Enclosure Design

In this in-depth look at Enclosure Design, students will get hands – on approach to creating a new space for an animal. Students will be brought through the planning process and be able to look at the enclosures from the perspectives of different stakeholders involved. Students will also be encouraged to take part in the annual ZSL Enclosure Design competition.

Ring-tailed lemur

Key Stage: KS3

Duration: 45 minutes

Capacity: 35 students



National Curriculum Links:            


KS3 Design & Technology


  • Identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them.
  • Develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations and computer-based tools.


  • Test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users and other interested groups.

Technical knowledge

  • Understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions .



Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the animal needs in designing an enclosure.
  • Identify the different stakeholders present in designing a new animal enclosure.

Real objects from the natural world used in this session are on loan from HM Revenue and Customs



For this session


Before your visit:

  • Discuss any enclosures the students have seen at zoos/parks – what do you think the main requirements of an enclosure are and who are the main stakeholders?


While at the zoo:

  • Visit some of the following animals at the Zoo to explore the different examples of enclosures linking to content in the session:


Link to session

Location in the zoo


Breeding facility


African Penguins

Water based enclosure

Right of Europe

Asian Elephants

Large animal with indoor and outdoor viewing areas


Ring tailed lemurs

Walk through enclosure

Base Camp


After your visit:

  • Set up your own virtual zoo – Students will have different roles, eg Keeping staff, curator, marketing, retail, vet, development (linking with funders), education, presenters, finance, gardening, building. Within these roles, students will have to research what animals they are going to have in the zoo and why (are they endangered, will they bring money in). Set a budget and see how they get on. This activity will bring together working in groups, social enterprise, social responsibility, career awareness.
  • Design an enclosure based on the information that you have discovered during your session and compete with other schools for the best enclosure design! Send your entries to:


Enclosure Design Competition

Discovery and Learning

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, LU6 2LF



Prepare for your Enclosure Design session with our information pack:

PDF icon Pre-visit sheet - Enclosure Design (KS3) (384.48 KB)