Give your students a field trip experience they'll always remember!
Columbian Park Zoo is a great destination for field trips! Local, and small enough to be walkable, the Zoo offers a unique learning opportunity in a low-stress setting. The Zoo is open late April through early October each year and field trip groups are welcome any time during open season hours. There is no need to call ahead for group visits unless you are seeking to add one of our great educational presentations or tours to your visit. For information about educational add-ons, or general field trip questions, please contact the Zoo Education Department at (765) 807-1540.
Due to the immense popularity of field trips each spring, Columbian Park Zoo offers a formal field trip program package, called Schools on Safari. Our Schools on Safari Field Trip season takes place in April and May each year. Packages include a live animal presentation, discounted train ride (as available), and downloadable resource materials to enhance the visit. Schools on Safari requires advance reservation and availability is limited. For more information about the Schools on Safari Field Trip Program, please visit the Schools on Safari page at the link below.
Can't make it to the Zoo? Let us come to you for an in-house field trip! A variety of outreach programs are available for audience of all ages throughout the academic year. Visit our Educator's Guide to Programs and Field Trips for more information.
Important Things to Know Before Visiting with Your Students:
- Unless you are interested in scheduling a Schools on Safari field trip package or other educational program to enhance your visit, you do not need to make advance reservations.
- Peak field trip season is late April-May. Expect the Zoo to be crowded on school days during this time frame.
- Bus parking is prohibited in the Wallace Street lot. Parking is available along Scott Street and Wallace Avenue. We recommend that you review the Construction Updates section or call for current parking recommendations prior to your visit.
- Please enter through the main Zoo entrance gate, located in the interior of the park. Gates open at 10:00 am daily during open season (late April-early October.)
- The Zoo is mainly an outdoor facility. Although we are open to the public rain or shine, there are no indoor exhibit areas within which students can escape the elements. If inclement weather is a concern, please check the forecast and plan accordingly.
- There are some snack and drink items available for sale in the Zoo Gift Shop. Otherwise, we do not have concessions. Picnic lunches in Columbian Park are welcome. Please contact the Lafayette Parks and Recreation office at (765) 807-1500 for information on picnic shelter reservations.
- The Columbian Park Express train ride, when operating, is available at a discounted rate for Schools on Safari groups only. If you are not scheduling a Schools on Safari field trip package, but would like to purchase individual train tickets for your group, please inquire at the Zoo Gift Shop. Please be aware that depending on the Schools on Safari reservation schedule there may not be additional train capacity available on the day of your visit. Train tickets are non-refundable. There are several factors that can influence whether the train is operating, including (but not limited to) weather, construction projects, and mechanical/maintenance needs. Please confirm availability with Gift Shop staff prior to making your purchase.
- Have questions? Call the Zoo at (765) 807-1540 and we will be happy to assist you.