Animal Classification

Why do scientists classify animals? What similarities do all mammals have?

In this session pupils will explore and handle a variety of taxidermy animals from around the world to understand how and why scientists sort animals into groups.

Pupils will practice using a classification key to sort invertebrates and identify the features of mammals, fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Pupils will also be challenged to classify some mystery animals.

The cost of the session also includes timed access for the class to the Aquarium (please note – this is not private access) outside the session.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what classification is and why we have it
  • Identify the features of each of the 5 main animal groups.
  • Using a key identify vertebrates and invertebrates.

“The session was extremely well planned and exactly to the right age, content was perfect. The children were all completely engaged and thoroughly enjoyed it.” Year 3 teacher

The Horniman is the perfect place to explore your topic further. Explore our Aquarium for amphibians, fish and invertebrates (free entry included with the session rate), explore live mammals and birds living in our free Animal Walk (open from 12.30pm), plants and wildlife across our 16 acres of Gardens, or the relationship between animals and humans in our World Gallery.

Please note that our Natural History Gallery  is now closed as part of a major 2-year redevelopment, Nature + Love. The rest of our Galleries, displays and Gardens will be open as usual, with plenty across the site to support your topic (from our free Animal Walk, to our World Gallery). Our schools workshops are unaffected.

We will be opening a new, free temporary exhibition about the natural world, animals and their habitats, in September 2024.

Workshop information

How to book

Booking a taught session includes a welcome briefing on arrival, timed access to a lunch space, cloakroom facilities and access to toilets for the exclusive use of school groups.

Contact us to make a booking:
020 8291 8686

When you contact us please have ready:

– the name of the taught session you would like to book or topic you are studying,

-1st/2nd/3rd choice of date and preferred session time,

– the number of pupils and adults attending.


Entrance to the Horniman Museum and Gardens is free of charge. Taught sessions and access to some exhibitions are charged for. We invoice after your visit.

The following charges apply:

Mainstream State schools: £90 including VAT, £75 excluding VAT

Private/independent schools: £129.60 including VAT, £108 excluding VAT

SEND schools and groups: £45 including VAT, £37.25 excluding VAT

We offer a bursary scheme for schools that meet a set criteria.

Planning your visit

See the School Trips page for other essential information including our risk assessment.

We are open from 10am-5.30pm, 7 days a week. Entrance to the Museum and Gardens is free of charge but must be booked in advance by emailing

We offer reduced educational rates for our Aquarium, Butterfly House, and Temporary exhibition. See the School Trips page for further information.

Charges apply to all children aged 3 years and over, and all accompanying teachers and adults, unless they are specific 1:1 carers.