Site URL: SanDiegoZoo.org/education
Content: Generally considered to be among the best zoos in the world, The San Diego Zoo features over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. It is also one of the few zoos in the world that houses the giant panda. The zoo’s education site offers classroom materials and teaching guides focusing on animals, the environment and conservation.
Design: As with most sites aimed at kids, the San Diego Zoo’s is light and full of images. Bouncy fonts and bright colors attract the eye and give a fun feel to this educational site.
All of the navigation and other nuts-and-bolts features of the site are very easy to find and use. With only a handful of main pages on the site, users shouldn’t have any trouble finding desired content.
Review: Given that they come from one of the most respected zoological institutions in the world, it is no surprise that the materials are all top-notch. The site’s educational outreach products are equally good.
K-12 lesson plans are free downloadable PDFs. While many are specific to the San Diego area or the zoo, they are easily adaptable to any classroom. For example, the lesson plan about koalas asks students to go to the zoo and observe the animal. Any school with an Internet connection can provide images and video of koalas, making a trip to the West Coast unnecessary.The zoo does make its experts available to schools outside of southern California via videoconferencing. For a fee of $129 per session, the videoconference program includes a 30 to 45-minute presentation on an animal or conservation subject
Bottom Line: With world-class animal educators providing first-rate classroom materials and live video lessons, the San Diego Zoo site is a must-visit for teachers.