Being prepared makes all the difference with so many things and a trip to the Zoo is no exception. We offer two lists to make your next trip to the Zoo more enjoyable. And Scavenger Hunts make everybody’s visit more interactive. So check out the appropriate Trip Planning List and get ready for a great day!
Tips for a Great Family Trip
- Watch a family nature video on your child’s favorite animal prior to your visit. Bring binoculars to the Zoo, so your child can “go on safari”.
- On your drive to the Zoo, discuss trips to the Zoo when you were a child, or what your favorite animal was when you were growing up.
- Use one of the Zoo Scavenger Hunts on our website to stimulate your child’s interest while at the Zoo.
- Make a game of stopping at every exhibit to spot the animals; they can often be secretive or lying in the shade. Let your little explorer find each animal, with hints from you. Read our signs to your child so they’ll know more about each fascinating species. And you might be amazed how much they already know!
- After your trip, visit your local library to borrow books on animals that piqued your child’s interest.
- Inquire about free and exciting family events via our website or in person.
- Plan your visits throughout the year to take advantage of our beautiful fall foliage, our animals playing in snow and our Zoo babies in the spring. We also have special programs during most school vacations. Check our website throughout the year.
- Remember these special hours to get the most out of your visit:
New World Tropics Rainforest – 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Carousel – 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Peacock Café – 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Restrooms are located near Front Gate and alongside the Peacock Café.
- First Aid Kits are located at the Front Gate, Gift Shop, Victorian Greenhouse, Peacock Café, Carousel and New England Farmyard areas.
Tips for a Great School Field Trip
- Watch a nature video prior to your visit to get the students thinking about animals and their natural habitats.
- Use one of the Zoo Scavenger Hunts on our website to stimulate your students’ interest and help structure their visit.
- After your Zoo trip, craft an assignment around the student’s favorite animal. It could be a poem, a short research paper, a story or an art project.
- Have your students study the native people that live in the same area as the student’s favorite animal (i.e.: bison & native American, ocelot & Yanomamo).
- Check our website for exciting and free upcoming events.
- Book in advance by calling 203-394-6572. At least three weeks advance notice is required to qualify for our group rates and full payment is due two weeks in advance.
- Plan to visit the Zoo in the Fall. The Zoo is far less crowded and the animals are more active. The months of May and June are our busiest, often leading to crowded conditions and long lines at the Zoo’s most popular places.
- Inquire about our fun and fascinating education programs, both on-grounds and off-grounds (203-394-6563).
- Call our Education Department (203-394-6563) for more ideas to tie your Zoo trip in with your curriculum.
- Allow three or more hours for your visit with stops at our Peacock Café, Carousel and Zoo gift shops. Please review information on the Café and Gift Shop on our website for further teacher information.
- Visit in orderly, mid-sized groups (20 or fewer). Chaperones should stay with their groups, encouraging them to read the signs and take time to view each enclosure. Animals can be secretive and enjoy a spot of shade, so take the time to see every animal you can. The kids will enjoy being the first in their group to spot all the animals. You’ll see more of the Zoo and the kids will get more out of their visit.
Booking your School Field Trip
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo offers group rate admission fees for groups such as schools, businesses and non-profit organizations with 10 or more paying people, that make a reservation at least 3 weeks in advance, pay at least 2 weeks in advance using one group payment and enter the Zoo as a group.
Field Trips are self-guided visits. Wild Adventure Show, Animal Encounters, activities, carousel rides, food, appliance rentals and souvenirs are extra cost items.
$8.00 – Children (Ages 3 to 11)
$8.00 – Youths (Ages 12 to 17)
$8.00 – Camp CIT’s
$8.00 – Seniors and Special Needs
$8.00 – Adults, Teachers, Aides, Parents and Chaperones age 18 and older.
We offer 1 free adult admission for every 5 paying children. The minimum age requirement for chaperones is 18. There is no front gate admission charge for children under the age of 3 and they do not count towards free chaperones or as paying people.
$2.00 – Carousel ride per child if purchased at the site of the ride. Group Special: $1.00 carousel ride per child only if paid 2 weeks in advance through the Group Sales Office. Adults ride free with paid children and we encourage adults to stand along side the little ones for safety.
Book now for next year and get our current prices. Dates fill up quickly especially from May to June. Fridays are the busiest day for groups to visit and Mondays are the quietest.
Busiest arrival time is 10:00 am – off peak is 9:30; 9:45; 10:15; 10:30. Did you know that we are open all year long? Fall, Winter and Spring are great times to visit.
How to book a reservation
Choose a date to visit us. Book your bus. Download this reservation form and return the completed form to us as soon as possible to secure your date. Use approximate attendance numbers for now. Finalize your headcounts later, when you pay. We will send you back an invoice to review. Please remember to include your parents (or other chaperones) in your headcounts with your teachers, aides and adults. Everyone paying the $8 rate needs to be included in your reservation. Please do not tell your parents to pay at the ticket window when they arrive. The $8 rate is NOT available at the ticket window when they arrive. The ticket window price is $14. When you send out permission slips, you should include a parent rsvp cut off date to allow enough time to pay. Group rates are not offered on day of arrival.
All groups must pay in advance to receive group rates. Final headcounts and full payment are due two (2) weeks before your visit date. Your payment due date will be listed on your invoice. You may pay through the mail using a single business check or a credit card. You may also pay over the phone using most major credit cards. Sorry, we no longer accept purchase orders.
Before You Arrive
After your payment is processed, we will send you wristbands, maps for the chaperones, carousel tickets (if ordered) bus driver drop off directions and day of arrival instructions to help expedite your entrance into the Zoo.
Wild Adventure Show
Explore the wild at our live, outdoor animal show featuring the Zoo’s animal ambassadors. This show is offered during the school year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 am. This show runs 30 minutes in length and seating is limited to 200 people. Reservations are required. The cost is $2.00 per person plus current group rate admission fees. This show takes place in an outdoor amphitheater and will cancel under heavy rain. Sorry, we cannot guarantee rain dates.
Spark student’s interest in the wonders of wildlife in one of our classrooms. Programs are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each program is approximately 30 minutes in length and limited to 40 people (this includes students, teachers, parents and chaperones). The cost is $90 each program plus current group rate admission fees. Payment in advance is required.
Animal Topics Available
What Makes Animals Different Explore the similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. (CT Core Science Standard K.2; A4)
Mystery Habitats: Discover the diversity of habitats and the specialized plants and animals that live in them while exploring our mystery habitat boxes. (CT Core Science Standard 3.2; B3)
Animal Adaptations: Examine a variety of animal survival tactics. Discover how animals face the challenges of everyday life in the wild. (CT Core Science Standard 10.5; D42)
Zoo Educator’s Choice
There is no charge for parking. For the safety, of everyone, please have the bus driver follow the yellow signs and the white arrows to our drop off area. Please confirm your pick up time with them. Offsite bus parking directions will be in the wristband package. We suggest you ask the bus driver for their cellular phone number incase there is a change in your plans.
Please keep in mind that we do not have an area to store lunches. You can bring a cooler on wheels, bring or rent a stroller or have each child carry their own lunch. Please do not leave paper bag or plastic wrap lunches unattended, anywhere, at all. We have no control over ants, squirrels and peacocks who will chew right through paper bags. Please do not leave your lunches on the bus. Buses and cars get very hot, very fast and food will spoil unless packed in coolers. To expedite your entry into the Zoo and to avoid traffic jams, please confirm your lunch and bus plans with your bus driver prior to arriving at the Zoo.
Small groups at a time with a chaperone may place food orders in the Peacock Café. To avoid the lines and the wait, place your order for bagged lunches ahead of time using this form. Lunches must be ordered and paid for two weeks in advance. Indoor seating in the Café and Carousel is limited. Groups are encouraged to eat outside in the picnic area. There are 60 picnic tables for outdoor use. All groups are responsible for cleaning up after themselves.
Restrooms are located in two areas. They are at the Zoo’s Front Gate Entrance Plaza and up the road, past the picnic grove, just around the corner from the Peacock Café. Tip; If your group can wait, using the restrooms nearest the picnic area is faster as there are more restrooms up there than there are at the Zoo’s Front Gate entrance.
First Aid kits are located throughout the Zoo and marked by green + signs. Please contact any Zoo staff member for assistance. The Zoo has a Public Address System (PA) should an emergency arise. All Zoo staff members carry short wave radios. In the event of an emergency please, stay calm. Please contact any Zoo staff member for assistance.
Small groups at a time may visit the Gift Shop with a chaperone and back packs may be left on the front porch. Items for sale are priced starting at fifty cents. There is also a Carousel Gift Shop located inside of the Carousel building. An alternative to individual shopping is to use our Group Souvenir shopping form to purchase low cost exclusive souvenir items. This allows groups more time to visit especially those groups with younger age children.
These items are not permitted on grounds: Pets; roller skates; roller blades; heelys; bicycles; bouncing balls; balloons; whistles; cooking of any kind; alcohol of any kind; catering vehicles or reserving picnic tables. Prior management approval is needed to bring in outside entertainment such as, but not limited to: clowns; magicians; face painters, etc. A copy of our etiquette guidelines will be sent to you ahead of time to review with your group prior to arriving at the Zoo.
All Prices are subject to change without notice