Life of Raptors / Life of Owls

Time: 2 Hours (Can Be Shortened) 

Grades: 3-12


If your students love avian predators, this is the program for you! This engaging program is all about birds of prey or owls. You can choose Life of Raptors to learn about eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures, and owls... or choose Life of Owls to focus on the snowy owl, great-horned owl, and Northern saw-whet owl. Either way, we promise you a great class with lots of feathery fun!

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Life of Raptors / Life of Owls:

Like most of our on-grounds programs, the Life of Raptors and Life of Owls programs include an engaging educational lesson, hands-on animal biofact interaction, a fun activity, a specially themed scavenger hunt, and time for open exploration of the museum. Read below to learn more about each of these; remember, your program can be shortened to fit any time constraints.


Educational Lesson: 60 Minutes

Birds of prey have long been a source of inspiration for humans. When you request this program, you can specify whether you want to learn about all different kinds of raptors or focus on owls. If you pick the Life of Raptors program, we will look at different birds of prey that live in Wyoming. Your students will learn about birds like golden eagles, bald eagles, kestrels, red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, and great-horned owls!

For each of the raptors we see, we’ll learn about the habitat(s) they live in, their unique prey species, and their special adaptations for survival. We’ll also see skulls and full bird mounts for the birds we discuss!

If you decide you want to learn all about owls, we will take an in depth look at some of the owls that live in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. We’ll learn about what makes owls special, from their hearing, to their eye sight, to many of their other unique adaptations. Then, we’ll look at three of the owl species you can find in Wyoming: the snowy owl, the great-horned owl, and the Northern saw-whet owl. Your students will also see skulls and full mounts for these birds!

Birds of prey are amazing animals and superb hunters. Request a program today to learn more!


Activity: 20 Minutes

The activity for both of these programs is an owl pellet dissection! Owl pellets are one of the most interesting and unique aspects of bird evolution and behavior. Your students will be put in groups of four, and then given an owl pellet. They will utilize the tools at their table to dissect the pellet, sort the animal pieces, and then try to identify what animal was within their owl pellet! This incredibly fun activity is always a hit with students!


Scavenger Hunt: 20 Minutes

The Life of Raptor and Life of Owls scavenger hunts will bring your students through the museum, looking for certain items that pertain to what they learned about in their lesson. This will include depictions of birds in human artifacts and artwork… along with actual bird mounts within the museum. The scavenger hunts are completed in small groups or pairs.


Open Museum Exploration: 20 Minutes

While the scavenger hunt allows your students to see a curated selection of items within the museum, the open museum exploration time allows your students to explore whatever they are interested in. The Wyoming State Museum has so many topics (from dinosaurs to mining to pioneers to warfare to animals to Native American culture to national parks and more), that we find it is a great idea to give students free time at the end of the program to explore. 

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