Dallas

Preschool Classes Held Every Day at Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is one of only a few zoos in the country to offer preschool classes

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It's no secret some of the best learning takes place outside of the classroom.

We can all remember a field trip where we learned something so cool we just never forgot it. If only class were there every day. Well, for some students it is, at the Dallas Zoo.

"As soon as I heard about it I was like, 'That is what I want to do, and I want to be a part of that,'" said teacher Anna Lewis.

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Lewis said the Dallas Zoo's preschool is a place where young minds come to play, explore and learn.

Besides the exhibits, the teachers are working on counting and letters, making sure their 3- and 4-year-old students get to kindergarten prepared.

"They are picking up so much and they are so absorbing and observant that everything around them is helping them learn," said Marti Copeland, director of education.

Dallas is just one of a handful of zoos around the country to offer a preschool. Copeland said she found the right mix of educators who love the zoo and employees who love kids.

The students love both groups.

"They know the zoo helpers, and that's what they call them. They know their names and the animal names too," Copeland said.

Just ask Sage, who took me to meet the goats. Not only did she have her favorite, but gave me rules to follow around them.

The school is new, but parents are raving about the impact its having on their kids.

"She talks about baby gorillas and how they ride on their mommy's backs," said Lora Baumhardt.

Zoo school is open to everyone, but it's especially popular with employees who know the benefits of learning here.

"Kids that are sitting in a classroom tracing letters and numbers has its benefits, but they're not getting to touch leaves and learn about snails and how animals hear and body functions," Baumhardt said.

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