Live Animal Programs

With over 50 live animals in our teaching collection and hundreds of hands-on animal artifacts to support curriculum, come explore the amazing world of animals with us! Our collection includes snakes, hawks, ferrets, hedgehogs, tarantulas, owls and many more. Programs can take place on our 40-acre sanctuary or at a natural location near you. Learn more about our Live Animal Collection.

Animals in Winter

Preschool – Grade 3

How do animals know winter is on its way? We'll use live animals and artifacts, plus participatory activities and some role-playing, to learn how animals have adaptations to help them survive. Migration, hibernation and brumation/survive are only some of the ways animals survive the coldest season.

  • CT science standards PK2, PK3, K2, K3, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.4, 3.2/ NY Living Environment 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.2

Birds of Prey

Grades 1 and up

Observe several raptor species up close while learning about their adaptations, behavior, ecological importance and natural history. Demonstrations, games and museum specimens will help illuminate the fascinating lives of these amazing avians.

  • CT science standards 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 3.4, 4.2, 5.2, 6.2/ NY Living Environment 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.2

Endangered Species*

Grades 4 – 6

Students will explore the amazing diversity in the animal and plant kingdoms and examine what's needed to survive. From here, we'll learn what threatened, endangered and extinct really mean for animals and plants, and what factors contribute to population decline. A forum discussion including real life success stories ties together lessons of the day and shows students how they can play a positive role in helping endangered species.

  • CT science standards 4.2, 5.2, 6.2, 6.4/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 3.2, 7.1, 7.2
* Program runs for 90 minutes due to content.

Herpetology – Reptiles and Amphibians

Grades 2 – 5

Turtles, Frogs, Snakes, and Toads! What's the difference? Do Snakes lay eggs? Where do toads live? How can I tell the difference between poisonous and venomous animals? These are questions that can be answered in this engaging, hands- on program. See live animals up close from our assortment of educational animal ambassadors and learn by comparing and contrasting these unique creatures.

  • CT science standards 3.2, 3.4, 4.2, 5.2/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 4.1, 5.2

Insects & Arachnids

Grades 2 – 4

Many people don't realize just how amazing insects can be! Did you know that insects can provide food? Did you know that insects are the largest grouping of animals we have? Students will learn what makes an insect an insect by identifying certain insects. We will also explore their relatives, the arachnids, to discover what's similar or different, plus see what value all these "spineless" critters have to offer.

  • CT science standards 3.2, 3.4, 4.2/ NY Living Environment 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.2

Meet the Animals

Preschool – Grade 2

By meeting live animals, students learn how each is suited to live in its environment: what it eats, where it lives and what covers its body. We'll learn about some common misconceptions as we study each species, emphasizing respect for all animals. The class can be tailored to complement your curriculum and include aquatic animals, nocturnal animals, reptiles, amphibians and others.

  • CT science standards PK1, PK2, K1, K2, 1.2, 1.3/ NY Living Environment 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.2

Nocturnal Animals of Connecticut

Grades 1 – 4

When the sun goes down a whole new world of wildlife emerges! Students will learn the difference between diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular animals and why they choose their "time" to be active. This program is accompanied by our animal ambassadors from the center.

  • CT science standards 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 3.4, 4.2/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 5.1, 5.2

Owls on the Prowl*

Grades 4 and up

We are fascinated with Owls but rarely do we see them in the wild. With large eyes, silent flight, these quiet hunters, are considered a valuable top predator in many ecosystems around us! This fun program explores the various types of owls in our region through meeting them up close and investigates what they eat via a pellet dissection!

  • CT science standards 4.2, 6.2/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 5.1, 5.2
* An additional fee of $25 per class will be charged for owl pellet lab materials.

Vertebrate Classification & Taxonomy

Grades 5 – 9

By utilizing observation and deduction skills, students will discover how vertebrate animals are classified into five groups: mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish. They'll then meet animals from several of these groups to help them in their study.

  • CT science standards 6.1, 6.2/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 5.1, 7.2

Wildlife Adaptations

Grades 3 – 5

We will discuss form and function as we observe the adaptations of several Nature Center animals. Students will role play the adaptations of regional mammals to facilitate discussions regarding how the design of each animal helps it survive in its habitat.

  • CT science standards 3.2, 3.4, 4.2/ NY Living Environment 1.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.2