Registration opens on April 3rd, 2022.
For a copy of the application form please email: jhuss@emichigancity.com
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Zoo Camp

Summer Zoo Camp is a fun-filled camp session geared toward specific age groups. At camp, kids participate in zoo tours, hands-on activities, games, and crafts and interact with animals.  Zoo Camp offers your child a unique opportunity to experience all the Washington Park Zoo has to offer!

These are fun-filled camp experiences that will fill up quickly since we cut the class sizes in half as a COVID precaution.  

Message to Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for your interest in registering your child for the Zoo Camp program here at the Washington Park Zoo. We will be having a wild time full of animal encounters, activities, crafts, and games. Please review the following information prior to starting camp and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Theme: By Design Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-13 Years Old
Wild Animal Careers
Date:
Monday, June 13, 2022

Have you ever thought about a future career working with animals? Discover what it takes to care for, feed, train, and work with different animals. During this week, campers will be provided the opportunity to explore a variety of creature careers.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Date:
Thursday, June 16, 2022

Everyone loves a cute, furry animal but some animals just aren’t that cute! We’ll take a look at the zoo’s cutest, ugliest, weirdest, and wildest animals through animal encounters, zoo tours, activities, games, crafts, and more in this wacky camp!

Class Act
Date:
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

What makes a turtle a reptile, not a bird? Why are mammals covered in fur and not scales? This session will help campers learn how animals are placed into the different classes of Mammal, Reptile, Birds, Amphibians, and Fish.

Habitat Helpers
Date:
Friday, June 17, 2022

Do you know what every animal on earth needs to survive? From deserts to the ocean, explore a different habitat every day and which animals live there through tours, games, activities, and crafts in this around-the-world camp!

Theme: Zoo-niversity Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-13 Years Old
I Like to Move it!
Date:
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dip, Dive, Duck, Dodge! Soar, swoop, scurry, scamper! Lunge, lope, lumber, leap! Animals have many ways of moving and for many reasons. Dash to the zoo and jump into this camp as we explore animal movement.

Wild by Design
Date:
Thursday, June 23, 2022

If you could design your own zoo, what would you do? How would you safely take care of dangerous animals like snow leopards and bears? How would you make your zoo appealing to the public? From zookeepers to veterinarians to educators, running a zoo takes a lot of people! Find out what it takes to run a successful zoo by checking out exhibits from behind the scenes, using biofacts to interpret animals to the public, and creating your own zoo in this hands-on camp!

The Unhuggables
Date:
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Some animals just aren’t cute! That doesn’t make them any less important to their habitats. Come find out why the ‘unhuggables’ are just as important as the ‘huggables’ in this creepy crawly camp!

Mythbusters: Zoo Edition
Date:
Friday, June 24, 2022

True or False? Touching a frog or toad will give you warts. Opossums hang by their tails. Bears like honey. We'll work as a team to discover which statements are facts and which are fiction. You'll observe animals and get expert information from zookeepers. Then, produce your own episode of Mythbusters to share with others!

Theme: ZooKeeper Boot Camp Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 9-13 Years Old
Curious About the Cold-Blooded 
Date:
Monday, June 27-Thursday, June 30, 2022

Take a walk on the wild side with one of our special tours by an ex

Theme: Nature Play Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-8 Years Old
Marvelous Mammals
Date:
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Monkeys, tigers, and bears, oh my! From the very small to the very tall, many marvelous mammals call the Zoo home. How do these animals differ from other types of animals like reptiles, amphibians, and birds? Find out why it's fantastic to be furry and wonderful to be warm-blooded!

Birds of a Feather
Date:
Thursday, July 14, 2022

Do birds of a feather really flock together? Find out the answer and learn more interesting avian facts as we see penguins, parrots, and other fascinating feathered friends! From the colorful to the vocal to the majestic, we’ll explore different types of birds from around the world.

Curious About the Cold-Blooded
Date:
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Beat the heat with the cold-blooded creatures! What makes a reptile different from a warm-blooded creature like a mammal? Slither around the Zoo, and explore the wonderful world of turtles, lizards, and snakes with this scaly fun adventure!

Keeper 101
Date:
Friday, July 15, 2022

Each day is a new adventure for our zookeepers! Go beyond cleaning and feeding to learn about the needs of animals and the complexities of animal care, while exploring animals’ unique health, behavior, nutrition, and welfare. Plus, you’ll hear “insider information” from a real zookeeper!

Theme: Nature Play Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 9-13 Years Old
Curious About the Cold-Blooded
Date:
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Beat the heat with the cold-blooded creatures! What makes a reptile different from a warm-blooded creature like a mammal? Slither around the Zoo, and explore the wonderful world of turtles, lizards, and snakes with this scaly fun adventure!

Animal Grossology
Date:
Friday, July 22, 2022

Spend a week learning about the wacky, wild, crazy, yucky, and gross biology of the animal kingdom! Campers will have fun learning about these animals, where kids will go from EWWW to COOL, in this hand-on, engrossing week of delight!

Birds of a Feather
Date:
Thursday, July 21, 2022

Do birds of a feather really flock together? Find out the answer and learn more interesting avian facts as we see penguins, parrots, and other fascinating feathered friends! From the colorful to the vocal to the majestic, we’ll explore different types of birds from around the world.

Theme: Jr.  Zoo School Week

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-8 Years Old
Defenders of the Zooniverse
Date:
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Calling all superheroes! Get ready to meet some super animals that have incredible sight, amazing hearing, and spectacular speed. Work together with these superhero animals to save the Zooniverse.

Sense-ational Animals
Date:
Thursday, July 28, 2022

Dive in and learn about the extraordinary hearing of a fennec fox, the incredible sight of an owl, or the unbelievable smell of a tiger! This sense-based camp will offer campers a unique perspective on the senses that animals use to survive in the wild.

Zookeeper Explorer
Date:
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Grab your khaki, it’s time to be a zookeeper! Explore the Zoo with real-life keepers and get behind-the-scenes looks at what it takes to care for exotic animals. Campers will even get the chance to adopt a Zoo animal to take care of for the week.

Animal Grossology
Date:
Friday, July 29, 2022

Spend a week learning about the wacky, wild, crazy, yucky, and gross biology of the animal kingdom! Campers will have fun learning about these animals, where kids will go from EWWW to COOL, in this hands-on, engrossing week of delight!

Summer Camp FAQ's

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.

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.

 

Due to safety concerns and the availability of animal care staff, we are not able to offer behind the scenes tours for all camps but, animal contact experiences are provided for every camp session

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.

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 would like your child to wear this shirt every day of camp. It increases visibility while touring the zoo. Extra shirts can be purchased for $15 when you register and if we have extra available when camp begins. Close-toed shoes are required for your child's safety.

Will they 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. We issue each child a Zoo water bottle, which is cleaned and filled by our concession staff each 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.

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!

What about behavior management?

Behavior is managed to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all. Children are expected to behave appropriately. In the event a child is disruptive, time-out may be used. If disruptive behavior continues, the parent will be called to help find a solution. If improvement is not realized, the child may be asked to not return 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 about personal belonging?

Please leave all the toys, cameras, and other valuables at home. Cell phones, iPods, tablets, and other electronic devices are not allowed at Zoo Camp. The Zoo is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

What if my child has special needs?

If your child has special needs (dietary, allergy, behavioral, physical, etc.), please notify us in advance by calling 219.873.1510. 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!

Medication cannot be administered or dispensed by Zoo staff. Campers must be able to take their own medication. However, staff can carry medications and help children remember to take them. Many of the Zoo's full-time staff are first aid and EpiPen trained. If your child is bringing an EpiPen or medication to camp, you may be asked to complete additional paperwork regarding its authorized use.

If your child has any food-specific allergies please pack your own snacks. We do not offer snacks that list nuts as an ingredient; however, box lunches may be packed in the same area as other foods posing allergy risks.

Payment & Registration

When will registration open?

Registration for Zoo Camp will open each April.

How do I know if my spot is confirmed?

Upon completion of registration, you will receive an email from the Zoo.

What is your cancellation policy?

  • All cancellations must be submitted via email to jhuss@emichigancity.com. Please state the child's name, camp session, date, and the reason for the refund request. Refunds and exchanges are not guaranteed. We will make every effort to change your registration to another session if your camper is unable to attend their preregistered week, space permitting.

  • Camp Registrations are non-transferrable.

  • There are no refunds if your child is sick and misses camp during the program.

  • If your child is dismissed from the program due to behavioral issues, you will be granted a refund and your child will not be allowed to return to camp. 

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.

Will I receive a written confirmation?

Yes. You will receive an electronic confirmation once your registration and payment have been collected.

What do I need to complete to secure my camper's spot?

Program Waiver (mandatory for all participants, including parents)

Due to the limited spots available, tuition must be paid in full during registration.

What does the "waitlist" mean?

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

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 219.873.1510 to do so.

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

Where should I go on the first day of camp?

We will provide you with plenty of information in your Zoo Camp Handbook but, all campers will meet at the Zoo entrance at 8:45. Please arrive in time to sign your child in and have them ready to start camp at 9:00 am!

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.

Where can I park?

Parking is available in the Zoo Lot. Please make sure to notify the parking attendants that you are here to drop your camper off.

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.