Field Trip FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What constitutes a School Group?

A school group is an educational field trip associated with a preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school or college course. It must be led by a certified teacher during the traditional school year/traditional school hours. A school group must have a minimum of 20 paying customers. The school group rate is not available for summer camps, day care centers, religious institutions or recreational classes.


Can I get a refund?

We do not offer refunds or rain checks (the Zoo is open rain or shine).  Groups who pre-pay will not receive a refund if fewer people attend the day of the field trip.


How do I purchase non-school group tickets?

If you do not meet the criteria for a school group but have 20 or more individuals as part of your group or if you wish to visit the Zoo on a day that’s not available for school groups, you can purchase tickets at https://detroitzoo.org/visit/groups/.


How do I make a reservation?

Please fill out the group reservation form located at https://detroitzoo.org/visit/pricing/school-groups-field-trips-form/. Reservations must be made a month prior to the intended visitation date. Some dates are not available due to events, holidays and capacity limitations.  Once the form is received you will be emailed a confirmation letter within 48 hours.  Please review your confirmation materials.


How do I update my reservation invoice?

If you need to update your invoice, you can either call the education hotline at (248)-541-5717 ext. 3300 or email us at schoolgroups@dzs.org and we will update it for you.


How do I sign up for a Learning Lab?

Learning Labs can be added to your field trip; choose one here:  detroitzoo.org/education/teachers-and-schools/learning-labs/.  Learning Labs have limited availability. If you are interested indicate your preferred program on the reservation form. You will be contacted for registration information.


How do I sign up for a Docent Tour?

A Docent tour is an educational tour of the Detroit Zoo given to school groups by our dedicated volunteers. The tours are available September through April. Availability is limited. Tours are $2 per person. Please indicate in the notes section of the registration form that you would like a Docent tour and describe what you would like the tour to primarily focus on.


How do I pay for my field trip?

  1. Call the Call Center at (248) 541-5717 ext. 3300, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with your credit card information.
  2. Pre-pay onsite at the Membership Office located at the front of the Zoo next to the admission gates, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Day-of payments will be taken at the ticket gates when you check your group in.
  3. Mail in a check to: Detroit Zoological Society c/o School groups.

When should I submit my payment?

If you are mailing a check please send the payment at least two weeks prior to your visit. If you are pre-paying in person or over the phone with a credit card, please call three days before your visit.


Can I pay with a PO?

No POs, personal checks, vouchers, small bills (exceeding $50) or coins are accepted


Do all people attending the trip need to pay for a ticket (including teachers and members)?

Yes; only group bus drivers may receive complimentary admission.


Can Membership Cards be used with a group?

We are no longer accepting membership cards in the school group line.  If a family has a membership and wants to use it on the day of the trip, they would need to enter separately from your group (through the general admission line). An adult listed on the card would have to accompany the child.  The listed adult would need to bring their card and ID in order to enter the Zoo.


Why can’t I schedule a field trip on a black-out date?

We are not able to extend the School Group rate on dates that are blacked out.  You can purchase general admission tickets for groups with 20 or more individuals for any day, including school group black-out dates.


Do you allow late arrivals?

All school groups must enter together at one time. We are not able to admit late arrival as part of a group, they must purchase a general admission ticket. Non-school groups with 20 or more individuals are able to enter separately.


Do you have a chaperone ratio?

You must have one (1) chaperone for every ten (10) children (high school and younger) in your group.  Admission will be refused if you do not have the correct number of chaperones.  Chaperones must stay with their group for the duration of their visit and monitor behavior.


Where do we drop off and park?

Bus parking and drop off is located in our 10 Mile parking lot. Please enter from Gate 1 and proceed to the left. Drop off is located on the right-hand side once you enter the 10 Mile parking lot. Cars driving separately from the group will be directed to park in the water tower lot, Woodward lot or parking structure. Parking is $8 for all vehicles driving separately from the bus.


Can we bring our own lunches?

Yes, we also have food available for purchase.

Food vouchers can be purchased at https://tickets.detroitzoo.org/mainstore.asp?vid=0


 What if I have a group with special needs?

Groups with special needs are still eligible for the $8 group rate and will not have to meet the minimum customer requirement. For further questions, please call our education hotline at (248) 541-5717 ext. 3300


Will we receive individual tickets for school group entry?

No, your invoice or pre-payment receipt is your entry ticket.


We have several classes coming from one school, should we make one or multiple reservations?

If the classes are paying, arriving and going through the entrance together one reservation is best. If classes are paying separately or not entering together, multiple reservations should be made.


Is the Polk Penguin Conservation Center temporarily closing for repairs?

Yes, from September 8, 2019, to June 2020. View our press release for more information.


Field Trip Registration Form