Wildlife Camp Online FAQs

A message from Karen Tingley, Director of Zoos & Aquarium Education

General Camp Information

What will my child do all day at Zoo and Aquarium Online camp?

Our Wildlife Camp Online is full of fun and learning about the world of animals, nature, and science. During the week of camp, campers will engage in counselor-led engagement and self-directed activities including up-close animal encounters, virtual exhibit and behind the scenes visits from all of our WCS zoos and aquarium, chats with our staff, hands-on science projects, crafts, and songs. Some of the activities will be scheduled at specific times and others will allow your child to engage in them at the pace that works for your child. To help you and your camper get the most out of camp, we will mail and email you a camp packet that will include an overview of the week’s activities along with print-outs, materials and tech needs list, and a signed certificate of completion that you can give your camper at the end of camp.

Who is this camp for?

Wildlife Camp Online is perfect for children and youth who are interested in animals, nature, and science! We have programs for gradesPreK –K, 1st - 2nd, 3rd-5th, and 6th- 8th grades.

How much interaction do campers have with animals?

Campers will engage in a daily virtual animal encounters. They’ll meet our ambassador animals from one of our 5 parks and will be able to ask questions of our team throughout the virtual experience. Other animal engagement activities might include observing animals in their exhibits during feeding, enrichment or training sessions.

What does the camp staffing look like?

Wildlife Camp Online will be operated by our full-time zoos and aquarium education professionals. We’ll also have counselors-in-training to support campers in this new virtual space and tech support for families. We’ll divide groups of campers up into small break out groups when appropriate, answer questions on self-directed activities on the camp Padlet and over email, and be there to fuel campers’ wildlife curiosity with lots of special guests.

Are there breaks during the day or are my kids connected to a screen for 6 hours a day?

Yes, we definitely want our campers to step away from the screen throughout the day. We have scheduled a variety of activities that will take place at set times, but all are optional. Additionally, we have self-directed activities for your campers to do at their own pace. These activities can include things that can be done outside of the home, but we are sensitive to the fact that needs and access to natural spaces vary, so we’ll make things as flexible as possible.

What is the typical daily schedule?

Schedules will vary slightly depending on the camp. However, all camps will start with an opening session from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EST. From 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. there will be various electives led by our zoo and aquarium staff, as well as some self-directed activities for your campers to complete and share with their fellow campers on the Padlet. From 2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., there will be a daily camp closing session that will include age-appropriate activities such as camp sing-a-long, surprise guests, and more.

What are the tech requirements for camp?

The tech requirements include: computer or tablet with access to the internet, as well as a working microphone and camera. Our primary platforms for Wildlife Camp Online will be Padlet and Zoom. We may also use other interactive web resources such as Flipgrid, Kahoot, and others. We will also embed links to specific activities and videos in our camp Padlet so that activities will be in one place. We will send registrants access codes prior to the start of camp, as well as a quick parent tech tutorial to provide extra support to those that need it.

If I have more than 1 child registered for camp, do each of them need their own device?

The Wildlife Camp Online morning session starts at 9AM for all age groups. If your children are in different age groups, we recommend that each camper has a separate device in order to seamlessly engage in a variety of activities throughout the day.

Is there a list of supplies that I need to obtain in advance of camp?

We will mail and email each family a packet of printed materials. We will also include a modest list of supplies in the camp confirmation documents. These will mainly be common craft materials such as glue, scissors, tape, etc.

What if my camper has special needs?

If you child has special needs. Please notify us in advance by contacting 800-433-4149 and/or bzeducation@wcs.org. We want your child to have the best camp experience possible and will work with you to better understand how to support your child.

Payment and Registration

When will registration open?

Registration for Wildlife Camp Online for the general public will open on Monday, May 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EST..

What is your cancellation policy?

  • All cancellations must be submitted via email to bzeducation@wcs.org. Please state the camper's name, camp session, date, and the reason for the refund request.
  • Each change to the original registration is subject to a $50.00 administrative fee.
  • Notice and refund amounts:
    • If your request is received at least four (4) weeks prior to the camp start date, a full refund will be issued, less the $50.00 administrative fee.
    • If your request is received between two (2) and four (4) weeks prior to the camp start date, a 50% refund will be issued.
    • If your request is received within two (2) weeks of the camp start date, no refund will be issued.
  • Camp Registrations are non-transferrable.
  • There are no refunds if your child is sick and misses camp during the program.

How do I know if my spot is confirmed?

Upon completion of registration, you will receive an email from bzeducation@wcs.org, which will include your tickets and digital welcome packet. You will receive an electronic confirmation once your registration and payment have been collected.

Can I sign my camper up for multiple weeks?

Yes! There are two camp themes for kids entering grades PreK-5th. There is one theme for 6th - 8th graders. We recommend that you sign your camper up for a different theme if possible, but you are welcome to enroll your camper in the same camp more than once with the understanding that the activities will be the same and we cannot make special accommodations for returning campers

Which forms do I need to complete if my camper’s spot is confirmed?

We ask that everyone fill out a WCS photo and video release form. This can be filled out electronically during the registration process.

Can 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.

Do you have a payment plan?

Please reach out to us at bzeducation@wcs.org to see how we can accommodate your request.

Do you have a multiple child discount?

Yes. Wildlife Camp Online is $250 for the first camper and $75 for each additional sibling in the same home if you are a WCS member. The non-member price is $275 for the first camper and $100 for each additional sibling in the same home.

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 camper 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 camper 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 camper can’t attend a day or if they’ll be late to a morning session?

Please notify our Registrar if your camper will be absent or late on any given day. Please email bzeducation@wcs.org.

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