Distance Learning: 3rd to 5th Grade

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo invites you to bring your group to the Zoo — virtually! Encounter some of the Zoo's animals, explore their natural habitats and learn about conservation issues affecting them. Experience all this Zoo fun without having to leave your school.


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's distance learning classroom offers programs throughout the year.

Lesson plans for the programs are available to be downloaded in our Online Resource Library. Navigate to the lesson plan section using the links at the top of the page. 

Please note that programs requests are subject to presenter availability during the hours of 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. E.D.T.

Program Descriptions

Polar Bear Express
Discover how climate change is affecting the survival of the world's largest land predator, the polar bear, and what we can do to help.

What To Do With The Poo?
How does a zoo recycle poo? Learn about composting and how nature takes care of the waste.


Registration available by request. Please email cmr@clevelandmetroparks.com with your program date, time, and topic requests.


$80 (point-to-point conference)


How do I register my class or group?

All registrations are by request and must be completed through email or by phone (216)635-3391.

When may I register my class for a Distance Learning program with the Zoo?

Distance Learning program registrations are accepted in early August for the fall/winter semester and in early January for the winter/spring semester.

How much do the programs cost?

The program cost is $80.00 per program topic The cost includes (1) point-to-point connection.
NOTE: Recording or additional streaming not permitted.

What equipment and technology do I need to participate in a Distance Learning Program?

Participants must have access to a two-way, audio-video teleconferencing system operating at 384K or faster. Currently, all programs will be conducted through IP. These programs are conducted on a point-to-point connection.

Distance learning programs are conducted over an IP connection. Schools are responsible for dialing into Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and providing all connection information at the time of registration; including valid IP number for connecting site.

Connection information will be provided to you in a follow-up confirmation e-mail, a week prior to the scheduled program.

Sites connecting with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for the first time need to complete a successful test connection. Please contact Cathy Ryan-Smith at (216) 661-6500 Ext. 4479 to set up that connection. This needs to be done within one to two weeks prior to your scheduled program.

If your connection has any special needs, please place that information in the "Comments" section on the registration. Example: Special Ed. class, dial-in, dial-out only, and IP alias or extension.

NOTE: If your site is using a bridge service for your connections, you are responsible for setting up conference information, time-zone changes, test connections, etc. In addition, if your site uses a dynamic (bridge assigned or changing) IP address, you will be instructed to contact the Zoo at (216) 661-6500, press '0' for operator and ask for education registration staff. Please call approximately 60 minutes prior to the start of the conference.

If you have any questions, prior to program, please contact Cathy Ryan-Smith at (216) 661-6500 Ext. 4479.

What does a distance learning program include?

Our distance learning programs are designed to introduce your group to a topic or concept within a 40-45 minute session. Programs may include a PowerPoint presentation paired with educational biofacts, an animal viewing and a question and answer session.

NOTE: Distance learning is not able to explore the entire zoo and its animals in a program.

Are program descriptions and lesson plans available that I can review prior to registration?

Lesson Plans are available in the Online Resource Library. Please note: these documents are only available in an Adobe Acrobat format (download Adobe Reader from the Adobe website).

How many students can attend the videoconference?

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 50 students.

When will I know if my group is scheduled for a program?

Upon completion of registration, account holder will receive an e-mail confirmation of registered programs. NOTE: It is the responsibility of the account holder to distribute pertinent e-mail information to assigned classroom teacher/technology staff.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

If you need additional information, or you need assistance registering your group, e-mail the Education Registration Staff at programregistration@clevelandmetroparks.com or call (216) 635-3391.