Living, Learning Lab

The Living, Learning Lab offers interactive, hands-on learning experiences that are curriculum centered to third-grade classrooms. A new spin on formal education, classes come to the zoo to participate in a variety of themed activities focused on Michigan GLCES, Common Core Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards including math, science, and language arts. The program runs 1 to 5 days and is taught in our classroom by the education staff at the Children’s Zoo. The classroom features state of the art technology including an interactive white board, microscopes, and Quizdom testing system. The Living, Learning Lab runs November through March, with select dates still available.

Living Learning Lab  Living Learning Lab

Currently, the only cost for the program is busing to and from the zoo! 


Please check back around late August or early September for a registration form for the 2017-2018 school year.


If you are a teacher or parent who is interested in finding out more about this program or how your student(s) can be a part of it, please contact Sierra at  or call (989) 759-1408.

Current programs:

Scavenger Hunt & Animal Journaling:  

Students complete a scavenger hunt and tour around the zoo. Later, they participate in scientific observations and create a journal about their observations and inferences. 

Parasites, Pathogens and Pills:

Students get a behind the scenes look into what keeps our animals happy and healthy! They have the opportunity to “step into the boots of a zookeeper” and complete daily keeper tasks. 

Metrics on the Menu:

Focusing primarily on what the animals at the zoo eat, students are able to tour the commissary and participate in animal diet preparation. 

Animal Adaptations:

Analyze and identify adaptations that animals have which help them to survive. Students will observe live animals and animal biofacts in their investigation. 

Enrichment Engineers:

Learn about habitat and exhibits while helping the Zoo Keepers solve poblems by putting your engineering skills to work.  Problem solving and critical thinking skills are the focus of this hands-on module.

National and State Standards by Program



Did you ever wonder who cares for all the gardens and landscaped areas in the zoo?

Volunteers do!

Currently, the Zoo has over 80 Adopt-a-Gardens and approximately 12 landscaped areas of the zoo, all maintained by dedicated volunteers. These volunteers spend hundreds of hours planting, weeding and maintaining zoo grounds. This makes the zoo a great place not only for the animals but a beautiful place for all zoo visitors, young or young at heart.


In 1998, the Adopt-a-Garden program was started under the sponsorship of the Saginaw Valley Zoological Society with eleven gardens as a way to beautify the zoo grounds. Each year the gardens continue to grow in number and beauty. The Horticulture Committee is responsible for making sure that all garden areas are maintained and assist with future landscaping developments at the zoo.

If you are interested in becoming one of the many volunteers who help maintain the zoo grounds, here is some information that may be helpful.

Garden VolunteersAdopt A Garden Volunteer

Garden volunteers assist with general garden area maintenance. Approximately 12 areas have been identified as needing monthly care. This may include weeding general garden beds and pruning back shrubs.

Garden volunteer work days are scheduled throughout the season. If a volunteer has been oriented by a member of the Horticulture Committee to the gardens, they may come anytime the zoo is open to assist with routine garden maintenance care.

Flower SilhouetteAdopt-A-Garden

Adopt-A-Gardens are assigned each year when space permits, with returning gardeners given first preference of any new available bed. Gardeners are responsible for providing their own plant material and are expected to maintain the garden for entire zoo season.

An Adopt-A-Garden requires a weekly commitment to weed, water, fertilize and trim plants to keep the garden looking presentable at all times. Neglected sites give guests at the zoo the impression that the rest of the zoo is not well maintained. The zoo has advised the Horticulture Committee that gardens that appear untended be re-assigned.

Gardeners are responsible for assisting with the fall clean-up of the gardens at the end of the season.

Flower SilhouetteAdditional Information

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the zoo at (989) 759-1408 or email Thank you for considering volunteering at the Children’s Zoo. We look forward to working with you!

Adopt A Garden

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Nymphicus hollandicusGrey Cockatiel


  • Cacatuidae


  • 16-25 years


  • Height: 12-14 inches head to tail
  • Weight: 88-178 grams


  • Australia


  • Arid or semi-arid regions with plenty of cover such as trees
  • Always near a water source


  • Wild
    • Seeds, grains, and insect
  • Zoo
    • Cockatiel seed mixture, Mazuri brand Small Bird diet, and diced produce

ReproductionCockatiel Flock

  • Males: whistle and call frequently, brighter coloring, with no barring on tail feathers after the first molt
  • Females: generally quiet, lighter coloring, and bars on tail feathers remaining after the first molt
  • Cockatiels reach sexual maturity at 12-24 months
  • 5-10 eggs are laid and incubated for 17-24 days
  • Cockatiels often mate for life


  • Cockatiels are nomadic and will move from place to place as food and water sources become more or less prevalent
  • Cockatiels are social birds and are often seen in paired, in flocks of up to 100 individuals
  • Cockatiels are members of the parrot family and can mimic human speech, but do much better imitating sounds like bells and whistles
  • The cockatiel is the smallest, and one of the most widely spread species in the cockatoo family
  • Just like humans, cockatiels are the only living species in their genus

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed


**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.