Petting Zoo Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

This lesson plan will teach your students about life at a petting zoo. They will also participate in a fun hands-on activity that will help to reinforce what they just learned.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Describe some characteristics of petting zoo animals
  • Name several animals common to many petting zoos
  • Recap the sounds that these animals commonly make


1 - 1.5 Hours


  • Colored markers
  • Construction paper
  • Internet access
  • Preprinted index cards containing information about petting zoo animals (24 cards per group)

Key Vocabulary

  • Animal sounds
  • Children's farms
  • Domesticated animals
  • Herbivores
  • Omnivores
  • Petting farms

Curriculum Standards

  • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.

Instructions and Activities


  • Inform your students they are going to be learning about petting zoos.
  • Ask them if anyone is familiar with petting zoos, or has ever been to one.
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.
  • Let your students know they will be playing a fun matching game with index cards involving petting zoo animals. The winning group will win a small prize.
  • Divide your students into small groups of 4-6.
  • Pass out 24 index cards per group with the following pieces of information. One card will contain the name of an animal, and another card will contain four fun facts about that animal. Shuffle the cards first so they are not in order. Now tell your students they are about to match up two index cards, one for the animal and one for its corresponding characteristics.

Tell your students:

Good luck. Ready, set, go!

1) Alpacas

people sometimes confuse these with llamas

adults are about three feet in height at the shoulders, and about 150 pounds in weight

like to eat mostly grass and hay

sounds made are drone, hum, and purr

2) Chickens

almost 20 billion of these live on Earth

are actually omnivores and will even eat small mice

weigh from two to eight pounds

sounds made are cluck, cry, and squawk

3) Cows

stomach has four compartments for digestion

can weigh over 3,000 pounds

do not actually sleep while standing

sounds made are bellow and moo

4) Ducks

often can't fly when molting

many weigh less than two pounds

related to swans and geese

sounds made are quack and whistle

5) Donkeys

people often confuse these with mules

used to carry heavy loads on often steep and uneven terrain

a small one is known as a burro

sound of a bray can be heard from over a mile away

6) Goats

related to sheep

related to antelope as well

have been herded for almost 10,000 years

sounds include bleat, cry, and scream

7) Guinea Pigs

they don't originate from Guinea, and are actually rodents

they weigh roughly two pounds, and are just under one foot in length

often called a cavy, especially in England

sounds include purring, rumbling, and squeaking

8) Llamas

they are generally larger than the alpacas

like being around people, despite their reputation for sometimes becoming agitated

are known for their long eyelashes

sounds made include hum and groan

9) Pigs

they are actually cleaner, smarter, and more social than many people believe

adults can weigh anywhere from 100-700 pounds, and are usually two to four feet in height

like to sleep with noses touching

sounds made are oink, grunt, snort, and squeal

10) Ponies

they are not foals as many believe, but actual adults

they are usually under five feet tall at the shoulders

can live almost twice as long as horses

sounds include neigh and whinny

11) Rabbits

tough to sneak up on them because they can see behind their heads

the average one is about a foot in length, although they only weigh a few pounds

can take 15 naps in one day, and like an occasional carrot (too many can make them ill)

sounds include mutter and squeal

12) Sheep

the average domestic animal weighs from about 100- 300 pounds

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