Discovery Zoo

They are adorable, furry, feathered, and sometimes even scaly, but most visitors agree – the residents of the Discovery Zoo are a must-see on every trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Managed by the Live Animals Department, the Discovery Zoo consists of over one hundred animals and insects, ranging from entertaining river otters and engaging prehensile-tailed porcupines, to the ever-popular meerkats.

Live Animals

Though the Discovery Zoo houses myriad Animal Ambassadors, some of the wet and wild animals can also be found in the Discovery Zoo Vet Hospital, Bieser Edcuation Center and the Tidal Pool. The Discovery Zoo Vet Hospital is home to some of the “creepiest” critters which are often misunderstood because of their "scary" appearance, while the Tidal Pool is home to crustaceans and other creatures that inhabit the shore. So whether you stop by the Bieser Discovery Center to hang out with Rajeev, the Museum’s 16-foot-long Burmese python, or take a trip to the Tidal Pool to discover an indoor shoreline, there are live animal experiences to be found around every corner of the Boonshoft Museum.

Featured Animal of the Month


Our Featured Animal of the Month is Splasher, on of our American river otters! A favorite for many visitors, the rambunctious brothers are known for their active play -- and their ability to nap at the drop of a hat. You can see them in the Discovery Zoo every day, but don't miss the afternoon keeper talk by their enclosure to learn more about them from one of our zookeepers as they receive their afternoon snack.

Celebrate this amazing animal by selecting an item from our Live Animal Amazon Wish List.

Support the Discovery Zoo! Adopt an Animal Today

Support the Discovery Zoo by adopting one of your favorite zoo residents for the coming year! Show your love for the animals, knowing that your support will provide the care and enrichment needed to keep them safe, happy, and healthy.

With options for both children and grown-ups, that include add-on programs such as a Behind-the-Scenes Tour and a Junior Zookeeper experience, you will know that your support for the animals in the zoo is helping us provide for the animals in our care.

The Behind the Scenes Zoo Tour offers an after-hours look at how we manage animal care, and includes multiple opportunities to interact with the animals in the Discovery Zoo.

Junior Zookeeper participants spend two (2) hours on a Saturday morning with the animals and one of our zookeepers, learning about what goes into the care of our Discovery Zoo residents. This unique program includes hands-on interaction with our furry, feathered and scaly zoo crew, as well as the chance to make an enrichment item for the animals.

Learn more about the Adopt an Animal program and these exclusive experiences.

Zoo on the Move... Animals Alive!

Let us bring our Education animals to you, so students can get up close and personal at your school or community gathering. Learn about the behaviors and habitats of some of our adorable, cuddley, creepy, and crawly animals. Programs are conservation-based, and explain how important each of these creatures is to the environment. 

Daytime: $155 per program; $145 for each additional progam

Preschool & Pre-K Groups: Programs are 45 minutes, with a maximum of 30 students per program.
All Other Groups: Programs are 60 minutes, with a maximum of 50 participants.

Interested in bringing our Animal Ambassadors to a community event or festival?  A two hour session that can accommodate walk-by participants is available for $200.

Because of a generous grant from the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, A KeyBank Trust, the Boonshoft Museum also offers free live animal programs to qualifying schools in Montgomery and Clark County.

For more information about Animals Alive, the qualifications for funded programs, or to book a program, please email or call 937.275.7431, ext. 116.


Does the Museum accept injured and orphaned wild animals?

Unfortunately rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife is not a service we are able to provide. We do not have the necessary staff, resources or space needed to provide rehabilitation. Feel free to call us though and we can direct you to the nearest wildlife rehabilitator

Does the Museum’s live animal department accept pets into the collection?

We receive many calls throughout the year from folks who are looking for a new home for a pet that they can no longer care for. Unfortunately we usually cannot accept these animals for a variety of reasons. We may be able to help you find an agency that can help with unwanted pets though.

How can I help the animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery?

Teens over 14 years of age and adults who are willing to make a minimum commitment of six months after completing our specialized training program are welcome to apply for volunteer positions. In addition, an animal Wish List can be found below. Donations are always welcome.

How can I become a zookeeper?

School is where it all starts. Almost all zoos require college degrees for entry level animal care positions and we are no exception. Our advice is to volunteer as a teenager at a zoo or museum and to pursue a college degree in biology, zoology or a similar degree.

How many animals does the museum have?

It varies year to year, but we generally have just over one hundred animals. This includes not only the mammals, birds and reptiles, but also all the fish and invertebrates.

What does it mean to be AZA accredited?

AZA stands for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The AZA strives to promote the highest possible standards in all areas of the zoological profession. To become an accredited member of AZA requires a very detailed application and inspection process that looks at all aspects of your institution including animal care, education, staff professionalism, veterinary care and much more. There are currently about 200 AZA accredited institutions.

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