Friends of the Palo Alto Jr Museum and Zoo

A nonprofit organization

13 donors

Since 1962, the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo’s (Friends) mission has been to support and enhance the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) – an early education science institute that has been a valued part of Palo Alto for 80 years.

The Friends work in partnership with the Junior Museum & Zoo to provide science education at no cost for over 1,200 students annually through Science Outreach Program. Science Outreach takes place in the classroom, on-site at the Junior Museum & Zoo, and at Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

If not for the Friends’ Science Outreach Program, students at schools such as Willow Oaks Elementary would not receive any science instruction.

Science Outreach students participate in fun, hands-on science lessons and activities:

Students learn about animals, biomes and habitats, and the properties of wood. Activities include:

  • Meeting the JMZ’s animals
  • Building paper bridges to discover paper’s strength

1st Grade
Students learn about animal survival skills, air and water, and the properties of liquids and solids. Activities include:

  • Testing wind speed with an anemometer
  • Building a terrarium

2nd Grade
Students learn about insects and bees, balance and motion, and the process of fossilization. Activities include:

  • Creating a fossil cast
  • Discovering the center of gravity and creating balance toys

3rd Grade
Students learn about Baylands plants and animals, the solar system, and energy and matter. Activities include:

  • A field trip to the Baylands Nature Preserve
  • Using a telescope for daytime observations

4th Grade
Students learn about rock and mineral identification, animals, and electricity and circuits. Activities include:

  • Recording observations on carnivorous plants to determine how they capture their prey
  • Constructing and electric car in a two-part class

5th Grade
Students learn about the human body and how to use microscopes and prepare slides by observing their own hair, and cheek cells. Activities include:

  • Dissecting and examining a real cow’s eye;
  • Conducting scientific experiments by mixing different chemicals together, and observing the reaction

Here’s what Science Outreach students have to say:

“Thank you for everything I had a lot of fun and I learned things I didn’t know before.” Sherly, 3rd grade

“I got to see some science stuff, it was great!” Dennise, 4th grade

“Thank you for the field trip it was fun. I like the black widow spider and the snakes and the science part and bats. I like it a lot I wish I could go back.” Jessie, 4th grade


Organization Data


Organization name

Friends of the Palo Alto Jr Museum and Zoo

Tax id (EIN)



Education Science, Tech & Business




(650) 326-6338