I remember the first time I learned about the Chinese zodiac and the 12 animals that represent a 12 year cycle. I had gone to a small Chinese restaurant, sat down with my parents and noticed a bit of information about each of the 12 animals on my paper placemat. This stuck in my head and returned to me when I began learning more about them once I entered acupuncture school.
For the record, we didn't really learn much about these 12 animals as we studied acupuncture and Chinese medicine. However, we did learn a lot about '5 element theory', which is the basis for much of the knowledge and prediction made through the Chinese zodiac.