Zoo Animals: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

If you have ever taken a trip to a zoo, then you already know that there are many different animals to be seen there. Learn about the different species at the zoo, as well as advantages and disadvantages of this lifestyle.

Zoo Animals on Land

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! There are many different land animals that live at the zoo, including animals whose normal habitat, or environment, is the jungle, forest or desert. At the National Zoo in Washington D.C., one of the most popular animals is the giant panda. Originating in China, the panda bear has become one of the most well-known endangered animals in the world. Other large land mammals that are common zoo attractions include elephants, giraffes and apes. Zoologists, scientists who study animals' physical characteristics and behavior, try to create a space at the zoo that is similar to the animals' natural environments.

Lions and Tigers

Mammals are not the only land animals that you can visit when you go to the zoo. Most zoos have an extensive reptile display where you can see iguanas, lizards, snakes and crocodiles, to name a few. Most of the smaller reptiles are kept in terrariums, which are glass containers that contain an indoor garden suitable for the animal. Sometimes, zoos will have spiders and insects as well. They are also housed in terrariums, which is a great thing. Otherwise, there would be tarantulas and cobras on the loose, which would make for a much more frightening visit to the zoo!

Zoo Animals in the Water

Aquariums are places where people can go to see and learn about different animals that live in the water, like whales, sharks, dolphins and turtles. Sometimes the aquariums are separate places, and sometimes they are an exhibit at the zoo.


Some animals live in both water and on land. Many of these animals are classified as amphibians, like frogs and salamanders. There are also some mammals and birds that zoos will give access to water, such as polar bears and penguins.

Zoo Animals in the Sky

What animals can you think of that live in the sky? You can visit many of these high-flying creatures at the zoo. In order to keep them from flying away, zoologists will put a ceiling at their exhibit. One of the most popular flying zoo animals is the parrot. Parrots are beautiful, colorful birds who naturally live in rainforest environments. Other zoo birds include pink flamingos, ostriches, owls and even toucans with their large, colorful bills. Some zoos will have butterfly gardens, where you can learn about many different species of butterflies.


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