Summer Camp FAQs

What will my child do all day at Zoo Camp?

Zoo Camp is full of fun! Your child will be introduced to the world of animals and science. Zoo Camp has grade- themed programs including games, up-close animal encounters, hands-on science, along with crafts and songs. Since your camper doesn't tell you everything, we'll also distribute a parent letter on the first day that will go over the focus of each day, what exhibits we visit, what animals we met and some questions to test your camper's knowledge.

Who is this camp for?

Zoo Camp is perfect for youth who have an interest, love or passion for animals and science. We offer a variety of activities that connect campers to nature, but it's great when our participants come to us with an initial interest in animals since we are Zoo Camp!

How much interaction do campers have with animals?

Each day the campers will experience a close encounter with an animal from our education animal collection. Other special activities might include seeing an exhibit animal up-close for feeding, enrichment or training sessions. They will not be allowed to hold any animals but will have the chance to touch some of our creatures. Teen programs include a variety of behind the scenes components and opportunities to connect with animal keepers.

What is the counselor to camper ratio?

The counselor to camper ratio varies with age and registration. Our average group size is around seven campers to one counselor. For Kinderzoo, we have a ratio of 6 campers to 1 counselor, while Week of Wildlife and Zoo Explorer has a ratio of 7 campers to 1 counselor. Each group also has volunteers who help supervise campers.

Is there a nap time?

We offer yoga and nap time for the Kinderzoo campers only. For all camps, we try to incorporate quieter activities where campers have some down time.

Do you provide snack?

We provide snack daily. We try our best to supply treats with few allergic interactions. Please make sure that all allergies are listed on the medical form and if your child does have food allergies, please pack a snack just in case. Since we don't provide snack until mid-morning, please make sure that your camper eats a healthy breakfast before coming to camp.

Should I pack a lunch for my camper?

Yes, please. Please send your camper to Zoo Camp each day with a NUT-FREE lunch. Please do not send any snacks or foods containing peanuts or tree nuts. Many children have allergies to different types of nuts. We hope to ease parents' concerns about allergic reactions. Sharing of lunch items is not permitted except amongst siblings.

What should my child wear to camp?

Dress appropriately for the weather. We will go outside rain or shine, so rain gear is needed sometimes. For younger campers, please make sure their clothing is easy for them to remove while using the restroom (zoo staff cannot assist campers in the restroom). On the first day of camp, your child will be given a special Zoo Camp t-shirt. We require your child to wear this shirt every day of camp. It increases visibility while touring the zoo. Extra shirts can be purchased for $20 while you register or on the first and second days of camp. Closed-toed shoes are required for your child's safety.

Will you be outside all day?

Many of our activities include outside time. Please make sure your camper is wearing sunscreen. Counselors are not allowed to apply sunscreen, so please make sure you put it on your camper each morning. It is also a good idea to send your camper with a full, reusable water bottle. We make routine stops at the water fountains, but it does get hot during the summer and your child will be running around outside for most of the day.

Can I stay with my child during the day? May I eat lunch with my child?

For the safety of campers, we do not allow adults who are not camp staff to spend time with the camp group. This includes parents.

What if my child has special needs?

If you child has special needs (dietary, allergy, behavioral, physical, etc.) please notify us in advance by calling 800-433-4149. We want your child to have the best camp experience possible and can only do this if we know the unique needs of your child!

Payment and Registration

When will registration open?

Registration for Zoo Camp will open on January 14 at 9am. Click here to register.

What is your cancellation policy?

There will be no refunds for withdrawals from programs made less than two weeks prior to the camp start date. All cancellation requests must be made in writing by email to bzeducation@wcs.org. A 50% refund will be provided upon receipt of a written cancellation if received 4 weeks in advance. There will be a $50 per person service charge for each change made to the original registration. Requests for changes to your registration cannot be made less than four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the program. If there is a wait list for the session that you are registered for and you'd like to cancel your spot, you are not guaranteed a 50% refund unless the spot can be filled.

How do I know if my spot is confirmed?

Upon completion of registration, you will receive an email from ticketorders@wcs.org, which will include your tickets.

Will I receive a written confirmation?

Yes. You will receive an electronic confirmation once your registration and payment have been collected. You will receive important information about camp logistics and policies in our Zoo Camp Parent Letter.

Can I sign my child up for multiple weeks?

All curriculum is repeated except for Toddler Camp, which offers two sessions.

What type of forms do I need to complete if my camper's spot is confirmed?

We require all campers to complete and bring the following forms with them on the first day of summer camp:

Why can't my 1st grader and my 5th grader attend the same camp?

For the benefit of your child and other campers, children will only be allowed in groups appropriate for their grade. We focus on age specific content throughout the week. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Do you have a payment plan?

Tuition must be paid in full during registration.

Do you have a multiple child discount?

We do not offer a multiple child discount. We do offer a discount for Wildlife Conservation Society members though.

What does "wait list" mean?

Wait list means that we are currently full for that session. You are welcome to sign up for the wait list, but a spot will only open up if someone else cancels their camp registration.

Do I get a refund if my child is sick?

No. We do not give refunds for campers that are unable to attend camp because they are sick.

Do I get a refund if my child is asked to leave camp because of behavioral issues?

No. If your child is asked to leave camp because they are unable to cooperate with camp rules, you will not receive a refund.

What happens if my child can't attend a day or if they'll be late?

Please notify our Registrar if your camper will be absent or late on any given day. Please call 800-433-4149 to do so.

First Day of Camp and Sign-In/Sign-out Procedures

Where should I go the first day of camp?

We will provide you with plenty of information in your Zoo Camp Parent Letter, which will describe the location of the camp and what to expect for the first morning. Please note that parents or guardians are REQUIRED to attend a 15 minute orientation from 10:00-10:15am. We will give you an overview of the program, discuss safety rules, camp policies and answer questions.

Where can I park?

Parking is available in the Southern Blvd Lot. Please make sure to display your parking pass when you drop your camper off.

What time can I enter the zoo?

On the first day of camp, the Southern Blvd Lot entrance will open at 9:30am so parents and campers can get in to finalize paperwork and get their t-shirt and name badge. On Tuesday through Friday, the entrance will open at 9:45am. We start camp promptly at 10am each day, so make sure to get here on time. If you're running late, please let us know by calling 800-433-4149.

What happens if I need to pick up my camper early?

If you would like to pick up your camper at a time other than the designated pick-up time, please notify your camper's counselor. Upon your arrival at the zoo, notify the front gate and they will radio to your camper's group so you can meet up with them.

What happens if I'm late picking up my camper?

Campers who are picked up more than 15 minutes past the pick-up time will be charged $45. We appreciate your attention to this matter.

Who can sign out my camper?

People signing out campers must be listed on the Camper Release Form and have to be 18 and over. When completing the Camper Release Form, parents/guardians need to list themselves as well. All adults signing out a camper should bring a photo ID with them to verify their identity. Teens are allowed to sign themselves out with adult permission.

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