Educational Programmes

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Educational Programmes

Welcome to Al Ain Zoo! In Touch with Nature! In this guide we will introduce you to the educational programmes offered at both the Zoo and the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre. Our programs are compatible with various educational curricula used in the United Arab Emirates. Our goal is to target multiple age groups and in both English and Arabic languages. Our primary goal is to encourage the pursuit of lifelong education, where our school programmes team works hard to ensure the quality of the educational programmes offered, and to ensure your trip to our Zoo is enjoyable and includes different interactive and hands-on experiences.


School programmes Discover a new way to learn! Plan a unique learning experience for students, where the opportunities are various and available for them to gain information through variety of innovative and interesting learning methods, away from the traditional school environment. Our educational programmes, which are designed to support the learning outcomes of the curriculum and the different age groups, contribute to the enrichment of scientific awareness / knowledge of the student.

Educational Programmes at Al Ain Zoo


Al Ain Zoo Al Ain Zoo was founded in 1968 by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, inspired by his love for wildlife and his great interest in the conservation of nature throughout his life. His establishment of the zoo symbolizes his vision of creating safe habitats for the animals to live in absolute freedom. Since its launching, Al Ain Zoo has played an active role in preserving endangered species. One of his notable successes was in the breeding of desert gazelle and antelope species, such as the endangered Arabian Oryx.


Adaptations Animals come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. These differences make each species or individual member of a species specially adapted for success in a different habitat or place within the habitat. Students will learn how different animals have developed structural and behavioural adaptations to survive.



Animal Dentist

Plants and animals are specially adapted to survive in a particular habitat. Students will learn what a habitat is and will also learn to identify specific types of habitats and their related characteristics.

Discuss the different food groups and understand the words herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. Student will be introduced to the skull of the lion, cheetah, zebra and human.

Pet & Zoo Animals

Body Coverings

During this programme, students will learn more about the difference between pet and zoo animals, through animal encounters.

Different kinds of animals have different body coverings. Students will investigate and make observations using their sense of touch. Students will be able to identify the different body coverings animals have and be able to identify examples of animals with each different body covering.

Habitats Plants and animals are specially adapted to survive in a particular habitat. Students will learn what a habitat is and will also learn to identify specific types of habitats and their related characteristics. They will learn to recognize different plants and animals as being indigenous to specific habitats.

Animal & Plant Life Cycles Classification A life cycle is a defined sequence of changes from birth to maturity to death of a living organism. During an animal’s life cycle and plant’s life cycle it goes through a series of orderly and identifiable changes. Students will define what a life cycle is and compare different types of life cycles.

Our world is made up of living and non-living things. Living things have characteristics that non-living things do not have. Students will observe living and non-living things and articulate ideas about what characteristics they have and they will recognize that living things grow, reproduce, and need food, air, and water.

Living & Non-living

Animal Dentist

Our world is made up of living and non-living things. Living things have characteristics that non-living things do not have. Students will observe living and non-living things and articulate ideas about what characteristics they have.

Discuss the different food groups and understand the words herbivore, carnivore and omnivore. Students will be introduced to the skull of the lion, cheetah, zebra and human.


Old Zoo, New Zoo From the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, zoos have evolved from menagerie type collections into conservation centres. Students will learn that when designing an enclosure it is important to design it in a way that guarantees safety and comfort for animals, staff and visitors. Also, they will enhance their knowledge about how environmental enrichment makes the lives of the animals in the zoo more active and interesting.

Biodiversity Biodiversity is the foundation of healthy, functioning ecosystems upon which all life depends. Students will learn how biodiversity is defined, why it is important, and how it is impacted by human behaviour.

Animal Senses

Zoos & Conservation

The five senses help us interpret the world around us. They allow us and animals to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell and transfer the meanings of those senses to the brain, which allows us to react to stimuli. Students will learn how animals use their senses to survive.

Zoos play an important role in the worldwide effort to conserve nature. Students will understand that zoos are more than just ‘animal exhibits’ - they will learn that endangered species can be found in every plant and animal group on the planet and in every ecosystem throughout the world.



Educational Programs at Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre

Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre (SZDLC) This new and unique building is one of the most important developments in the field of education, not only in the UAE but also in the Middle East region. Students can explore interactive and immersive exhibits, and enjoy multimedia experiences that were created especially for us, drawing on the latest research from experts and worldclass specialists in their fields. The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre is the first building in the United Arab Emirates to achieve a maximum rating of five pearls in the ‘Estidama’ sustainability system. We also demonstrated our application of the most demanding sustainability standards set by the Abu Dhabi Council for Planning in gaining a Platinum LEED certification. SZDLC programmes focus on sharing the insights of the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Where the story of the UAE desert is told in an interactive and integrated manner, including explorations into archaeology and sustainability. This takes us on an insightful and fun journey through the past, present and future of the UAE. This story is presented via various exhibitions and educational programmes.


Fossils Fossils provide a valuable record of the plant and animal life and environmental conditions from millions, even billions of years ago, Fossils have an important role in understanding the deep history of the region. Students will recognize the differences between archaeologist and paleontologist and the different steps of how fossils are made and learn what scientists can learn from them.


Food Chains

Rocks provide us with many benefits, but the characteristics of these rocks must be taken into consideration to determine the most suitable for their purpose. Students will learn about the three different kinds of rocks and the rock life cycle.

Many plants and animals live in the Abu Dhabi desert and they have special adaptations to help them to survive in this harsh environment. Students will learn about food chains and how living things rely on each other for food and how energy is moved from one living thing to another.

Falaj System Water is vital for life. In this activity students will learn how people used to survive in the harsh desert environment. You will see the amazing structures people built to make life easier.


Who am I? This activity has 3 parts, in the beginning students will explore SZDLC galleries to find what kind of animals are in the Abu Dhabi desert, mountain and coast. During the second part we will introduce some of these animals in more detail. Finally we will sort these animals according to their conservation status.

Flora & Fauna of the Desert Abu Dhabi Emirate is famous for the various types of environment such as mountains, cave, desert and coast and each has a different biological diversity. Students will learn about classification and the different animals and plants that live in each environment.

Hot Hands The students will do an experiment that leads them to recognize heat & temperature concepts and what are the everyday expressions to describe them.

Carbon Footprint In this activity students will learn a new concept linked to the phenomenon of global warming, they will calculate the carbon footprint of the members of his/her family, then classify their families as green or nongreen. Finally they will propose ways of reducing their carbon footprint in everyday life.

Formation of Our Desert

The Greenhouse Effect

In this activity students will learn about the role of erosion, weathering & deposition in changing the earth’s surface through seven different questions, based on what they discover in our Abu Dhabi Over Time gallery.

Student will learn about the positive side of this phenomenon, how it works on heating the Earth and the rest of the planets in the solar system, how humans benefited from this phenomenon in agriculture, and more.

Adaptation of Desert Plant & Animals Cells

Sand Dunes

In this activity students will look closely at the components of plant and animal cells, learn the functions of these components, then compare between both cells. Using microscopes they will compare desert plant cells with tropical plant cells. Finally, we’ll do an experiment to compare the advantage of having cell walls or cell membranes and how it helps desert plants to withstand arid conditions.


Weathering and erosion play an important role in shaping the surface of the earth. Students will learn about the types of sand dunes and the factors that affect shaping sand dunes and the different type of soils.

Fire and Pickup A fun activity to learn the principles of projectile in physics, then we will discuss the sustainable hunting our ancestors used to practice, how it turned unsustainable and how it caused problems in the ecological balance of the Arabian desert. We’ll discuss what efforts are being made to prevent or control these practices.

Racing Time A fun activity where students race toy cars and discover the principle of motion in a straight line. The speed of the vehicle is then calculated by speed law. The students then propose how to improve the performance of their cars, and finally we turn to the comparison between oil, electricity and gas powered cars.

Global Warming


One of the most important problems facing the world today is global warming. Students will learn about global warming and discuss the causes and the risks. Also, they will learn some steps that they can do to decrease the impact on their environment.

Every country is proud of its history, and this history is a source of inspiration for the strength and heritage of peoples. Today, the monuments have a great role in enriching tourism in the world.


Educational Safari Tours


Educational Safari Tours Take a ride together on our fun Adventure Truck and learn about the fascinating ecosystem that makes up the Al Ain Safari. For 30 minutes you will be completely immersed in a world inhabited by African animals, such as the towering giraffe, dazzling zebra, majestic sable and the enormous rhino. These and many more special creatures together occupy a unique habitat that will captivate your sense and take you on a rewarding journey of wild discovery and learning. Please note that students should be older than five years and must be accompanied by their teachers and one of our highly knowledgeable and experienced Safari Guides. For inquires please contact us on Tel: 037992444 Email: Website:


Heritage Programmes


Heritage Programmes The heritage of the United Arab Emirates is characterized by original and ancient features that combine the traditions of the past with the future civilization. Today also at Al Ain Zoo we combine the authenticity of heritage with the future civilization to present it to the visitor through a range of heritage programmes and activities. Combining different old flavours in modern ways with an interactive tools and methods, the participant moves from the authentic past to the traditions and values of local people to harness our heritage in a sustainable way for the future generations.


Heritage Programmes Let’s Play Traditional Games Traditional games help in transferring customs, traditions and knowledge naturally and in a fun way from one generation to another. They are related to movement, rhythms and songs. In this programme participants will learn about the different types of UAE traditional games and the materials used in each one and try one of them for themselves.

Camel Dressing In this activity participants will discover the UAE Heritage and its related values. They will have a close examination of the different pieces of camel equipment used in the past to control these animals and the importance of camels to Arabs.

Date Palm

Coffee Making

In this programme participants will learn about the different types of date palms in the UAE , and how people have traditionally looked after these important and symbolic trees. Find out about the many (sometimes surprising!) products made from date palms.

Arabic coffee is much more than a hot drink, it’s an art, a lifestyle and a journey into history. This programme aims to educate participants about the importance of coffee as a symbol of authentic Arabic hospitality. They will learn about the different types of coffee and the many tools used in making coffee.


Story Telling Stories were prevalent in a time when modern schools or modern printing methods were not available, and people sat in their spare time in groups listening to stories that helped create a sense of pleasure and entertainment, and stirred the listeners’ imagination.

Grandma’s Box In this programme participants will learn about traditional clothing in UAE culture. They will learn about how sustainable our ancestors used to be in their daily lives.

Heritage Activities

Alhairat - Pearl Fishing The lulu (locally qamashah), or pearl oyster was a source of wealth in the Emirates long before the discovery of oil. Students will distinguish natural pearl characteristics by matching between the correct pearls which are available to them, and the information given. The last phase of the activity is open oysters to get the Pearl (Al-Dana).

Traditional Dolls

Pottery Painting

Making the traditional dolls by using simple traditional fabric, with cotton, and then select the appropriate traditional clothing (using lace and turban, white cloth for mens jacket etc.), and finally end up with a small doll with special characteristics.

Pottery making is one of the oldest recorded handicrafts in the UAE. We won’t be making the pots, just painting them, but we will be finding out more about how they were (and still are) made in the traditional way.

Storing Dates Wheat and dates grown in the oases formed the staples of the Bedouin diet. Dates keep well and can be eaten fresh and dried and they have excellent nutritional values. For us, the date harvest season is an annual phenomenon which all members of the family take part in. Come share this treasure of nature with us!

Spinning One of the UAE’s best-known traditional crafts - in the past ladies made the most beautiful yarns to use in their daily lives. In this activity students will learn all about spinning and the traditional equipment used for it.

Dyeing Clothes In this activity participants will learn about the traditional ways of dyeing clothes.


Henna In this activity students will be introduced to the importance of Henna and its medicinal and cosmetic uses. They will learn how to make it and will see some traditional and modern henna designs.

Al Ain Zoo Outreach Programmes Through offering awareness programmes, the zoo provides distinctive learning opportunities related to the environment and wildlife. We always remember that a zoo visit should be fun too and we ensure that all students are engaged in a memorable way. We offer a range of recreational and educational activities to learn about animal care programmes, conservation and sustainability initiatives in your schools.


Join Al Ain Zoo’s Educational Camps Al Ain Zoo offers a unique and exciting chance for children to learn about how to preserve the environment, wildlife and nature via our innovative winter, summer and spring camp programmes offered during school holidays. Camp activities include learning how to handle reptiles, feeding the giraffes, artistic craft activities, gardening, recycling, as well as team-building games. Our camps will also provide an opportunity for children to interact with our animal keepers and learn from their experiences. We also do the rounds in the back of house areas, to get to know more about the conservation and care of our animals. Our camps feature a new look every season. For inquires please contact us on Tel: 037992444 Email: Website: