Zoo’s Clues

Help Detective Clue Spotter the Otter crack the case with monthly mysteries geared toward 6 to 12-year-olds.

Available daily.
Staffed Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Ideal for ages 6 to 12

  • Only staffed on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather dependent) or available on a self-guided basis anytime.
  • Prizes can only be picked up when staffed or by contacting cluespotter@zooatlanta.org.
  • Supplies are available at Detective Headquarters for self-guided spotters.

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? Zoo’s Clues is a self-guided activity! All of the confidential materials you need are available right here, or in the brown mailbox at our Detective Headquarters, located across from the elephant habitat.

Zoo’s Clues Online

Printable Clue Sheet (PDF)

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

Skills you need to be a good Zoo detective

  • The ability to observe. You should take a good look at the clues provided. Look at clues from several angles, and make a 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. 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.

You can print out your clue sheet or take one from the mailbox at Detective Headquarters at the Zoo anytime!

Closed cases

October Case Debrief

Case:  Clue Spotter the Otter and his friends are celebrating Halloween by heading to a haunted house. When they get there, they see a mysterious figure in an upstairs window. Clue Spotter thinks it’s one of his animal friends! Can you solve the mystery of the strange shadow?

Putting the clues together:

While walking through the haunted house, we first learned that the strange shadow was cast by an animal with reddish-orange hair. This long, coarse hair protects the animal from the rain, like our raincoats. We also learned the mystery animal has a very long arm span. We then found candy that is made with only sustainable palm oil. This is important to the mystery animal because it is losing its native habitat when companies don’t use sustainable palm oil farming practices. Lastly, the long-fingered hand let us know that the mystery animal is arboreal, which means it spends most of its time in trees. Once we put the main clues of the hair, the candy, and the hand together, we now know that the strange shadow was cast by the orangutan!

Status: Mystery Solved!

Answer: The strange shadow was cast by an orangutan.

Great job, Detectives!

Your pal,

Clue Spotter the Otter

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl