Zinging Zoo Scavenger Hunt Ideas

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What better way to connect with nature and have some fun than to head on over to your local zoo for some educational fun? Zoo scavenger hunts are perfect for animal lovers or for anyone who just likes to learn new things while completing fun activities. Here is a list of just a few of the different types of scavenger hunts that you can do at your local zoo.


Educational Scavenger Hunt Clues:

The best part of holding a scavenger hunt at the zoo is the fact that the environment is made for having fun while learning. You can make this game as educational as you please at a zoo. The best and most fun way to do this is to create scavenger hunt clues that are educational in nature. Some examples of this kind of clue go something like this: “Find an animal that has armor on its body,” “find a nocturnal animal that is covered in spikes,” or “find something that a deer might like to eat.” Players of this game can run to the area of the zoo where the animal that is described is residing or find an item that is representative of the answer to the clue. You can even have the players provide photos as evidence of them finding everything on the list. This kind of challenge is great for a children’s activity as well as as a ‘grown ups’ scavenger hunt. Always make sure that children are supervised, however, and don’t ask smaller children to run around the zoo looking for things without a responsible older person going with them.


What better way to connect with nature and have some fun than to head on over to your local zoo for some educational fun? Zoo scavenger hunts are perfect for animal lovers or for anyone who just likes to learn new things while completing fun activities. Here is a list of just a few of the different types of scavenger hunts that you can do at your local zoo.


Riddle Scavenger Hunt Clues:

This idea is in the same vein as educational clues, but riddle clues are a lot trickier than any other kind of clue. The riddles can be as easy or as complex as you want, making this idea flexible enough to use for family scavenger hunts or ‘grown-ups’ scavenger hunts. Riddles usually go something like, “What can see perfectly in the dark and sounds like ‘mat?’” or “I am tall, I love to jump, and I have a fanny pack that my kids sleep in.” This kind of game is a little more challenging and can force players of the game to think a little more outside of the box and be more creative when figuring out the answer. If you’re having trouble coming up with riddles, type “animal riddles” into a search engine and you should find plenty of material to choose from. The answers to the riddles can be things other than animals, however. They can be foods that animals eat, things that animals do, or places where an animal’s natural habitat is. You can ask the players to either find the place in the zoo where the animal in question is kept or you can have them come up with items that represent the answers to the riddles.



The more interaction that is possible during a zoo trip, the better. This makes the whole experience of a scavenger hunt so much more fun and encourages players to do things that they may never have done before, like have a butterfly land on their nose or feed some farm animals. To encourage interaction, challenge the players in your game to complete tasks that force them to interact with the animals whenever possible (and safe, of course). For example, challenge them to go into a butterfly exhibit and see if a butterfly will land on them. If the zoo that you are visiting is a “petting zoo,” then this is a great option for your scavenger hunt. If you are at a regular zoo, check to see if it has a petting zoo-style area or some other exhibit where visitors can touch the animals. If it does, you can challenge your players to visit that exhibit and pet an animal. Some exhibits will even let you feed the animals, which is a great option for a challenge, also. Of course, never try to touch or otherwise interact with an animal unless it is made specifically clear that this is allowed and safe.


Camera Challenges:

Taking pictures of each item found or each challenge done is a great way to have fun while at the same time making things more convenient using modern technology. Some photo scavenger hunt ideas include snapping pics of animals that are the answer to clues or capturing an animal doing something specific on camera, like eating, jumping, roaring, or anything else you can think of. You can ask players in your game to take a selfie with an animal at an exhibit. You can even require players to capture video of an animal or their habitat instead of video, making the whole experience that much more dynamic. Have the players bring along a cell phone with a camera, a digital camera, or some other device that will allow them to capture a photo or video when necessary. Photo hunts are a great way to make sure that the participants in the scavenger hunt are able to take home some amazing mementos of this fun event that they can cherish forever.


Create a Creature:

This is a great way to get players in your game to be more creative and challenge their imaginations during a scavenger hunt. To do the “Create a Creature” challenge, design clues that require your players to invent their own animals. Have your players navigate the zoo per the directions provided in the clues in order to find the animal enclosure from which they can find inspiration for their designs. Clues can prompt them to include certain body parts, abilities, colors, or other features in their creature design. A clue in this type of game could sound something like this: “Turn right at the butterfly house, walk across the bridge, turn left at the first entrance, and go to the very last animal enclosure on your right. Pick one body part from this animal to include in your own creature.” You could also make the challenge a little more interesting by including a theme for the creature, such as “the perfect superhero sidekick” or “a great companion or protector for the zombie apocalypse.” Create-a-creature is a fun and creative way to play this versatile game and is a great way to get kids and grown-ups alike involved and engaged in creative exploration. This challenge is an essential on your list of family scavenger hunt ideas.


Biology Clues:

No one loves a good day at the zoo more than the avid biology geek, whether they are kids or older. Give the bio-minded players of your next scavenger hunt game a real treat by working some science into the clues on your list. Have your players look for mammalian species of animals, members of species that live in particular environments (for example: write a clue that instructs players to find 3 species of animals that are found only on one continent, or a species of animal that is found on every continent in the world), or animals that have certain characteristics or adaptations, such as wings or flippers. If you are teaching a class, go the extra mile and work some scientific terms into your clues. Any die-hard animal nerd will love the challenge!


Some Tips:

Be Safe: Keeping your game safe is the first priority. Don’t ever touch or interact with an animal unless it is clearly allowed and safe and always obey all of the rules and regulations posted at the zoo. Whenever necessary, be sure to inform the organizers at the venue of any larger events that you might be holding so that your group can be accommodated and kept as safe as possible.

Cost: Zoos generally have reasonable admission prices, but always make sure to be sensitive to the budgetary restraints of people who are attending your party or event. If you have a large group, contact the zoo and see if you can get a discount. Many zoos have deals for people throwing birthday parties or other events with many people attending that allow large groups to purchase tickets at a discounted price.

Find Good Hiding Spots: Chances are, there is usually a lot of visitor traffic at your local zoo or whatever zoo you choose to hold your scavenger hunt at. Make sure, if you are hiding items around the zoo, that you choose hiding places that won’t be disturbed by unwitting pedestrians or curious children. This might involve asking vendors to play along with your game and put things behind a counter, which would require a bit more organization on your part. Of course, you should always make sure that you have the permission of organizers at the zoo to hide things.

Have Fun: As always, games are all about having fun—that’s the most important thing, after all. Have a blast at your next zoo scavenger hunt!

September 5, 2017 |

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