VISITOR INFORMATION FOR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Hamilton Zoo is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm; last admissions at 3.30pm. If you would like your group to arrive earlier than 9.30am please contact the education team and discuss the options.
We are a LEOTC provider for the Ministry of Education. We offer a discounted rate of $6.50 per person (students, teachers and accompanying adults) for primary and secondary school learning experiences, available Monday to Friday during the school term. To receive the education rate, payment must be made in one lump sum for the whole group. If not, the standard admission cost will apply. Please note: prices are subject to change.
To qualify for the special LEOTC rate you must:
- book your visit in advance
- identify your learning outcomes
- work with a member of the Zoo’s education team during your visit and
- complete an evaluation form post-visit.
The group total cost must be paid in one amount. Payment can be made by cash, cheque or credit card (we do not accept American Express or Diners Club) or we are able to invoice your school (we require at least four working days advance notice for this option).
Annual memberships, special offers or promotions can not be used in conjunction with an educational visit.
For non-contact (school teacher led) observation in Zoo grounds normal zoo entry rates will apply.
Planning your visit
The education Team can help you organise your visit to Hamilton Zoo. Please contact us to discuss options to meet your needs and, if you require, organise a teacher pre-visit.
We can assist you in planning your unit. We have a range of resources available. Some of these are available here, however we also have other resources and web pages that we can refer you to for more information on your chosen focus. By contacting the education team we can help you decide what will work best for you.
You may consider attending our ‘Meet the Keeper’ talks. These are free to the public and keepers will talk about specific animals and are available to answer questions. Check out the schedule so you can plan your day around these. Please let the Education Team know if there is a specific 'Meet the Keeper' talk you would like your group to attend. This way we can ensure the keeper is prepared for larger school groups.
For an additional cost we also offer animal encounters. They are keeper-led, behind the scenes encounters where your students will get up close and personal with one of our animals. Please get in touch with us about what animals are available, as this changes depending on circumstances. The cost is the special education rate of just $5 per person. Please let us know at least two weeks prior to your visit if you are interested in booking an encounter as there is a limited schedule and maximum number of people per encounter.
Once the education team has received your booking form then we will be able to confirm your booking.
Prior to Visit
We provide free maps at Hamilton Zoo but we do encourage people to use and recycle these. There are maps situated around the zoo and we suggest that you print off maps if you feel adults require these.
Children under 14 must be supervised at all times. Please ensure there will be adequate supervision; refer to your school guidelines for appropriate adult/child ratio.
Be familiar with Hamilton Zoo RAMS. Prior to your visit please discuss with your students and accompanying adults behaviour expectations and organisation while at Hamilton Zoo.
What do you expect them to do on arrival? We do not have the space outside the zoo for groups to meet safely. We therefore encourage groups to immediately gather inside the zoo grounds on arrival. Please ensure that a teacher stops at reception with a break down of your numbers (students in each year level, adults and teachers).
Stay on public paths and boardwalks. These may be slippery or steep.
Stay behind the barriers provided for your safety. Animals do bite!
Do not climb or sit on fences or barriers.
No banging on exhibit windows, or shouting at the animals to get their attention as this may frighten the animal.
No feeding the animals – they are on special diets to keep them in good health.
If any object is accidentally dropped into an enclosure please report this to reception staff (e.g. a drink bottle or umbrella). The keeper will be requested to retrieve it where possible.
Whistles, balls, balloons, scooters, skateboards, roller-blades, etc., are not permitted in the Zoo. Whistles are used by Zoo staff in emergencies.
First aid supplies are available at Reception. Most Zoo staff are trained to assist with minor medical problems. If someone has an accident or near-miss a zoo accident pack needs to be completed.
Please have a list of all the adults and children in the group as this will be essential in an emergency (e.g. evacuation of the Zoo) to mark everyone off at the assembly point in the car park. We recommend that you also have noted each adult supervisor’s mobile phone number.
Please encourage children to move quietly at a walking pace around the zoo, keeping together and being considerate of other patrons. Running may frighten the animals, and they may hide.
Upon arrival we ask that one teacher sees the receptionist to provide them with the final numbers - broken down (this is a ministry requirement) by:
- students – by year groups
Your educator will meet you at reception. Rather than gathering in the car park, students may be escorted through to the cafe/playground area while one teacher is at reception.
The education room usually sparks a lot of talk and excitement amongst students and they will have the opportunity to ask questions and have a closer look at the variety of specimens and displays and touch some things at the end of the session.
It takes about 2 hours to get around the zoo.
You are welcome to bring your own food into the Zoo or you may choose to purchase from the Zoo on-site cafe. They have a delicious menu of both hot and cold food. Only food and drink purchased in the café may be consumed there (both inside and out). If you are requiring food for your group from the cafe please contact us for a suggested menu.
Picnic tables – There are a number of picnic tables situated around the zoo. Please ensure that these areas are left tidy and that rubbish and recycling bins are used.
BBQs - The Zoo has two electric BBQs which operate on $1.00 coins (12mins). They must be booked in advance.
Drinking fountains can be found in the upper zoo and lower zoo picnic areas.
Are located behind the café (upper zoo) and near the grassed picnic area (lower zoo)
- We have 3 lockable lockers available; each would fit approx 30 bags. These are free to use but do need to be booked in advance.