Visit How the Zoo Works

Visit How the Zoo Works

Activity designed for primary school cycle two and three students.


In this visit, students will be shown the complexity of the Zoo and its most important functions.


European zoos were created in the 18th century to exhibit strange animals to the general public. However, in the modern world, animals can now be observed in other ways, such as travelling, in documentaries and books. For this reason, modern zoos centre their purpose on the conservation of endangered species and education for preserving the environment

Duration: 2 hours

Start time: 10.00 am – 10.30 am – 12.00 pm – 12.30 pm – 2.00 pm

To get the most out of Visit How the Zoo Works , we suggest studying the following aspects at school before the visit: 


To understand the students’ interests and increase motivation about the animals:

  • Collect brochures, photographs, magazine articles, cards, worksheets or other materials from different zoos and other centres that have animals.
  • Select the animals that they want to see at the Zoo.
  • Make a list of the facilities that are needed to take care of animals (veterinarian’s clinic, kitchens, warehouses, sleeping areas, inside courtyards) and explain their utility or function.
  • For years five and six: start a debate about zoos' needs to conserve species Prepare the discussion by questioning the suitability of having animals like  chimpazees, otters, lions, cows and dogs. 
  • Consult the Barcelona Zoo’s animal files, looking for examples of how conservation works at the Zoo We recommend the file on the Père David’s deerand the European biso. 


To observe animals:

Visit places that house animals, like a circus, a wild animal shelter, an animal protection agency or a natural park and compare the functions of each of them (responsible ownership).


As specific objectives:

  • To introduce the concept of zoos and the functions they perform: conservation, research and education.
  • To understand the complexity of preserving a collection of living animals.

The Visit How the Zoo Works  teaches students about the main care and service that the animals at the Zoo receive, in an entertaining manner that is adapted to their ages.

  1. Short presentation with slides of the basic Zoo functions.
  2. Observation and handling of different objects coming from animals in our collection.
  3. Guided tour by a Zoo educator (biologist) to learn more about the following contents:
    • The animals’ facilities. Adaptation to their needs.
    • The food the Zoo animals eat.
    • Handling and taking care of animals. Veterinarian care.
    • Breeding in captivity. Reproduction in captivity programmes.
    • Conservation at zoos. Reintroduction programmes.

Suggestions for activities to do after the Visit How the Zoo Works:


Natural sciences space:

  • Make a collection of different endangered species at the Zoo.
  • Have a group project on the different buildings and offices at the Barcelona Zoo.
  • Create a comic book about the reintroduction of the otter or Majorcan midwife toad.


Evaluation of learning obtained:

  • Draw, build a model or explain what the ideal facility would be like for their favourite animals. 



Education in favour of the environment.


Living organisms.



With respect to knowledge, facts and ideas:

  • Study the food and movement of different mammals.
  • Observe how they adapt to different habitats and their self-protection systems.

With respect to procedures:

  • Learn to observe animals carefully.
  • Embark on the classification and recognition of the different groups of mammals.

With respect to attitudes and values:

  • To foster respect for animals through being better informed.
  • To awaken students’ awareness about protecting nature.

Small group: 188 € (until 20 students) each additional student until 25, the price are 8,15 € for student. The free teachers


Big Group: 233 € (until 29 students) each additional student until 31, the price are 8,15 € for student. The free teachers

For groups of disabled and residences with economic difficulties the price are 7 € per person and the accompanying free.

Department of Education
Pg. Circumval.lació, 3, 08003 Barcelona 

Information and bookings: T. 932 256 787. From Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 02:00pm and from 02:00pm to 04:30pm. Friday from 09:00am to 01:30pm

Information: T. 937 065 656 from 09:00am to 08:00pm