This zoo may be quite a bit smaller than other zoos, but kids are entranced by close-up interactions with the many animals, their habitats, and behaviors.
America's Teaching Zoo is located on the Moorpark College campus, on a five-acre facility with more than 150 animals, and run by students involved in the EATM program who are eager to share their knowledge of and affection for the animals.
The zoo is open to the public on Saturday's and Sunday's from 11AM-5PM. It is $5 for adults, $4 for children and seniors, and kids under 2 are free! There are wildlife education shows with live animals at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00. At 3:30, the public can witness a carnivore feeding, which could involve anything from a mountain lion, hyena, lioness, or ocelot. The feeding is accompanied by a discussion about the animal's diet and its behavior in the wild.
The students on the zoo's two-year course form very personal relationships with the animals and spend a good deal of time learning to train and interact with them - in preparation for careers at Seaworld, in Hollywood, or many other animal facilities. A visit to this zoo is a peek at their daily course activities, and the students are everywhere and eager to share. Note that not all animals are accessible at all times, but those that are are likely to put on shows not typical to any other zoos. You might be surprised, for example, to see a water buffalo performing behaviors and lemurs having an art workshop.
Birthday parties can be arranged on weekends before the facility opens to the public or during public hours. Parties start at $150 for 40 people and offer a private, 45-minute show. Shows and private tours for schools and other groups can also be arranged during the week.
In addition, there are 3-week summer camps called Jr. Safari, which allow kids to get up close and personal with the animals, culminating in a show of their own, in which they get to try being the trainers (no lions in these shows!) themselves.
Every year America's Teaching Zoo holds their annual Spring Spectacular event which is a fantastic 3-weekend long event! They have games set up in kid zones with face painting, celebrating animal actors of Hollywood visiting, premier wildlife education shows and much more! The dates for 2012's event are: March 24/25, March 31/April 1, and April 7/8. Open Sat/Sun from 10AM-5PM and is $10 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors.