The Minnesota Zoo has partnered with Flint Hills Resources to provide 2,000 Dakota County third grade students with hands-on learning opportunities at the zoo. STEM learning outside the classroom brings science to life, engages students in new and creative ways, and fulfills curriculum requirements. During Zoo Safari field trips, the meandering pathways of the Zoo are filled with eager faces, as students get up-close and personal with zoo residents. District 196 students experience hands-on animal encounters from a friendly hedgehog or curious armadillo. They learn about animal habitats, food habits, and environmental impacts as zoo naturalists help students learn beyond textbooks. Studies show that hands-on STEM learning can help develop problem solving skills and understanding of the natural world.