Zoo's Clues

The Detective Headquarters is open on Saturday, 10am - 2pm
weather dependent

You can print out your clue sheet or take one from the mailbox at Detective Headquarters at the zoo any time!

If you have questions or would like to submit your own mystery, e-mail us at


Super Sleuths Wanted
Greetings Detectives,

My name is Detective Clue Spotter the Otter, and I need YOUR help solving monthly mysteries! Study the evidence, engage in the suspense, observe the clues, and use your detective skills to unravel the mystery, all while learning about our natural world.

Are you ready to get started? Our Detective Headquarters is open and staffed by our highly trained secret agents from 10am – 2pm on Saturdays. Want to help me crack the case but can’t make it on a Saturday? No problem, during the week, Zoo’s Clues is a self-guided activity! All of the confidential materials you need are in the brown mailbox at our Detective Headquarters, located across from the elephant exhibit.

You can print out this month’s clue sheet (file on the right) from home if you want to get a head start!

At the end of the month we’ll post the case debrief below so you can learn even more information about the mysteries we’ve solved together.

Your pal,
Clue Spotter the Otter

Closed Cases

December Case Debrief
Case: Clue Spotter the Otter has a lot of otter friends. There are many other animals at the Zoo who also prefer to live in families or in groups. There is a word that describes animals with social structures like this; can you help Clue Spotter figure out what it is? Hint: Each clue box around the Zoo has letters that can be used to solve the mystery! Write down the letters you see at each clue box, and at the end of your hunt, unscramble them to reveal the word.
Answer: Social
  • Clue #1: You were told to look for the first clue in the Elephant House. You learned that our African elephants, Kelly and Tara, like to socialize with each other and that elephants in the wild live in family groups called herds. You found the scrambled letters L and S.
  • Clue #2: The second clue was found in the naked mole rat exhibit. You learned that naked mole rats live in groups called colonies and work together as a team. Each naked mole rat has a different job but they all interact with each other in some way. You found more scrambled letters: O and I.
  • Clue #3: For the final clue, you were sent to the petting zoo in the KIDZone. You learned that Nubian goats enjoy being around other goats and grazing together all day. They live in groups, similar to how the elephants and naked mole rats live. Here you found the last scrambled letters: A and C.
Great job, detectives! You figured out where I want to go! They are all social! 

Your pal,
Clue Spotter the Otter

Skills you need to be a good Zoo detective:

  • The ability to observe. You should really take a good look at the clues provided. Look at clues from several angles and make note of any details on or about the clue. What is the clue or where did it come from? How does is fit with your knowledge and with the other clues provided? Every part of the clue will help you get one step closer to cracking the case.
  • Good memory. You should try to remember all clues provided and details of each to piece together an answer. Cross check each clue and then think how that might fit with your knowledge of animals.
  • Awareness of animal behavior, physical characteristics, and abilities is important. In order to solve some of our mysteries, you are going to need to know a little bit about animals. What do animals look like and what are their characteristics? Where do they live, what do they eat, (and what does their poop look like!), what are some of their behaviors, and what might be an animal’s motive for committing the crime?
  • Detectives are helpful, too. Not only do Zoo detectives want to help Detective Otter figure out “whodunit” but they are generally helpful to their neighbors, friends and to nature.