Before you go to the zoo, learn about the animals you will see in the zoo exhibits. Using the links below discover each animal's range, habitat, diet, body traits, lifespan and conservation status. Think about its role in its habitat and food web.
Choose 10 of your favorite animals and using the zoo animal graphic organizer, put together a "Zoo Book Animal Collection". Use the animal drawing or coloring links to illustrate your zoo book.
Choose a specific habitat exhbited at the zoo and using the animals you have researched, create a food web for that ecosystem. Use the food web resources on Exploring Nature to help fill out the species in your food webs.
Here are some exhibits specific to the Bronx Zoo*, though these species are common at zoos worldwide:
In the Reptile Discovery Center learn about the American alligator, the anaconda, boa constrictor, cottonmouth, eastern box turtle, gila monster, copperhead, spotted turtle, tokay gecko, and the komodo dragon. Learn to draw the alligator and anaconda here. Print out and color a komodo here.
In the Bird House, learn about the bald eagle, barred owl, blue-winged teal, brown kiwi, brown pelican, cassowary, emu, flamingo, rhea, Indian peacock, northern pintail, and wood duck. Learn to draw the bald eagle, flamingo, pintail, and peacock here. Print out and color the cassowary, kiwi, barred owl here.
Visit the American Trail Exhibit to see the California sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, gray wolves, beavers, river otters, brown pelicans, and merganser ducks. Learn to draw the bald eagle, river otter, beaver and merganser. Print out and color a sea lion, harbor seal and wolf, here.
Visit the Asian Trail Exhibit to see the red pandas, clouded leopards, and giant pandas.
Visit the Great Ape House to see the orangutans and gorillas. Learn to draw gorillas here and color an orangutan here.
At the Small Mammal House see golden lion tamarins, agouti, chinchillas, meerkats, and striped skunks. Learn to draw a golden lion tamarin and agouti here. Print out and color a meerkat and chinchilla here.
At the Lemur Island Exhibit see ring-tailed lemurs and red-fronted lemurs. Print out and color the ring-tailed lemur here.
At the Cheetah Conservation Station, see the cheetahs and zebras. Learn to draw a cheetah and zebra here.
At the Great Cats Exhibit on Lion/Tiger Hill, look for African lions, and Sumatran tigers. Learn to draw a lion and tiger using these links for your zoo book collection.
In the Amazonia Exhibit, see the golden lion tamarin and roseate spoonbills.
Other South American animals you can see include the giant anteater, maned wolf, and spectacled bear. Print out and color a giant anteater and maned wolf here.
* The National Zoo is located at: 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Here is an example a completed lion Zoo Animal Graphic Organizer Page and a lion Drawing Activity:
Disciplinary Core Ideas:
LS1.A: Structure and Function
• Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction. (4-LS1-1)
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
• There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water. (2-LS4-1)
• The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants.
• Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors. (MS-LS2-1)
LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
• Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations. (MS-LS2-4)
• Biodiversity describes the variety of species found in Earth’s terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems. The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health. (MS-LS2-5)
LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior
• Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size (Note: Moved from K–2). (3-LS2-1)
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans
2-LS4-1.P Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
2-LS2-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.[Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.]
4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. [Clarification Statement: Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.]
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on systems of information transfer.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the mechanisms by which the brain stores and recalls information or the mechanisms of how sensory receptors function.]
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
• Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people. (secondary to 2-LS2-2)
Common Core State Standards Connections:
W.2.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations). (2-LS4-1)
W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. (2-LS4-1)RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (3-LS2-1)
RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (5-LS2-1)
SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (4-LS1-2)
SL.5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (5-LS2-1)
When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).
When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.
Amsel, Sheri. "Zoo Book Activity - Before You Go to the National Zoo (Smithsonian National Zoological Park)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2020. July 7, 2020
< http://www.exploringnature.org/db/view/Zoo-Book-Activity-Before-You-Go-to-the-National-Zoo-Smithsonian-National-Zoological-Park >