Teaching SafarI

Earn 35 free PD hours or 2 free Semester Hours from Dominican University
The application window for the Fall 2024 Teaching Safari opens May 20, 2

(Applications will be accepted through August 22, 2024 or until spaces are filled.)

  • *Spaces are limited, please apply early.  Special consideration is given to teachers from CPS and Title I Schools. We encourage applicants to register with 1-3 other teachers from their school to support collaboration and professional learning communities. 


The Teaching Safari combines professional learning with onsite exploration of nature and animals at Brookfield Zoo Chicago. The program welcomes K-12 educators in all subject areas, and consists of four full-day, onsite sessions at the Zoo, and two 60-minute virtual sessions. In addition to attending and participating in these classes, participants engage in ongoing reflection on professional growth, and create and revise a lesson plan applying program content to practice. For more information, please read our flyer below!


Fall 2024 Flyer

Application opens 5/20!

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We look forward to welcoming you to Brookfield Zoo! Enjoy our 235-acre zoological park, featuring more than 2,400 animals belonging to over 400 species. Read on to learn how to maximize your zoo visit!


Weekdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Weekends 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Buildings close 30 minutes before the zoo.

Day 1: Great Bear Wilderness

Introduction: What is Conservation Leadership? Developing Conceptual Understanding Through Equity-Based, Student-Centered Teaching.

Observing Bears as Phenomena: A Gateway to Inquiry and Problem-Based Learning



Day 2: Great Bear Wilderness 

Brown Bear "Food for Thought": Sensemaking with Mathematical Data and Scientific Models 

A Habitat for Bears in the Human Heart:
Exploring Diverse Perspectives Through Art and Empathy


Day 3: Zoo Variety 

The Swamp: Swamp Music: Keeping Learning "In Tune" with Student Schema, Language, and Experience.

The Living Coast: Transform "Ho-Hum" Science Activities with Humboldt Penguins: Planning and Carrying Out Student-Centered Investigations through Inquiry. 


Day 4: Zoo Variety 

Hamill Family Play Zoo & Wild Encounters: Strategies for Empowering Students to Access and Take Ownership of Learning in School and Beyond.

Empowering Student-centered Learning through Animal Behavior Studies: Building Collaboration and Understanding through Student-Centered Assessment and Goal-Setting.  



The Teaching Safari program is presented by Brookfield Zoo Chicago to support educators in teaching Science and Conservation Leadership. Conservation Leadership encompasses not only an understanding of animals and ecosystems, but empathy, joy, and appreciation for the natural world shared in a spirit of equity and stewardship. We look forward to taking this safari with you!

Brookfield Zoo Chicago Teacher Network members will receive a 20% discount on Web+ Classes in the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) Master's Program. AIP is a master's degree program offered by Brookfield Zoo Chicago in partnership with Miami University, Ohio. The AIP Master's degree program focuses on education, sustainability, and local conservation actions. For more information, contact Agnes.Kovacs@brookfieldzoo.org.

*IEIN number, documentation of attendance at all sessions per Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidelines, and completion of reflections/lesson plans per rubric are required for professional development hours or semester hour credit. Certificate, zoo passes, and network benefits will be awarded upon completion of all program requirements. 


Graduate credit provided by: 

Have questions?
Please contact Patsy Steinmeyer at EdK12@brookfieldzoo.org