorite is Zoo Atlanta! As Atlanta’s oldest cultural destination, this spot is rich in history. Zoo Atlanta is FILLED with every animal imaginable (including my favorite…which you may be surprised by!). Zoo Atlanta is set on 40 acres of land. It’s divided into four areas: African Plains, American Rainforest, Asian Forest, and the Kid Zone. It houses over 1,300 animals representing more than 220 species. Your kids will have a blast and learn so much about animal conservation, geography, and the research the zoo is doing to better serve the animals in their care. I promise you a field-trip to Zoo Atlanta will be a day well spent with your kids!
Animals at Zoo Atlanta
Zoo Atlanta is one of only 4 institutions in the U.S. raising giant pandas. The pandas have been on loan from China since 1999. 4 of my children are Chinese and one is OBSESSED with these beautiful creatures. The zoo has also set up a Panda Cam so that families can watch the pandas from home. We loved visiting the entire Asian Forest, which is also home to one of the largest zoological populations of orangutans. We also saw Sumatran tigers, a clouded leopard, a red panda, Asian small-clawed otters, and a kimono dragon.
Elephants, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, meerkats, and warthogs roam in the newly renovated African Savanna. My 3-year-old’s very favorite zoo animal was the giant elephants. I imagine they looked EXTRA giant to someone his size! Mumbles, the southern white rhino, has also recently joined the gang.
My kids also enjoyed the Amphibian & Reptile Experience, which is a new complex featuring more than 70 species. This exhibit is named the “Scaly Slimy Spectacular”. Here we saw the gaboon viper, prehensile-tailed skink, green anaconda and Gila monster. We also saw a green tree python, Jamaican iguana, diamondback terrapin, and the African slender-snouted crocodile. I have a feeling we will be visiting this exhibit over and over again.
zoo atlanta’s kidzone
Zoo Atlanta has a free petting zoo area featuring goats and sheep that your kids can brush and pet. They also have a 2,500 square foot Splash Fountain featuring 18 water jets. This would be a great way to cool down during the hot Atlanta summer months.
The following are all available to your family for an added charge…
- Treetop Trail is a series of rope ladders, bridges, nets and tightrope-style foot lines. This adventure gives your kids the perspective of tree-dwelling animals. Children must be 48 inches tall to participate without an adult chaperone.
- The Endangered Species Carousel takes kids for a spin on hand-carved wooden animal figures.
- The Zoo Train is a handcrafted replica of an original 1863 locomotive. The train takes you on a journey through Critter Crossing to experience a day in the life of its inhabitants.
Adventure Cubs is a twice monthly program for kids ages 0-5. They will spend an hour with a parent and a Zoo Educator moving and creating. Each month your cubs can explore the animals in a new region of the world. They will engage in an activity, read a story, and create a take-away memory. At the end of the program, participants will receive a fun-to-go activity to do in the Zoo together.
Zoo Atlanta also offers Safari Camp for kids 5-11 during school holidays. Your children will visit animals on the grounds and take part in science experiments and demonstrations. Campers will learn about the biology and behaviors of amazing creatures. They will also learn the problems many animals face in the wild. And, most importantly, they’ll discover ways to help wildlife and wild habitats. The next camp dates are Nov. 22-24 2021, Dec. 20-23 2021, Dec. 27-30 2021, and April 4-8 2022. Prices vary.
Great news for homeschoolers…Zoo Atlanta offers self-guided field trips at a discounted price! They also offer curriculum guides and grade specific activities. When you pre-register, a free adult chaperone ticket will be given per every 10 students.
HomeSchool Academy: Fall 2021 is a two-hour program offered monthly. This program allows students to explore animal and science concepts in an engaging, interactive environment. Programs are grade-appropriate and include hands-on activities and Zoo tours that hone students’ STEM skills. In addition, this program includes monthly lesson plans and extended learning activities to do at home with your family. Each month, your kids will build upon concepts to create a deep understanding of the topic being studied. This program can be paid per program or per semester.
Zoo Atlanta tickets & Memberships
Because we have a mega-family, it made the most sense to purchase a yearly membership to Zoo Atlanta. (We actually do this with most high cost, one time tickets.) We decided on the Family Adventure pack, which is said to include 3 adults and 4 children. But I was happy to learn they don’t financially punish families for having greater than the average number of children! For the cost of $169, we were able to get our entire family tickets for 14 months using the coupon code “TROOP21”. This membership package also includes 2 guess passes that can be used at any time. Another fun benefit is the Passport to Adventure booklet. This allows your kids to collect “passport stamps” each month through the year and earn prizes. After 6 stamps, all of your children get an All Rides Pass for the remaining time left on your membership!
Zoo Atlanta is currently using a timed ticketing system for General Admission tickets. This helps to limit the number of people in the zoo at one time. (Does not apply to families with yearly memberships.) They are also requiring masks for people ages 2 and up in all indoor spaces. Luckily, most of the zoo is outdoors. (And no one said a word that my 3-year-old & (special needs) 7-year-old were not masked.)
Food & Parking
There are many food stations to choose from at Zoo Atlanta. But they also allow you to bring food from home. Another huge win for big families! On our last visit, we packed our lunches and ate at a large area of picnic tables. We then allowed our kids to order Dippin’ Dots as a rare treat.
The City of Atlanta has now instated paid parking. Parking rates are $3 an hour for a maximum of $12 a day.
I hope this post was helpful as you plan your next homeschool field-trip in Atlanta. Maybe we’ll see you at Zoo Atlanta soon! As always, you can learn more about our big family fun over at Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama.
In conclusion, I promised you I’d share my very favorite animal! Are you surprised to read that it’s the naked mole rat? Haha! This exhibit opened in 2008 and lets you get up close and personal with these adorably weird little guys. The Naked Mole Rat habitat invites you to “crawl into the secret lives of natures weirdest underground family”. It is created to look like the underground world of subterranean Africa. You and your kids will get eye-level views of an active colony in a system of intricate chambers. In addition, there is a playground where kids can “tunnel and play the mole rat way”. But who needs a playground when you can sit and watch these amazing creatures do their thing! Naked mole rats = worth the price of admission.