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The STAAR test period can be a high-pressure time for students across Texas. Finding ways to help them unwind and feel rewarded after their hard work is crucial for their emotional well-being and continued educational motivation. Bringing an educational yet engaging activity to your school can be a fantastic way to achieve this. One exemplary choice is Once in a Wild, a mobile zoo that provides interactive and educational experiences that not only entertain but also enrich students’ knowledge and appreciation for the natural world.

1. The Benefits of Experiential Learning

After rigorous test preparations and long hours in structured classroom settings, an engaging, hands-on learning activity can be a breath of fresh air for students. Experiential learning opportunities, such as those provided by Once in a Wild, help students apply what they’ve learned in a relaxed and joyful environment. Studies highlight that experiential learning can lead to improved retention of knowledge and a deeper understanding of studied concepts, making it an excellent follow-up to the cognitive demands of STAAR testing.

2. Aligning Fun with Educational Standards

At Once in a Wild, each encounter is designed not only to fascinate but also to educate, aligning with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards. Our animal encounters offer real-life context to the science topics covered in schools, such as ecosystems, animal behavior, and life cycles, reinforcing the curriculum in a memorable way. This approach ensures that students’ post-test activities are enriching, directly contributing to their academic growth.

3. Boosting Morale and Reducing Test Stress

The stress of preparing for and taking statewide tests like STAAR can take a toll on students. Introducing a unique activity such as a mobile zoo visit can significantly uplift spirits and help mitigate the anxiety associated with these assessments. Psychological research supports the idea that positive educational experiences can expand students’ capacities to think creatively and solve problems effectively, skills that are crucial for academic success.

4. Fostering a Connection with Nature

One of the lasting benefits of choosing an animal program for your post-STAAR activities is inspiring a connection with nature, which can foster a lifelong interest in science and conservation. Once in a Wild aims to turn every encounter into a moment of learning and wonder, encouraging students to consider their roles in the larger ecosystem and promoting environmental stewardship.

5. Customizing the Experience

Understanding that each school and grade level has unique needs, Once in a Wild tailors its programs to best suit the age and educational focus of each group. Whether it’s a close encounter with fascinating reptiles or a detailed discussion on the habits of mammals, each program is adjusted to ensure educational relevance and engagement.


As educators and administrators, providing students with meaningful ways to decompress and process their educational experiences post-STAAR is as crucial as preparing them for the tests. With Once in a Wild, schools have a partner in education that brings learning to life in the most enjoyable way. Explore how our programs can enhance your educational offerings and give your students a well-deserved educational treat after their hard work on the STAAR tests.