It’s back-to-school season at Como

With more than 850,000 school age visitors, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is Minnesota’s conservation classroom. From fantastic school field trip offerings, to free programs like Nature’s Engineers, Como’s education programs provide unforgettable hands-on learning for every age.

Lil Explorers: Every Thursday morning from September to May, Como’s front porch is full of fun activity stations designed especially for very little learners. With engaging themes like “Fun with Fish,” “Bird Buddies,” and “Under the Sea,” this early learning program packs in games, stories and cool encounters with animals and plants that are just perfect for toddlers, pre-schoolers, their parents and caregivers.

Second Grade Field Trips: Field trips to Como are a Minnesota tradition, and in St. Paul, they’re now a rite of passage for more than 2,000 primary learners every year. Thanks to a partnership between Como Friends and the St. Paul Public Schools, every second grade classroom in the district is invited to take part in a free conservation class at Como, with round-trip transportation included. Your contributions ensure that tight school field trip budgets are never a barrier to discovering the wonders of nature at Como.

Nature’s Engineers: This free STEM program has something for learners of every age, as it explores science and nature through the eyes of engineers. For the littlest learners, there’s “Mini Movers,” a high-energy exploration of how animals move in the wild. For older kids, there’s “Everything Ecosystem,” a creative and problem-solving program that explores the interconnections between plants, animals and people. For adult learners, it’s “Nature’s Wonder,” an engaging slide presentation that explores how nature is helping scientists clean up oil spills, reduce energy consumption, and make advancements in aviation. To learn more about how to bring Nature’s Engineers to your classroom or community group, click here.

Residency Programs: One of Como’s most popular education programs ever, this innovative program invites entire elementary classrooms to spend a full week at Como, where the animal ambassadors of Como Zoo and the plants of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory become the vibrant backdrop to cross-disciplinary learning about science, social studies, language and art. Every year, nearly 700 students from around the metro region take part in the program, which is also available to students in greater Minnesota.

School Group Programs: Did you know that nearly half of Como’s school group programs take place off campus? Traveling programs are an affordable and fun way for more than 5,000 students to connect to Como’s collections every year.  With traveling companions like Cupid the penguin and exotic plants from the Conservatory, Como’s education specialists take nature on the road to connect with even more classrooms around the state. 

Bus Scholarships: Thanks to a generous grant from the Yellow Bus Fund of the Donald Weesner Charitable Trust, classrooms from around the community can apply for scholarship funding to offset the full cost of taking a bus to visit Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. 

Family Classes: Kids and their caregivers learn together in Como’s popular family classes like “Bump in the Night,” an after-hours experience about nocturnal plants and animals, complete with snacks around a campfire. There’s no better way to model the value of life-long learning than by exploring the wonders of Como with your kids.

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