Instrument Petting Zoo

Interested in requesting the Instrument Petting Zoo? Here is everything you need to know!

Zoo visits are filled in the order requested using the forms below, with no request considered less than 90 days prior to the Zoo date. 5th Grade classrooms receive booking priority as they will soon have the option to choose a band or orchestra instrument in middle school. Program prices vary according to the scope of your group’s needs, duration, and location.

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra reserves the right to decline a visit request for any reason. 

Classroom Zoo

How A Classroom Visit Works:


A classroom of students (no more than 25) will be divided by the teacher into 5 groups by color. Students are to sit in front of the station which corresponds to their color.

  • First table—Strings (Blue #1)
  • Second table—Woodwinds (Red #2)
  • Third table—Percussion (Green #3)
  • Fourth table—Brass (Yellow #4)
  • Fifth table—Activities (Black #5)


OPO volunteers or musicians will give a general introduction (5 Minutes) to the entire class about safety, etiquette, how to rotate from station to station, an overview of the instrument families and play a few notes to familiarize students with instrument sounds.

Instrument Stations

Each group will rotate to five stations set up around the room. Four stations, made up of each instrument family, will have instruments that the students may hold and play with the assistance of the OPO volunteer or musician. The 5th station will have a different activity to alleviate over-crowdedness at other stations and provide an additional learning experience. Students will be given a bookmark in which they can check off which instruments are a best fit for them based on the ease in which they were able to create a sound.


If total class time is 30 minutes, students will have 4-5 minutes at each of the five stations. If total class time is 40-45 minutes, students will have approximately 6-7 minutes at each of the five stations. With larger classes, the longer zoo is beneficial, but in general, thirty minutes is sufficient. A timer or “signal” instrument will be used to help with the rotation. Once the timer goes off, students are to move to the next station.


We recognize that the needs of each school or organization are different.  Please let us know if you would like for us to examine specific adaptations to our standard operating procedures to better meet your needs and we will do our best to accommodate.

The school will need to provide…

  • Five 6 foot tables
  • 6 Chairs
  • 3-4 Additional Volunteers
  • Trashcans, Paper towels and plastic cups
  • Color coded name tags for the participants
  • At least one staff member who must be present at all times.

Request A Classroom Zoo

Community Zoo

The instrument petting zoo is also available for festivals, after school programs or other community events and happenings! Children and adults may come explore any instrument of their interests with help from our volunteers or musicians in an atmosphere that is less structured than that of a classroom visit. Those who wish to schedule a petting zoo visit to a local community event must complete the form below, and are expected to provide the same items/staff/volunteer needs as that of a school visit.

Request A Community Zoo

Rent The Zoo

Did you know you can also RENT the Zoo? Download our Rental Agreement to learn more, and Rent The Zoo.

Download the Rental Agreement

Become a Zookeeper

The OPO presents many instrument petting zoo visits each year in schools, child care facilities, retirement communities, special/education events, and as part of OPO regular concert programming and volunteers play a very important role in the process. Basic knowledge of music and/or musical instruments is not required. All volunteers are trained on how each instrument works as well as how to hold and make simple sounds which the volunteer will then teach to participants of the petting zoo. Volunteering for the instrument Petting Zoo is a great opportunity for students, future educators, lifelong learners and more.

Specific instrument petting zoo volunteer opportunities are:

  • Transportation of musical instruments to instrument petting zoo location
  • Modeling sound production on instruments
  • Supervising children and guiding their active engagement
  • Adhering to health and safety standards
  • Planning/scheduling the petting zoo
  • Assisting with set-up/clean-up​

Become a Zookeeper

Goals and Outcomes

The goal of the OPO Instrument Petting Zoo is to encourage participants to view themselves as having the potential to play musical instruments

  • by allowing young people to handle and produce sounds on orchestra instruments.
  • by using the preparation and follow-up materials and special activities for deeper understanding.

Letter of Agreement/Education Packet

Those who book the instrument petting zoo will receive a letter of agreement stating what can be expected from the instrument petting zoo visit as well as what is expected of them in this process. This may include expectations of space, temperature, adult supervision and more. Additionally, participants may receive a packet of educational resources and activities to accompany the petting zoo experience.

How Will They Know What to Do?

Never fear, the Instrument Petting Zoo is supervised by well-trained and qualified OPO volunteers and musicians. Many are qualified educators who love music and enjoy working with kids. They will guide your students/participants in the right direction.

Health and Safety

The health and safety of all participants is a priority of the OPO. The possible transmission of communicable diseases is an ongoing concern. To ensure consistency in the methods used to sanitize, disinfect musical instruments and prevent the transmission of those diseases, all volunteers and musicians are trained to properly sanitize all instrument mouthpieces, reeds and other equipment between uses. The OPO uses specific cleaning procedures to disinfect and sanitize musical instruments.

Download Instrument Cleaning Instructions