Pittsburgh Zoo Teen Programs

Students in middle school and high school can become a part of the Zoo’s research team in the KidScience program, take in-depth classes through Zoo U., learn what it means to be a zookeeper through Keeper Interactions, or volunteer with the Zoo through the summer Zoo Teens program.

Teen Programs

KidScience

KidScience is a year-long program designed to introduce middle school students to methods and principles related to conservation biology. KidScience students become part of the Zoo's research team, and get hands-on experience doing real animal behavior research. Through this program, students gain an understanding of research methods and skills, cooperation, teamwork, environmental stewardship, and are exposed to animal- and science-related careers. Activities include classroom lessons, data collection and analysis, behind-the-scenes tours, research projects, and animal encounters. KidScience activities also meet many of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Academic Standards as well as the National Science Education Standards.

Eligible Students
Students who will be in grades 6, 7, or 8 in October may apply. As KidScience is designed to be a two-year program, most students return the following year. KidScience is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year. Applicants will be interviewed in Summer 2017, and classes will begin in early October.

Sessions
Classes are held every other Saturday throughout the school year (October through May), followed by a three week summer session. Classes are four hours long and can be attended in a morning session from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. or an afternoon session from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuition
Annual tuition is $555 for Members and $695 for non-members. A limited number of scholarships are available to those who qualify.

Apply Today!
To apply, please download a KidScience application and a reference form. The application will need to be accompanied by a one-page essay (further instructions are available on the form). Two references are needed, so the reference form will needed to be printed and completed twice. Once completed, please mail these forms to:


Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Attn: KidScience Coordinator
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Applicants will be contacted in the summer, once all application materials are received, to set up a personal interview with the KidScience Coordinator. Sorry, online registration is not available for the KidScience program.

Bonus!
KidScience students also receive two Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium KidScience T-shirts, discounts at all Zoo restaurants and gift shops, 10 free Zoo passes for family and friends, and free admission during regular Zoo hours.

Printable Forms
Scholarship Application
KidScience Application
Reference Form (Print two, one for each reference.)

Contact Us:
For more information, please contact teens@pittsburghzoo.org or 412-365-2567.

Zoo U.

The Zoo U. program offers semester-based courses that allow high school students to explore new areas of science and conservation in a fun and exciting way. Students take an in-depth look at current research and topics in zoology, biology, ecology, and more. Classes are designed to be interactive and challenging for students in grades 9 to 12. Fall and Spring semester classes run two Saturdays per month for a total of six sessions. Summer classes run Monday-Friday for one week in August.  A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for those who qualify. Spring 2018 Courses will be announced in December, and they will run on Saturdays throughout the spring. Zoo U. classes change each semester, so there is sure to be a course that interests you. Recent classes topics include Marine Biology, Primatology, Introduction to Animal Behavior, Career Exploration, and more. Check back regularly to learn about new Zoo U. opportunities!
 

Fall 2017 Programs:

Great Cat Conservation

Great cats are some of the most charismatic creatures on Earth. In this course, students will explore the wild cats of the world and gain insight into their behavior and physical adaptations. Course participants will also learn about the threats and challenges facing many of these species, as well as the conservation efforts that are underway to protect and preserve these magnificent creatures. Special emphasis and tours will be placed on the seven resident feline species at the Pittsburgh Zoo: Canadian lynx, Amur tigers, African lions, Amur leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopards, and ocelots.

Morning Sessions

Afternoon Sessions

Sharks, Rays, & Skates

Sharks, and their close relatives, rays and skates, are some of the most fascinating, yet misunderstood, marine creatures in the world. Learn about the incredible species in subclass Elasmobranchii through explorations of their physiology, behavior, habitats, and media portrayals. Students will also examine threats to sharks, rays, and skates, and they will learn how to become instrumental in their conservation.

Morning Sessions

Afternoon Sessions

Independent Study

Whether you have a great idea for a research project or you want to conduct a study at the Zoo for a school or science fair project, the Independent Study option may be for you. Through Independent Study, you will work independently, but guidance from staff and keepers will help you complete the project.
Requirements: Any student undertaking independent study must check in with staff at least twice a month and make adequate progress prior to each meeting. A final paper/project must be produced by a reasonable deadline. 
Cost is free to those enrolled in other Zoo U. courses or $200 per semester for non-Zoo U. students.

Contact Us
For more information, please email teens@pittsburghzoo.org or call 412-365-2567.

Keeper Interactions

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium offers two opportunities for high school students to connect with keepers and aquarists and learn more about these exciting career fields, Keeper Conversations and Pizza with the Keepers. Please note that due to the large number of requests and keeper availability, we are not able to schedule individual job shadowing experiences. Parents are not permitted to attend either program with their children, but are welcome to tour the Zoo on their own during the program. Parents should expect to pay the gate rate or use their membership card for admission.

Keeper Conversations
Students in grades 9-12 who would like to shadow a zookeeper will tour animal areas as they chat with keepers and aquarists about the work they love. Space is limited for this exclusive opportunity. Keeper Conversations are held the first Tuesday of the month from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. October through April, excluding January. Register online for one, two, or all six events.  Cost is $14 per session and includes admission and tours.

Dates and areas for the 2017-18 school year:

Tuesday, October 3 - Islands & Jungle Odyssey
Tuesday, November 7 - PPG Aquarium & Water's Edge
Tuesday, December 5 - Animal Care Center (vet hospital) & Education ambassador animals
Tuesday, February 6 - Forest Passage & African Savanna
Tuesday, March 6 - Kids Kingdom & Reptiles
Tuesday, April 3 - PPG Aquarium & Water's Edge

Register Now


Pizza with the Keepers 
Students in grades 9-12 are invited to join keepers, aquarists, and veterinary staff for an informal lunch to discuss animal-related career goals. Staff from Kids Kingdom, reptile and mammal departments, PPG Aquarium, and veterinary/animal care may be in attendance. Behind the scenes tours will take place after lunch. Space is limited for this popular program.  Cost is $24 and includes admission, lunch and tours. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 12:30pm-2:30pm

Register Now

Contact Us
For questions about these programs, email us at learn@pittsburghzoo.orgRequests for individual job shadow experiences cannot be accommodated.

Zoo Teens

The Zoo Teens summer volunteer program is available for students ages 14-17. It is a great way to learn more about animals and zoo careers.

Please check back soon for 2018 Zoo Teen registration information. 

Contact Us
Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 412-365-2524 or volunteer@pittsburghzoo.org.