Jacksonville Zoo and GardensJacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Education FAQs

How do you screen your program staff?
All staff educators are screened for excellence in children’s programming.  All have had previous experience with children and have cleared nationwide, state and FBI Level 2 background checks as prescribed by the State of Florida’s Jessica Lunsford Act.

How will my child be supervised?
At no time is any child left unsupervised.  The number of staff and volunteers ensures thorough supervision and monitoring.  The Zoo’s full time security staff responds immediately to any emergency situation.  Security staff is first aid, CPR and automatic emergency defibrillator trained.  The Jacksonville Fire Department will also respond within minutes of being contacted.

Where do your programs take place?
Most programs are held at the PepsiCo Foundation Education Campus located at the south end of the Zoo’s main parking lot. Paying Zoo admission is not necessary to participate in Campus programs. 
Some programs take place in the Discovery Center in Play Park.  Zoo Admission is required to attend Discovery Center programs.  Zoo members receive free admission to the Zoo every day, and receive a discount on education program fees!

Where is the Education Campus?
Map to Education Campus

May parents stay with their children?
Other than our preschool classes, our programs are designed for children who are able to be successful in group-oriented programs without parent involvement.

My child has a younger friend.  Can they attend this program together?
With proper justification older students may be allowed to attend class for younger students, but younger students are not allowed to attend classes developed for older students. Our classes involve exciting, hands-on learning that is age appropriate.  We reserve the right to cancel the registrations of children registered in sessions that do not match their age/grade.

What is your behavior policy?
To ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all children, the Zoo’s staff manages child behavior.  All children are expected to behave appropriately, and in the event of disruptive behavior, a child may be timed-out and removed from the group.  If the disruptive behavior continues, the child-care provider (parent, guardian or chaperone) will be called to help find a solution.  If improvement is not realized immediately, the child-care provider may be asked to pick up the child early from the program and the child may be asked not to return.  In this situation, there will be no refunds for any days missed.

Will we go Behind the Scenes?
Some of our programs include the opportunity to go behind the scenes, meet keepers, get up-close and learn more about the exotic animals in the collection.  To be able to offer this experience, it is imperative that participants comply with all safety directions when behind the scenes and wear the prescribed footwear.  Shoes must completely cover the feet; sandals, heelies, crocs and all other shoes that expose the bare skin of feet to the environment or interfere with walking are never permitted during behind the scene tours.  Guests who do not follow the behavior policies and safety directions or wear the prescribed shoes will not be permitted in behind the scene areas.

Do you have a Lost & Found?
Items left behind are placed in a box in the lobby of the Administration Building at the PepsiCo Foundation Education Campus.  To check on lost items after the day of your program, please contact the Education department at 904-757-4463 ext. 122.  Items not claimed after 2 weeks will be donated to charity.

Can you administer medication?
Staff cannot administer or dispense medication to children.  Children must be able to take their own medication.  Staff can carry medications and help children to remember to take their medication.  The Zoo’s Security staff is first aid, CPR, and automatic emergency defibrillator trained.

Do you provide any food or snacks?
No, the Zoo does not provide food or snacks to the children.  Some of our programs, such as our Zoo Camps, require participants to bring their own lunch and snacks, as there is a designated snack or lunch break during the program day.

Can you accommodate special needs?
Please indicate on the registration form any special needs our staff must be made aware of prior to your program.  Special needs such as physical, academic, social and/or dietary will be accommodated to the best of our ability.  Please note that the Zoo educators are not specially certified to handle special needs.

Can more than one child attend together?
If you want to attend a specific program with a friend, please register both participants at the same time on-line.  Due to the popularity of our programs, we cannot save spaces.

Is there a waiting list?
Due to the overwhelming popularity of our programs, we do keep waiting lists when classes fill.  If a desired program is not visible on the registration site, please assume that the date is filled to capacity.  To be added to a wait list, contact the Education department directly by (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 904-757-4463 x122.

If you need to cancel your reservation, you must call 904.757.4463 ext 122 or email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Full refunds can be made up to 14 days in advance of the program.
Within 14 days of the program, refunds will be made at the discretion of the Education Department Management.