Students from Maryland schools, preschools, home schools, and Head Start programs enter the Zoo for FREE when visiting as part of a pre-registered school field trip. Students receive free admission ONLY if the teacher has pre-registered and received a confirmation email and Field Trip Entry Pass. Field trips must be booked at least 2 weeks before your desired date.
This grant-funded free field trip program is in effect from September 1, 2016 through June 16, 2017.
The following groups are NOT eligible for the free field trip program:
These groups can, however, may qualify to receive a discounted group rate by booking their trip through our Group Sales Department.
The Zoo requires a minimum of one (1) chaperone for every eight (8) students. A chaperone is any adult—teacher, instructional assistant, parent—on the field trip responsible for overseeing a group of children and for engaging them in learning.
As part of the free field trip program, the Zoo admits one (1) adult free for every four (4) students in a group. In addition, the Zoo accommodates students with special needs by offering free admission for adults in the role of IEP-mandated 1:1 assistant. Zoo Members serving as chaperones may use their membership card to enter the Zoo free of charge. Please note that siblings or other children coming along on the field trip are NOT counted in the calculation for allotted free chaperones.
Extra adults in the group beyond the 4:1 free-chaperone ratio can receive a discounted admission rate of $11 each. That’s almost 40% off the regular adult admission! You will need to indicate the number of extra adults on your Field Trip Entry Pass and pay for them in one transaction at the Main Gate on the day of your visit. Payments can be made using cash, check, or credit card. Checks should be made payable to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Please note that refunds for overpayments will not be issued.
Siblings or other children joining a chaperone on a field trip may enter for a discounted rate of $8 per child. These children must be indicated on the Field Trip Entry Pass and paid for with the rest of the group in one transaction at the Main Gate on the day of your visit. Children under the age of two are always admitted free. Please note that siblings and other children attending with the field trip are NOT included in the calculation for the allotted number of free chaperones.
Many school groups bring their lunches to the Zoo. Please note that there is no storage available for lunches on Zoo grounds. Food can also be purchased at the Zoo. For more information about food options, please visit the Visitor Information section of the website.
There are a number of places your group can have lunch on Zoo grounds. During spring, picnic tables are available on Celebration Hill (near the Main Gate). Small tables are also available in Zoo Central, the main concessions area, and at the Oasis, a smaller concessions area at the back of the Zoo. All seating is first-come, first-served. Some groups choose to picnic on benches throughout the Zoo or on grassy spots such as the hill next to Polar Bear Watch. Many groups opt to have lunch in their smaller chaperone groups rather than as one large class or school to make it easier to find seating.
The Maryland Zoo is open rain or shine! You can still have an enjoyable day if you dress for the weather. Some of the animals are actually more active in the rain! Refunds for any field trip fees cannot be refunded due to inclement weather. Bring your raincoats and umbrellas and be sure to check out the Zoo’s Rainy Day Guide for tips on visiting on a wet day.
Parking at the Zoo is free. Those arriving by car should park in the main parking lot (Lot A). Buses can either park or drop off students in parking Lot C. Both lots are accessible from the main Zoo entrance.
Enrich your students’ field trip experience with a supplemental program! Choose a Zoo Introduction assembly-style program, or more in-depth learning with a ZOOlab. To learn more about these programs, click here.
The Zoo’s train, the Jones Falls Zephyr, is a ride that winds through a portion of Zoo grounds. There is a fee to ride the train. The Zoo’s Shuttle (free) carries guests from the Zoo’s Main Gate to the center of the Zoo. School groups are strongly discouraged from riding the Zoo Shuttle into the Zoo due to high visitor volume which leads to very high wait times. School groups will be directed to enter the center of the Zoo via the walking path. On their way out of the Zoo, school groups may choose to use the Zoo Shuttle or the walking path.
Teachers receive a link to the Zoo map in their confirmation email. They should print at least one copy of the map for each chaperone. Zoo maps will not otherwise be readily available for school groups on the day of their visit.
Refunds for overpayments will not be issued. Overpayments will be processed as a donation to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.