Bringing the Zoo to You

Beavers Filbert and Maple in their lodge

Bring your virtual classroom to life with animals from the Oregon Zoo! Videos aligned to different subject content areas are listed below. We also post new videos regularly on our social media channels, and a few times a week we go behind-the-scenes for a live interview with animal-care staff. Each live video is accompanied by a kid-approved activity related to the featured animal

Language Arts

Even Molalla the river otter has to go to school! Join him in his swim studies.

Molalla the Baby River Otter Learns to Swim

Activity: Learning new skills can be fun and rewarding. Write a short story about a time when you learned something new. What skill did you learn? What strategies did you use to learn it? Did a parent, friend or teacher help you? How did it make you feel when you mastered the new skill?

Physical Education

Walk Like an Animal

Meet Nolina and learn how a porcupine at the Oregon Zoo stays sharp. 

Porcupine Stays Sharp with Daily Workouts

Activity: Use your imagination to come up with different types of animal walks! Run as fast as a cheetah, waddle like a penguin, walk like a bear or pretend to swim through the ocean like a sea otter.

Basketball Buddies

Can you out-dunk our sea otter Juno? 

Rescued Sea Otter Juno Slam Dunks

Activity: Place several buckets in different locations around your living room. Crumple up some paper to make a basketball. Set a timer and shoot the ball into as many baskets as possible. How many baskets can you make in a minute?

Animal Yoga

Check out our baby flamingos as they strengthen their muscles and stretch their wings

Fluffy baby flamingo chicks on the move

Activity: You can do a flamingo dance too. Create your own dance routine or yoga session with some of these behaviors or add some of your own. Here are just few flamingo moves to try your "wing" at:

  • The Head Flag: Point your bill (mouth) up and stretch your neck up as high as possible, then turn your head one way and then the other to a beat.
  • The Wing Salute: Spread your wings for a few seconds and show off those colors, stick your tail and neck out at the same time.
  • The Inverted Wing Salute: Put your head down, tail up, and hold your wings half open above your back.
  • The Twist Preen: Quickly twist and tilt your head to preen your wings, then turn back.
  • The Wing Leg Stretch: Stretch a leg and wing on the same side of your body out and back.


Animal Habitats

Meet branch manager Filbert the beaver as he gathers sticks to build his home 

Branch Manager Filbert the Beaver

Go on a virtual hike with Metro naturalist James Davis to find evidence of beaver at Smith and Bybee wetlands

A beaver's home is called a lodge. Lodges are little dome-shaped houses made from woven sticks, grasses and moss plastered with mud. A beaver uses its tail for support while their powerful teeth cut down the wood used to build its home.

Activity: Can you build a beaver lodge? Collect twigs, leaves and moss from outside. Weave them together and pack it with mud to create a well-insulated home for a beaver.

Life Cycles

Metamorphosis Madness

Watch a beautiful Checkerspot butterfly transform right in front of your eyes

Checkerspot eclosion timelapse


Although all animals have in common a life cycle made up of four basic stages (birth, growth, reproduction and death), each animal's life cycle is uniquely its own. Some animals hatch from an egg while others are born live. Some will look like their parents, others will not. Some will receive full parental care, some partial parental care and some no parental care. Some animals, like the Checkerspot butterfly, undergo metamorphosis and completely change their form.

Activity: Make a poster that illustrates each stage of a butterfly's life cycle. How is your life cycle the same or different from a butterfly?


Elephant Rescue

Learn how Chendra the Borneo elephant came to live at the Oregon Zoo

Chendra the Borneo elephant

Wild Asian elephants live in some of the most densely human-populated regions of the world. They also require large areas of habitat and lots of food, which puts them in frequent and sometimes deadly conflict with people. Logging, development and agriculture to produce crops such as oil palms have drastically reduced elephant habitat throughout Asia. Poaching for ivory, meat and other products also takes a significant toll on elephant populations. In 2012, more than 35,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks.

Activity: Create a poster that will help persuade people to protect endangered elephants. Posters can include information about what people can do to help, as well as facts about elephants.

Planting Trees for Elephants

Discover how you can help protect wildlife impacted by palm oil plantations

Planting Trees for Elephants

Palm oil is a vegetable oil widely used in a variety of products including processed foods, cleaners and health and beauty products. When produced unsustainably, the production of palm oil destroys tropical habitats and displaces the animals that depend on them.

Activity: Write a thank you note to a company that is taking steps to ensure palm oil production doesn't lead to more deforestation.

Illegal wildlife trade

Discover how illegal wildlife trade brought Radiated tortoises to the Oregon Zoo 

Radiated Tortoise Rescue

Illegal wildlife trade, a billion dollar industry, is second only to habitat destruction as a major cause of species extinction. Animals captured and sold alive fuel the exotic pet trade. Animals that are killed are turned into consumer products, sold as souvenirs, or become ingredients in traditional medicine. The business of wildlife trade is also linked to major health issues like the current coronavirus pandemic.

Activity: Radiated tortoises are just one of the many animals impacted by illegal wildlife trade. Elephant, rhino and tiger populations are also declining at an alarming rate. If these animals could talk, what might they say to persuade you to help protect them? Write a paragraph in the voice of one of these animals.