Education Programs

Each of the topics below can be presented as a Zoo tour, a live animal encounter program in the zoo’s Discovery and Education Center, or we can come to your facility/site as an outreach.  If you are interested in arranging a program or would like more information, please call the Education Department at (517) 342-2713 or email


How do animals survive in different climates and habitats? What physical and behavioral changes do they adopt? This program answers these questions, plus explains concepts such as niche switching, migration, and hibernation.


Unlike us, animals cannot relax in a heated home or office in the winter. But you will be amazed by the variety of ways animals do prepare for winter! Learn about physiological and behavioral adaptations such as coat changes, fat deposition, hibernation, and migration.


Find out about opportunities in zoo and aquarium fields that involve wildlife and their captive care, including education requirements, training, position descriptions, salary ranges, and available opportunities, all of which will be discussed as you meet the animals.


Making wild animals comfortable in a zoo is not easy! Learn what goes behind the design of our exhibits and how the animals’ needs sometimes conflict with the public’s expectations. You’ll also hear about some of the sometimes funny, sometimes amazing experiences we have had with animals and their exhibits. (Available as a zoo tour only)


Why do some animals have fur while others have feathers? What’s that slimy stuff on frogs used for? By taking a look at these different kinds of surface adaptations, students will learn some of the most basic differences between birds, reptiles, fish, mammals, and amphibians.


This program introduces you to many species of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Discover fascinating facts and interesting trivia about our animal friends.  This program is a great fit for mixed age groups



Learn the basics of what comprises a habitat and how it differs from a biome or ecosystem. Concepts also include animal adaptations, niches, species extirpation, and more.

 Zoos are more than just fun places to see wild animals. They are also the last hope for many endangered species. Come learn what is imperiling such wonderful animals as rhinos, tigers, and pandas, and how zoos like Potter Park cooperate in the international efforts to save them.


This program makes students aware of the wildlife right here in Michigan and North America. Learn fascinating facts about deer, opossums, bears, bighorn sheep, and more.



In this program, students will learn all about how animals see, hear, smell, taste, and touch in ways that help them survive in the wild. They’ll see examples of different birds, reptiles, and mammals that use these senses in extraordinary ways and how their bodies physically adapt to accommodate their lifestyles.


It’s eat or be eaten in the Wild Kingdom! Learn how animals develop amazing strategies for catching food; and how they avoid becoming dinner themselves! Students learn basic concepts about camouflage, stalking techniques, and more.