Kiwanis ZooSchool

In the Education section:

Kiwanis ZooSchool

Giraffe Feeding

The purpose of the Kiwanis ZooSchool is to provide each participating student a “passion for the natural world” through innovative learning experiences shaped by critical thinking skills and hands-on activities, as well as real world applications in an environment outside of the standard classroom. The curriculum follows the Alabama State Department of Education’s Course of Study standards in the core areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Science and incorporates common core standards as they are adopted by the state.

What is Kiwanis ZooSchool?

Working on Poster Design

The Kiwanis ZooSchool is an interdisciplinary program designed by Birmingham Zoo, Inc. to give seventh grade students attending Birmingham City Schools a unique and interactive educational experience. Each week classes of approximately 30 students are involved in Kiwanis ZooSchool. Participating students are taught a week long curriculum based on the Birmingham Zoo’s Trails of Africa exhibit.

A Week of Kiwanis ZooSchool

Monday: The continent of Africa and the Male African Elephant
Tuesday: The African Villager
Wednesday: Africa’s Water Issues and Diseases
Thursday: African Agriculture
Friday: EcoGarden Involvement, Conservation and Recycling

Alabama State Department of Education

Kiwanis ZooSchool

The Kiwanis ZooSchool curriculum has been designed to reinforce the value of student achievement in the classroom. Thus, the instructional goals and objectives embedded into the Kiwanis ZooSchool curriculum are to aid in increasing student achievement.

Goals and Objectives

  • Offer innovative hands-on and minds-on learning experiences outside of the standard classroom environment.
  • Show an increase in student achievement through comparing pre-assessment scores to post-assessment scores.
  • Promote conservation efforts that coincide with the Birmingham Zoo’s mission of “inspiring passion for the natural world” by offering students information and opportunities to raise environmental awareness both locally and globally.
  • Provide information on a variety of job opportunities that can be attained by staying in school and earning a high school diploma.
  • Provide a quality learning experience to promote longevity and sustainability in the Kiwanis ZooSchool program.

Lasting Impact of Kiwanis ZooSchool

African Elephant Observations

  • Raising awareness of how students can assist and help in areas of conservation and recycling through our partnership with the Junior League of Birmingham and the EcoGarden.
  • Inviting students to participate in the Birmingham Zoo’s volunteer program and/or other volunteer programs allowing them to make an impact in their community.
  • Giving students the opportunity to educate their fellow classmates by participating in the Eco-cell electronic recycling program

Birmingham Safari: Phillips Academy GATE ZooSchool

Recently, the Phillips Academy Gifted and Talented Education students were able to experience Kiwanis ZooSchool. To read about their week in ZooSchool, please click here.


The Birmingham Zoo received a Museums for America award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services totaling $133,000 ($66,500 each year for the 2012 – 2013 and 2013 – 2014 school years) to support the ZooSchool program. The Birmingham Zoo was the only award recipient in the state of Alabama in 2012. This amount must be matched with $154,451 from other donors for a total of $287,451 for two school years. The program’s annual budget is approximately $143,725.

Alabama Power Photo

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive with broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage and lifelong learning.

The Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation provided a challenge grant for the Trails of Africa ZooSchool in 2010. Other major funders include Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, BBVA Compass Bank Foundation, Tom and Julia Crawford, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC, Hill Crest Foundation, Inc., and IBERIABANK. Both private and corporate gifts continue to be raised to cost share the grant over the next two years.

Allergy Information

The Birmingham Zoo is a facility that uses nuts and nut products for animal diet purposes. Traces of nuts or nut products may be found in areas where animal feedings are conducted and areas where Programs and Educational animal demonstrations are performed. The safety of our guests remains a top priority and the Zoo takes precautions to provide a safe environment.

In the Education Programs Department, safety precautions include:

  • Teachers are trained to recognize the physical characteristics that indicate an allergic reaction is occurring and proper responses to take when a student has a reaction.
  • Teachers are trained to properly use EpiPen.
  • Teachers will not offer students any food containing nuts or nut products and all students will be discouraged from bringing snacks/lunches containing nuts or nut products.
  • Teachers will ensure that no nuts or nut products are used as any part of class activities (not involving a live animal demonstrations).

You can support Kiwanis ZooSchool with a gift today!

Suggested amounts:
$43 – Amount needed to sponsor a child for one day of ZooSchool
$217 – Amount needed to sponsor a child for one week of ZooSchool
$500 – Amount needed to sponsor entire ZooSchool session

Please click here to make your gift.


2010-2013 Kiwanis ZooSchool and Birmingham Zoo EcoGarden Sponsors:

Alabama Power Foundation
Birmingham City Schools
Hill Crest Foundation Inc.
Institute of Museum & Library Services
Kiwanis Club of Birmingham
BBVA Compass Bank
Comer Foundation
Junior League of Birmingham
Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation
P and C Carroll Foundation
Thomas and Julia Crawford
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC
Councilor Valerie A. Abbott
Children’s of Alabama
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama
Publix Super Markets Charities
Redmont Park Historic District Foundation