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!
Please Note: The Zoo’s New England Farmyard will be closed from Tuesday, October 10 through Monday, November 6 as we prepare for our annual Howl-O-Ween event.
Booking your School Field Trip
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo offers group rate admission fees for schools, camps, 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. These visits (field trips) are self-guided. The Wild Adventure Shows, Animal Encounters, food, popsicles, carousel rides, appliance rentals and gift shop 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 one free adult admission fee for every five paying children (ages 3 to 11). The minimum age requirement for chaperones is 18. There is no front gate admission fee for children under the age of 3 but there is a fee for them to attend the WAS and to ride the carousel so please include them in the reservation. Under 3 do not count towards free chaperones.
$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.
Book now for next year and get our current prices. Early bird forms are included in your wristband packages. Dates fill up quickly especially from May to June. Fridays are the busiest for groups, Mondays are the quietest. Peak arrival time is 10:00 am – off peak is 9:30; 9:45; 10:15; 10:30 am.
How to book a reservation
Choose a date to visit us. Book your bus. Fill out this reservation form and return it to us at least 3 weeks in advance to secure your date. Add lunches, popsicles, souvenirs and tickets to the Wild Adventure Show at this time. You can use approximate attendance numbers for now. Finalize your head counts later, when you pay. Remember to include ALL adults, teachers, paras, chaperones, staff, aides, parents & camp counselors. Camp CIT’s and LIT’s ages 12 to 17 should be included in the paying youth section. We will send you back an invoice to review. Everyone paying the $8 rate needs to be included in your reservation. Please do not send people to pay at the ticket window. Ticket window prices are $15 and do not include the wristbands they need. Include an rsvp cutoff date on parent permission slips to allow enough time for parents to pay you.
All groups must submit their final head counts, lunch and popsicle orders and full payment no later than two (2) weeks prior to their visit date. Time is needed to process payments and mail back wristbands. We no longer accept money at arrival time and we no longer issue wristbands at arrival time. Groups must be wearing their wristbands before arriving at the Zoo. Your payment due date will be listed on your invoice and sent with information on how to pay with one business check or one credit card. We do not accept purchase orders or personal checks.
Before You Arrive
After your payment is processed, we will send you wristbands, a map for you to copy and give to your 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
Our live, outdoor animal show is offered only during the school year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 11:00 am. Shows are 30 minutes in length. Seating is limited to 180 and the first row of seating is reserved for handicap visitors. When possible, a 2nd show will be offered @ 12 noon when the 11 am show is sold out. Reservations and advance payment are required. Everyone pays & needs a special wristband to attend including teachers and toddlers. 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. Rain dates are not guaranteed.
Classroom style programs are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each program is approximately 30 minutes in length with a strict limit of 40 people each program (this includes students, teachers, parents and chaperones). The cost is $90 each program plus current group rate admission fees. Reservations and advance payment are 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. All vans & buses must follow the yellow signs and the white ground arrows to our drop off / pick up area to disembark. Afterwards, vans may park in the car lot only if they fit in one spot without sticking out and All buses must park in the over flow parking lot down inside the city park. Directions will be in the wristband package for you to give to the drivers.
We offer $6 bagged lunches and $ .42 cent popsicles for groups. Both must be ordered and paid for two weeks in advance using this form.
You are always welcome to bring in your own lunches however; we do not have an indoor area to store your lunches. You can have each child carry their own lunch or you can bring coolers and wagons and leave them off to the side in our outdoor picnic grove. We do not reserve tables. We have complimentary pull carts near the Welcome Center that can be borrowed to transport the lunches to the picnic grove. Groups are asked to return the carts to the same place so that others may use them. 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, please have your lunch plans in place prior to arriving at the Zoo.
Groups are encouraged to eat outside in the picnic grove as indoor seating is very limited inside the Café and Carousel. There are 60 picnic tables for outdoor use. All groups are responsible for cleaning up after themselves and for our animal’s safety we ask for everyone’s help in picking up all juice box plastic straw wrappers.
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.
We offer low cost exclusive souvenirs starting @ .53 cents using this form by bulk order for groups not planning to visit our gift shops. This allows groups more time to visit with the animals especially those groups with younger age children. Small groups at a time may visit the Trading Post with a chaperone and back packs must be left on the front porch. Items are priced starting at fifty cents. There is also a small Gift Shop inside of the Carousel building.
All children, including middle school and high school students, Camp CIT’s and LIT’s must be under the direct supervision of an adult chaperone age 18 or older at all times. Children may not wander about the Zoo with an understanding to “check-in” later.
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. We will send you a copy of our etiquette guidelines ahead of time to review with your group prior to arriving at the Zoo.
All Prices are subject to change without notice.
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.