Educating millions: How the Philadelphia Zoo teaches through animals

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- "I've actually been coming here since I was born," said Dani Hogan. "It was one of the few places that my family could afford to bring us all the time."

Now, Hogan is the Manager of Education Programs with the Philadelphia Zoo. She is able to give children an even greater opportunity to learn through animals.

Considered the region's largest living classroom, the Zoo has included nearly 4 million students in its educational endeavors both on and offsite. Notably, the Zoo has invited more than 1 million underserved students to the zoo for free, thanks to its Community Access Program.

They also proudly partner with the Morton McMichael Elementary School, seated just behind the Zoo in West Philadelphia. With the help of animals, the Zoo is integrated into the science curriculum.

The Philadelphia Zoo has also included 55,000 students in its award-winning UNLESS Contest, which challenges kids to hypothesize a conservation project for endangered wildlife.

Even through the pandemic, the Zoo has offered virtual programming at the ready for teachers to use in their classrooms.

"My goal is to help as many kids have that experience as possible," said Hogan. "Because I know that it changed my life. And I know that there are other people out there that it can change theirs, too."

Join the Philadelphia Zoo, in partnership with 6abc, for the inaugural Zoo-a-thon on Thursday, November 19. Learn how you can help by clicking here.

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