Animal Discovery Room

Learn about different kinds of animals, experience them up close, and see how they fit into the natural world.

Critter Corner — Opens October 10

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Located in the Niche classroom

What is it like to live underwater? How does it feel to warm yourself on a rock? Get an introduction to the living world by meeting small mammals, reptiles, and arthropods. In the Critter Corner, which is perfect for ages 8 and under, you can observe how animals move, feel, and eat. Read stories and role-play with toy animals and habitats so that you can better understand animal life.


Animal Discovery Room

1:00–4:00 p.m.
Weekends & Holidays

With our international colony of teaching animals—from axolotls to legless lizards—you can learn about animal behavior and habitats. Meet a new Animal Ambassador every 30 minutes, and feel their fur or scales. Try self-guided activities and examine specimen models. Our knowledgeable staff will introduce you to our wonderful creatures and share fun stories and interesting facts. Through these encounters you'll discover more about yourself and other organisms.

Which animals will you meet?
Not all animals are on public view every day. See a list of animals you might meet when you visit.

Explore Your Animal Interests
Learn more about live animals in camps, classes, birthday parties, and programs for schools and groups. We can even bring our animals to you!


+ This Season

Cool Adaptations

You may think that fur is the best way to protect an animal from cold weather, but mammals aren't the only animals to have some cool tricks up their sleeve to protect themselves during the winter months.  How does a turtle survive under water for months at a time while its lake is frozen over?  How do amphibians protect their delicate skin from frosty weather?  What animals are adapted to live in cold weather all year long?  Learn about all of these things and more while visiting the Animal Discovery Room.

Rory the rabbit in Santa hat

+ Featured Animals

Bindi Roo the Bearded Dragon

Bindi Roo has been with us in the Animal Discovery Room since 2011, when she was only a couple of months old.  As she's grown, she's developed beautiful orange markings along her head.  She has a mellow personality, but perks up immediately around her favorite foods, namely insects of any sort.  She lives next to our female hissing cockroaches, but their movement got her so intrigued and hungry, we eventually had to block her view of them so she wouldn't be teased by their deliciousness!  She also happily munches on vegetables and a little fruit, so she is an omnivore.  Bearded dragons are from Australia, and their coloration helps them camouflage well in their desert habitat.  Visit her on weekends and holidays in the Animal Discovery Room from 1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Holiday Bindi Roo the bearded dragon

+ Adoptions

Adopt an Animal

The Animal Discovery Room contains a number of animals that have served us well for many years and that are now ready to retire from the world of education. In some cases, we have more of one species than we actually need. So we look for permanent homes for these wonderful animals. A small adoption fee helps ensure that each animal goes to a family that is ready to take on the responsibility of adoption. Below is a current list of adoptable animals as well as criteria for adopting them.


Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.

Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.  

Criteria for Adopting

  1. You must set up a time with the Animal Discovery Room Manager to talk about species-specific enclosure requirements and the animal's husbandry needs and history.* See Contact Us page for general contact information.
  2. You must provide your own enclosure with proper setup and food for the animal before you pick it up.
  3. You must pay the $15 adoption fee for most animals. Mice are a $5 flat adoption fee, regardless of how many are adopted at once. Rats are $5 each.

*Note: Not all adoptable animals are recommended for households with small children.

+ Donations

Make a Donation

Many of the animals in the Animal Discovery Room (ADR) have been donated by patrons of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

We do accept animal donations on occasion but, due to space limitations, we carefully screen all animals before they become a part of our teaching animal collection. ADR animals must be easily handled and even-tempered, since many are used in classes with children and other members of the public. We also occasionally accept used animal enclosures as long as they are in good condition. If you would like to support the care of our animals by making an online monetary donation, please fill out our secure online contribution form, and specify "For the Animal Discovery Room" in the Additional Details section. 

We house more than 50 species of animals and attempt to maintain variation in the ADR when accepting animal donations. Please contact us if you are interested in donating your animal or used animal enclosure to find out if it meets all of our criteria. 

+ Care

We Care About Our Animals

Special care is taken to ensure that all our animals are housed correctly, with the proper substrate, heat, light, humidity, and activity enrichment. Undergraduate Animal Discovery Room (ADR) helpers, with the assistance of teen interns, conduct daily checks of all animals. Helpers and interns are the first to notice any changes in the animals’ behavior or physical appearance. If a behavioral or physical change is noted in an animal, it is monitored and may receive vet care, depending on the severity of the situation. To monitor all the animals, we conduct monthly weight checks. New or sick animals are weighed weekly to ensure that they are adjusting well and staying healthy. When needed, we administer medicine, supplied by our veterinarians.

UC Berkeley Office of Laboratory and Animal Care (OLAC) veterinarians provide care for all our animals according to campus and USDA regulations for animal care. Veterinarians are available 24/7 to provide quality veterinary care and advice. They do routine checkups on all the animals, as well as operations and x-rays as needed, and provide other veterinary services.