Instrument Petting Zoos

Instrument Petting Zoos

“Thank you for showing my nieces the magic of music!” ~ Denise R.

The Civic Orchestra of Tucson introduced the Musical Instrument Petting Zoo to our community in 1995, based on a similar program in the Midwest. The Petting Zoo gives people of all ages a chance to have an up-close look at various orchestral instruments and actually touch and play these instruments under the guidance of orchestra members. Parents have repeatedly expressed delight after seeing their children try out instruments in our petting zoo, and many have inquired into music lessons.

Petting Zoo Goals

  • To provide children (and adults) the opportunity to explore the various families of musical instruments
  • To provide hands-on opportunities to touch, feel, and play string, wind, brass, and percussion instruments

Petting Zoo Outcomes

  • Participants learn to identify the family to which a given instrument belongs.
  • Children learn the proper way to hold and play an orchestral instrument.
  • Young children delight in having a musical instrument respond to their attempts to play it.
  • Adults who have not played an instrument since high school discover that the ability to make beautiful sound from the instrument is still present.
  • Both children and adults often seek further instruction or lessons.
  • Adults often begin practicing their instruments again and participate in local ensembles.

Schedule an Instrument Petting Zoo for Your Organization

Learn more about how the Musical Instrument Petting Zoo can provide a rich musical experience for your classroom or community event.

» Download our Musical Instrument Petting Zoo brochure.

Become a Petting Zoo Volunteer

Please assist us at our Musical Instrument Petting Zoos! If you play (or have played) a string or brass instrument, you would help children and adults try to play our instruments. Even if you don’t play an instrument, you could welcome people, hand out orchestra information, and encourage people to sign up for our newsletter. You would also learn to put the instruments back in their cases, especially helpful at Zoos that are just before concerts, as the musicians need to get ready to play!

Donate an Instrument

If you have a musical instrument at home that is no longer being used and would like to donate it to the orchestra, please contact us.