EdZoocate Education Program
ZooMontana’s education program, EdZoocate, reaches over 15,000 students annually through on and off grounds programming. EdZoocate transports the classroom curricula of local schools outdoors to the surrounding natural environment and/or transports the Zoo into the classroom. The goal of the program is to promote environmental stewardship by providing an appreciation and hands-on understanding of the local ecosystem and the role of humans in it. As elsewhere, area youth in south-central Montana appear limited in environmental knowledge, thus EdZoocate seeks to improve the human-nature connection by developing learning opportunities that spark children’s interests while simultaneously improving their science literacy. Over the past five years, ZooMontana has developed a multitude of new programming including on and off-site programming. The program's latest offering, Animals in Native American Culture, focuses on teaching the importance of animals within the Native American Culture. This program is a unique partnership between ZooMontana and the Indian Education Department of the Billings school district. ZooMontana is also home to the ZooSchool Preschool, a full-service kindergarten prep preschool for 3, 4 and 5-year-old children.
ZooMontana is host to numerous special events throughout the year including The Montana Renaissance Festival (Montana’s largest), ZooLights (the areas only drive through light display), Boo at the Zoo (Daytime Halloween event for safe trick or treating), and EggStravaganZOO (an Easter themed day), among many others. ZooMontana has also become a gathering place for outdoor concerts and other non-profit organizations that hold runs/walks, picnics etc. The Zoo is also the location for numerous weddings and corporate picnics. Built in 2016, the Zoo’s new 5000 SF EEC ZooPavilion caters well to the numerous events being help on grounds.
Botanical Gardens and Arboretum
ZooMontana houses an extensive collection of botanical specimens from around the world. Cared for by the ZooMontana Botanical Society, ZooMontana’s gardens are a growing asset. ZooMontana highlights the importance of trees and plants both on grounds and through an interactive website, assessing the value each tree on grounds. Several active bee hives call the Zoo home, helping to pollinate the Zoo's extensive grounds. The Zoo is also host to a Plant Select Garden. Plant Select is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and professional horticulturists with a mission to seek out and distribute the very best plants for landscapes and gardens from the intermountain region to the high plains and beyond.
Science and Conservation Center
Housed at ZooMontana, the Science and Conservation Center (SCC) is separate non-profit scientific organization funded by research, grants and philanthropy. Focusing on managing certain wildlife populations with fertility control rather than traditional lethal controls, the SCC produces a federally approved contraceptive vaccine for wildlife, trains personnel from all over the world to use it properly and conducts research to improve its application to wildlife. An organization such as SCC is unusual among small zoos which cannot usually afford such conservation and scientific amenities.