Back to school with Henry Vilas Zoo Critter Connections

Think lions, tigers and bears—but on a much smaller, student-friendly scale.
Henry Vilas Zoo Critter Connections program
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:19 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Call it animal studies, a mix of recess with a twist, there are endless educational opportunities walking your area zoo.

At Henry Vilas Zoo, their education staff is offering up-close and behind-the-scenes interactions with animals in their 30 minute Critter Connections presentations.

They invite groups including school, daycare, 4-H, church and homeschool student-age children.

“I love answering the kids questions because they come up with the wildest things,” laughed Courtney Cordova, Henry Vilas Zoo education specialist. “It’s always so fun to see their curiosity and excitement when you bring a turtle out and see their eyes just light up because they’re so excited to see this animal face-to-face and maybe even get to interact with them in a way that they couldn’t in the classroom.”

The program features live animals and a variety of age-appropriate content, including animal classifications, behaviors and natural history.

“It’s really cool for them to take their knowledge they learn in the classroom, maybe they’re studying frogs or reptiles, and then to be able to actually see them up-close and ask their questions, meet those animals,” Cordova said. “It’s really fun making those connections.”

Programs held when the temperature is below 65 degrees, are located in the indoor Discovery Center classroom, with a capacity of 30 people.

Henry Vilas Zoo Critter Connections program