Posts Tagged ‘Educational Programs’

Scouting Around for Some Adventure?

by | September 18th, 2015

There’s something new happening with Oakland Zoo’s scouting programs. We’ve completely revamped our workshop structure and content to reflect the recent changes in the Cub Scout organization. The four ranks (Tiger, boy in dirtWolf, Bear and Webelos) are still the same, but the requirements for earning them are more straightforward and action-based. The awards themselves are also different. The Scouts earn each of these ranks by completing a series of seven adventures, or achievements. One of the ways a scout can complete these adventures is by attending one of Oakland Zoo’s scout programs. These weekend workshops are offered in both half-day (2 ½ hour) and overnight sessions. For convenience, the half day programs are offered both in the morning and afternoon. These adventures include such activities as scavenger hunts, taking nature hikes to identify plant and animal species, building overnight shelters, using map and compass (even making your own simple compass,) as well as learning about composting, endangered species and how trees fit into our complex ecosystem.
The zoo workshops are structured specifically for one adventure within each of the different levels or ranks: Tigers in the Wild (Tiger); Paws on the Path (Wolf); Fur, Feathers and Ferns (Bear); and Into the Woods (Webelos.) Each of crouching boythe workshops also includes an “Animal Close-up” and a guided tour of the Zoo. Some of the classes visit Arroyo Viejo Creek and others enjoy a hike through various parts of Knowland Park.
These workshops generally cater to scouts within the same den, so all the kids will already know everyone else in the group. Each scout is also working toward the same goal, which fosters more team spirit. Since the workshops can accommodate a maximum of thirty individuals, some of them occasionally include multiple dens. Each scout receives a patch for his participation in the Zoo workshops, and then can later obtain his official new belt loop insignia from the Cub Scouts.
Oakland Zoo also offers a workshop specifically designed for the scouts’ NOVA Award, an extra-curricular award boy in bushesdealing with science, technology, engineering and mathematics that can be earned by scouts of various levels. Here at the Zoo, scouts working toward the NOVA award get the opportunity to study the local ecosystems of the Bay Area– learning about food chains, biodiversity, and predator/prey relationships.
All of our workshops require advance registration but there’s usually plenty of room for everyone. Den leaders who are interested in enrolling their Cub Scouts in any of Oakland Zoo’s scout workshops can visit the Zoo’s website at If you have any further questions you can call our reservation receptionist at 510-632-9525 x 220. So get your Cub Scout ready for some adventure. We’ll see him at Oakland Zoo!

ZooKids On the Block 2015

by | January 15th, 2015

Do you know any young children who love animals? Tell them about Oakland Zoo’s popular ZooKids program. Two Saturdays a month, the Zoo offers this fun animal-themed class that’s perfect for four and five year olds. Developed and run by the Zoo’s dedicated docent staff, ZooKids gives children a chance to play and learn about animals, while meeting other kids their age.

Playing in the Children's Zoo

Playing in the Children’s Zoo

Classes begin at 9:30 in the morning and wrap-up at 12:00 noon. Here’s a taste of what we’ve got lined up: First, we start off with a mini tour of the Zoo. Then we head to the classroom for a craft project and a fun game. Next is the Animal Close-Up, where one of our docents brings in a small animal, like a ferret, hedgehog or reptile for the kids to meet and learn about. Then, we head back out to the courtyard to enjoy a tasty snack. At the end of class, the kids can take their completed craft projects home with them. Sometimes, the kids even get to learn a new song that they sing when their parents pick them up.
Each class has a particular animal-related theme, such as “Paws & Claws” or “Skins & Scales” so kids participating in more than one class can have a new experience each time without repeating the same activities. Enrollment is limited to 16 participants per class, allowing one docent for every four kids, which provides plenty of personal attention.

Fun Craft Projects

Fun Craft Projects

Program fees for ZooKids are as follows: $23 for current Oakland Zoo members and $26 for non-members. Fees cover program expenses as well as zoo admission for the participant. Be advised—this is a drop-off program, so it’s a kids-only affair, and pre-registration is required, as we cannot accommodate last minute drop-ins. Registration is online through Thriva, the same system we use for ZooCamp.
The next two ZooKids classes, held on Saturday January 24th and 31st, are entitled “Beaks and Feet.” Here’s an example of what you’ll be learning about… Did you know that a macaw can crack a walnut with its beak? Have you ever tried to climb a tree using only your toenails, like a woodpecker does? Come learn how a bird’s beak can tell us what it eats and how its feet can tell us where it lives.

ZooKids Storytime

ZooKids Storytime

Future ZooKids class dates are February 21st and 28th (“Tails & Tongues”), March 14 and 21 (“Paws & Claws”), April 11 and 19 (“Skins & Scales”), and May 9 and 16 (“Oh Yuck!”) So as you can see, there’s plenty of fun to choose from. Or if you can’t decide, you can enroll your kids in as many classes as you wish. But remember that enrollment is limited so go online and get registered now on our website at If you have any other questions about our ZooKids program, give us a call at 510-632-9525 ext 280, or email us at We’ll see you at the Zoo!

YES ON MEASURE A1: An Insider’s Point of View

by | October 5th, 2012

By Rick Mannshardt, Oakland Zoo Employee

As someone who’s spent more than twenty years working at the Oakland Zoo, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know this place pretty well. It’s become a big part of my life. Working as a carpenter in the Zoo’s maintenance department, I keep all the fences and gates, roofs and doors, and hundreds of other structures around here in working order.  It takes a lot to keep a seven-day-a-week zoo running—you might say the animals are pretty hard on the furniture. Our tiny 6-person maintenance crew struggles to keep up with it all. The same goes for the Zoo in general.

Students excited about Measure A1

Even Our Monkeys Want to Vote YES

What we really need are more resources—and support from the community. Right now Measure A1 is poised to accomplish this. This November, you’ll have the chance to voice your support by voting yes for this badly needed initiative.  What it does is this: Measure A1 seeks voter approval to authorize an annual special parcel tax to maintain humane animal care and basic needs, and to maintain children’s educational programs. For a modest $12 per residential parcel and comparable rate for commercial property, the measure helps to ensure that the Oakland Zoo can continue its work in providing food, medical care, heating & cooling, and safe enclosures for its collection of animals, retain qualified veterinarians and animal specialists, care for wounded and endangered animals, support wildlife conservation—all this while keeping entrance fees affordable.  It also allows the Zoo to continue its level of excellence in offering children’s nature and science programming to students at a time when many schools are cutting back on such programs.

Measure A1 ensures humane animal care

But you don’t need to take our word for it. Numerous community leaders and business people have pledged their support for this important measure.  Here’s what just a few of them have to say:

“Yes on A1 allows the Oakland Zoo to continue quality care for zoo animals.”

Jim Maddy, President/CEO, National Association of Zoos and Aquariums


“Oakland Zoo animals deserve quality care. Many are retired circus animals or animals rescued from abuse—Yes on A1 ensures more animals can be rescued and get the care they need.” 

Laura Maloney, Co-Director, Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS)


“Yes on A1 supports the Oakland Zoo’s wildlife conservation and animal rescue efforts, saving animals wounded in the wild and giving sanctuary to endangered species.”

Ron Kagen, Founding member, Center for Zoo Animal Welfare

You might be asking: how do we know the money will be spent on these specific things? Measure A1 requires an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee to ensure funds are spent as promised to you, the taxpayer. By law, the A1 Oversight Committee must include Conservation/Environmental and Animal Rights representatives, the League of Women Voters, Taxpayer and Senior advocates, and a PTA representative.

It’s pretty straightforward. For just a dollar a month, you’re helping to ensure that the Oakland Zoo can

Lawn Signs Ready for Delivery

continue to provide:

  • Quality Humane Animal Care
  •  Basic Animal Needs
  •  Educational Programs for Children
  • Ongoing Zoo Affordability & Visitor Safety

And here’s an easy way to remember. In November, when you get to your local polling place, simply think “A for Animals.”  Then vote YES for Measure A1. With your support we can continue the valuable work we’ve been doing in the community these many years. Thank you and we hope to see you at the Oakland Zoo!