Gemma Callaghan of Frodsham Primary Academy in Cheshire tells us how a visit to Chester Zoo increased children’s awareness of the human impact on the animal world.

Frodsham Primary Academy, Cheshire

Pupils enjoyed a wild day out at Chester Zoo which linked to their classroom studies.

I had been involved in working with Chester Zoo at another school within our Academy Trust so I knew first-hand the positive impact it would have on children’s engagement in conservation.

I contacted the zoo’s education team and a plan was formed to go and visit the attraction once we had taken part in some in-school workshops. Zoo rangers Mia and Mike spent three days at our school delivering workshops with our children.

Each class selected a focus animal for their in-school session and learned how the illegal wildlife trade impacts their survival. Early years children looked at birds as a whole, including the textures of feathers, different types of nests and the songs of British birds.

Years 1 and 2 pupils created bear fact files, wrote letters to the circus about the treatment of the animals and created lists of poems featuring bears, while Years 3 and 4 used their workshop as an opportunity to look at the wild birds in the local area and create bird feeders.

“Fruit bat Forest was a favourite for many children. They were fascinated as bats flew around their heads as they travelled in the dark.” 

Years 5 and 6 children had been learning about South America as a class topic so they selected an animal that was native to the continent. The jaguar was a popular choice, and the children were very excited to catch a brief glimpse of one on their visit to Chester Zoo.

After the zoo trip the children created fact files about jaguars, discovering many fascinating facts about this beautiful creature. They then went on to find out about the causes of their endangered status, and the place the jaguar has in some cultures.

Frodsham Primary Academy, Cheshire

Children wrote persuasive letters and created artwork as part of their in-school sessions.

The children watched videos about Operation Jaguar, a charity that works in several countries to protect jaguars, through community education, empowering law enforcement and the use of camera traps. The children then wrote persuasive letters to our local MP, Mike Amesbury, to inform him about the danger to jaguars and ask for his support with our project.

“An absolutely fabulous day”

When we arrived at Chester Zoo on the day of the trip, we were met by conservationist Mia. The children cheered with delight as she arrived as they knew the day would be full of excitement after spending three days with her back in school.

They were split into three year groups when we got inside and were given a tour of the site, with a specific focus on finding out more about animals who were threatened by the illegal trade.

Frodsham Primary Academy, Cheshire

The students of Frodsham Primary saw a range of animals on their school to Chester Zoo visit, including elephants.

As we toured the zoo, Mia met with each group at the education centre. It was here the children were immersed into what if felt like to be inside an Indonesian market. The children were stunned to hear so many birds singing but were also overwhelmed when they saw the conditions these birds were kept and the fate of many.

Following this, the children enjoyed a visit to Monsoon Forest to see a variety of different birds. It was lovely to see so many of them discussing their different features and linking back to the work they had completed with Mia back in school.

Fruit bat Forest was a favourite for many children. They were fascinated as bats flew around their heads as they travelled in the dark and of course, I ended up with bat poo on my coat much to the children’s amusement! The butterfly house was also enjoyed by all as the children showed their calm and careful approach to try and have a picture with a butterfly.

This has allowed for many discussions back in school about how we can encourage these beautiful insects into our school environment.

We had an absolutely fabulous day!

For information about arranging a school visit to Chester Zoo, visit which includes resources and booking details.