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May 2013
Contents / home
Disease research in cheetahs
Top awards for NZG research
Ragged-tooth shark released
Holiday fun at the zoo
Knysna seahorse pampering
Emma the lioness
11th ICEE comes to Africa
Exhibit draws large crowds
Scifest Africa 2013
A kiss from a seal
Farm programme fascinates
Rhino poaching update
Conservation Grapevine

Holiday fun at the zoo - enrol the kids now!

  On the holiday courses children get to explore the Zoo, observing the wildlife and learning new facts about fauna and flora.
  Learning more about Africa's mammals.
  Finding out why desert animals have pale skin colours.
  Observing a tortoise up close.
  Young learners enjoy a game of snakes and ladders.
  Measuring the wing span of a Black-shouldered kite.
With the June-July 2013 school holidays around the corner, it is time to sign up the kids for the exciting youth courses on offer at the National Zoo.

In the safe environment of the Zoo, your children can continue to learn outside the classroom about wildlife in a big city setting filled with wild animals.

There are nine courses to choose from, which run from 08:00-16:00. The courses offer a fun-filled day of learning and participating in different hands-on activities. Each learner leaves the Zoo with a folder filled with the worksheet activities they completed, their arts and crafts and an attendance certificate.

There is no limit to how many courses your child may sign up for, so enrol them now for some learning fun!

Junior Nature Conservator (Grades 7-12)
This five-day course provides a range of exciting opportunities for aspiring young nature conservators around the Zoo, including an opportunity to work with the animals in the Zoo's Farmyard. Throughout this course they will be on an adventure exploring the flora and fauna of South Africa within the Zoo grounds. Once the learners have completed the course, they will receive a Junior Nature Conservator T-shirt and a certificate. They will then be allowed to join the NZG's ZooClub. The aim of the ZooClub is to involve, empower and encourage the youth to follow a career in the natural sciences through exciting science activities like science expos and field trips.
Fee: R250 per learner
English: 24-28 June; 1-5 July; 8-12 July

Bringing Knowledge to Life (Grades 10-12)
In this exciting three-day course, learners will participate in exciting hands-on science activities in order to improve their performance and skills in Life Science. A variety of Life Science disciplines such as conservation, veterinary science, biotechnology and agriculture will be presented. Special emphasis will be placed on career guidance as well as enrichment activities.
Fee: R200 per learner
English: 2-4 July

The World of Reptiles (Grades 4-7)
During this course, the children will learn about the different groups of reptiles and fascinating facts about them. They will find out more about snake behaviour, adaptations and myths of various reptiles during a demonstration of live snakes. The day's activities include matching the correct reptiles under each category of reptiles and a tour of the Reptile Park. Here they will observe the movement patterns of different reptiles. An interactive "snake" game will be played, during which they will learn about reptiles' prey and predators. The day will end with an art session.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 8 July
English: 4 July

Scavenger Hunt (Grades 4-7)
During this course the learners explore, investigate and collect information about different species of animals housed in the Zoo. They will learn about different predators and the differences between them. Map and orientation skills will also be taught during this course while the children are exploring the Zoo. The feeding habits and general behaviour of the animals will be explained. Towards the end of the day they will take part in a treasure hunt in a specified section of the Zoo and will hunt for clues and facts about animals. The day's activities include making animal face masks, completing a crossword puzzle, completing a worksheet on 'Guess What Animal I Am?' and taking part in an activity where they use their senses while exploring the Zoo.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 11 July
English: 28 June

Meet the Birds (Grades R-3)
During this course, children learn about the characteristics of birds, focusing mainly on their external features. They learn to classify birds by looking at their bills, feet and feathers while participating in various activities at the bird enclosures. They explore the Zoo to look at different birds' nests and collect material to make their own example of a bird nest. Eggs are provided for the children to paint and camouflage - to add to their nest which they can take home. By the end of the day, participants will be able to identify 20 different bird species and will also make a bird feeder filled with seed to take home to attract birds to their own garden.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 24 June; 9 July
English: 5 July

An Introduction to Bird Identification (Grades 4-7)
The course is aimed at introducing learners to a fascinating pastime - bird watching. They will learn the basics through practical activities and multi-media programmes. They will also learn more about the habitats, adaptations and role of birds in the environment. At the end of the day they should be able to identify a number of different birds. Learners are encouraged to bring their own binoculars, if possible.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 3 July
English: 26 June

Meet the Mammals (Grades R-3)
During this course, the children explore the Zoo - learning about different mammals, what the differences are between mammals and reptiles and the different characteristics of each. They learn about the feeding habits of mammals and the features that make each mammal unique. This is a practical course towards understanding the adaptations of mammals. Children will learn about different skin coverings by feeling different examples of skins and furs. They will also learn more about the habitats of mammals. They will build puzzles of mammals and select a mammal picture to colour in. By the end of the day they would have completed various activity worksheets and would have made their own animal masks while listening to 'Legends of Africa' stories about mammals.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 1 July
English: 9 July

Amazing Reptiles (Grades R-3)
During this course, the youngsters are introduced to various species of reptiles, especially those housed at the Zoo's Reptile Park. The different characteristics of reptiles and their adaptations are explored and lessons taught on how to identify different reptiles. Learners will build reptile puzzles, observe the life of a tortoise up close, feel different textures of reptile skins and go behind the scenes to see the Reptile Park's kitchen and observe the preparations of the reptiles' meals. The day will end with 'Legends of Africa' storytelling while the learners play a game of snakes and ladders.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 27 June; 12 July
English: 10 July

Monkey Tricks (Grades R-3)
During this course, children learn about primates and how to identify them. The communication methods and body language of primates are examined and explained at the different primate habitats. Learners observe what the different primates eat and the enrichment programmes they participate in. The course includes activities such as drawing an enclosure design to suit the primates' lifestyle, as well as making your own monkey to take home.
Fee: R100 per learner
Afrikaans: 2 July
English: 25 June

All courses start promptly at 08:00 and end at 16:00 unless otherwise indicated. Children should please bring their own lunch or make use of the National Zoo's restaurant facilities.

Bookings are essential:
Tel: 012 339 2773, Fax: 012 321 2484
Email: or

Download and complete the registration form in Adobe PDF or MSWord format.

By Elize de Jager, Curriculum Developer & Head: Life Science Centre, NZG

Zoo and Aquarium Visitor