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Zoo Camp Week Session Fee (per child)
  • 5-13 year old:  $125 (reusable water bottle and camp shirt included)

  • Pick a Day: $30 per day session (no camp shirt included)

  • Zoo Camps are limited to only two weeks of sessions per child since our space is limited. 

To register please visit the Zoo Office to ensure that there are still spaces available. 

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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.  

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: Class Act Week - No Availability 

Ages: 5-12 Years Old

This week campers will learn about the animal classification system and what characteristics belong to the different animal classes

Rad Reptiles—Monday, June 17, 2024

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

Animal Grossology—Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Spend the day learning about the slimly, creepy, and weird world of insects and amphibians. With crafts, games, and wild encounters this will be a day like no other!

Beautiful Birds—Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Get ready to soar into fun feathered facts about not only our ambassador birds but also about some majestic birds that live right around you, here in Indiana!

Marvelous Mammals—Thursday, June 20, 2024

Lions, tigers, and bears, Oh My! Did you know here at Washington Park Zoo we are home to some marvelous mammals, and we can’t wait to introduce you to them! Join us on the final day of Class Act Zoo Camp!

Theme: Wild Careers- No Availability 

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-12 Years Old

Have you ever thought about a future career working with animals? There are many different animal professionals that devote their lives to helping animals, join WPZ camp this week to learn about them. Campers will be provided the opportunity to explore a variety of creature careers. Discover how these professionals work together to save animal lives every day!  

 

If I Ran The Zoo—Monday, June 24, 2024

From Zoo Directors and Veterinary Staff to Exhibit Designers and Horticulturists, discover what it takes to run Washington Park Zoo as you get up close and personal with some of our incredible animals.  It takes more than just animal staff to keep the Zoo running smoothly. This class will introduce some of the lesser-known options found at the Zoo, from keeping track of animal records to creating a fun social media post with marketing, this camp will be a fun exploration for a variety of careers.

 

Animal Careers—Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Animal Control Officers, Park Rangers, & Wildlife Biologists- These professionals go above and beyond to save animals every day! Find out how they work with zoos.

 

Veterinary Careers & Wildlife Rehabbers—Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Just like family pets, animals at the zoo receive veterinary care to keep them active and healthy. A visit to the zoo’s Animal Care Clinic to highlight the top-notch care that the zoo’s animals receive and help campers take good care of pets at home.

 

Zookeeper Crew—Thursday, June 27, 2024

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Zookeepers. They are responsible for specific types of animals assigned to them. See the ways Zookeepers clean the exhibits, feed the animals, and keep a good eye on the animals to make sure they are healthy. Try your hand at some zookeeping practices.

Theme: Zookeeper Boot Camp Week- Limited space

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 9-13 Years Old

Did you know that most of the zookeepers who work here started their careers with domestic animals? Now you can, too! The skills learned in the contact barn working with animals such as goats and chickens apply across all departments in the zoo – from axolotl to zebra! Campers will spend a week in the red barn getting their hands dirty through general animal husbandry activities, trying out their training, enrichment skills, education interpreting, and interacting with the public on a daily basis just as our zookeepers do! This camp is a work experience and campers should expect to get dirty, hot, sweaty, and smelly as they face the challenges of being a zookeeper. This camp is specially designed for the older camper with an animal-related career in mind. 

 

Where the Wild Things Are—Monday, July 8, 2024

Discover that wildlife is not only found in zoos but is everywhere around us! Campers will meet and observe animals to understand what it means to be wild before grabbing a magnifying glass and other scientific tools to go on the hunt and uncover what wildlife is hiding all around the zoo!

Wild By Design—Tuesday, July 9, 202 

Learn about how to prepare an animal enclosure. Learn about the zoological organization and wildlife laws and regulations that the zoo must follow. Find out what the Zoo Crew must do when bringing new animals into the collection. Help refreshen some animal enclosures and prepare some diets.

 

Enrichment 101—Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Enrichment is anything that provides environmental stimuli to our animals here at the zoo to enrich their lives or mirror wild behaviors. Zookeepers work hard to make sure each animal has enrichment every day. Learn what it takes to prepare these enrichments, why they are important, and even get a chance to design your own!

 

ZSI: Zoo Scene Investigator—Thursday, July 11, 202 

Grab your crime scene tape and become a Zoo Scene Investigator! Use your knowledge of the zoo

animals and observational skills to find the hidden clues and crack the code of an unsolved zoo

mystery.

Theme: Nature Class Week - Limited Space

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-8 Years Old
Unsung Wildlife Heros—Monday, July 15, 2024

Not all heroes wear capes. Some trudge over ice or through mud, all to save the world’s wildlife! Campers will learn how conservationists protect wildlife and wild places for future generations, and they can discover their own path to becoming a wildlife superhero.

 

Reptiles in Action—Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Learn about the various ways reptiles can defend themselves! 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!

 

Wild Senses and Defenses—Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Nature is creative! From animals that smell with their tongues and taste with their skin to plants that smell like rotting flesh, living things sport some wild adaptations. Through fun activities and Zoo exploration, campers will learn many unusual ways that species survive and thrive!

Kings of the Kingdom—Thursday, July 18, 2024

Explore animal adaptations and see how species face the challenges of a changing environment. Campers will participate in team challenges as they explore the amazing diversity of life on this planet and learn about animal survival strategies.

Theme: Zookeeper Boot Camp Week -Limited Space

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 10-13 Years Old

*We are repeating this camp twice due to popularity

Did you know that most of the zookeepers who work here started their careers with domestic animals? Now you can, too! The skills learned in the contact barn working with animals such as goats and chickens apply across all departments in the zoo – from axolotl to zebra! Campers will spend a week in the red barn getting their hands dirty through general animal husbandry activities, trying out their training, enrichment skills, and education interpreting, just like zookeepers do! This camp is a work experience and campers should expect to get dirty, hot, sweaty, and smelly as they face the challenges of being a zookeeper. 

 

Keeper 101—Monday, July 22, 2024

Learn the rules we must all know to keep ourselves and the animals safe. Get introduced to the Red Barn animals and help care for them by cleaning, grooming, preparing diets, and feeding. Learn about zoo tools and enrichment. 

 

Wild By Design—Tuesday, July 23, 2024 

Learn about how to prepare an animal enclosure. Learn about the zoological organization and wildlife laws and regulations that the zoo must follow. Find out what the Zoo Crew must do when bringing new animals into the collection. Help refresh some animal enclosures and prepare some diets.

 

All About Animal Behavior—Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Animals in captivity need ways to prevent boredom and encourage play. Campers create toys and treats for the animals and then experience the playtime fun.  From service animals to film performers, animal trainers work with individual animals to encourage the performance of specific behaviors. Campers will learn about training and conditioning and practice the steps of shaping new behavior. Have your own experience working on training with some of our barnyard animals. 

The Art of Training—Thursday, July 25, 2024

From service animals to film performers, animal trainers work with individual animals to encourage the performance of specific behaviors. Campers will learn about training and conditioning and practice the steps of shaping new behavior. Have your own experience working on training with some of our barnyard animals.

Theme: Awesome Adventure Week-Limited Space

Time: 9 am – 2 pm
Ages: 5-9 Years Old
Fantastic Beasts—Monday, July 29, 2024

Dragons, unicorns, and much more! We’ll explore the fascinating world of mythological creatures and take a look at the real-life animals that inspired them.

It's a Wonderful (wild) Life—Tuesday, July 30, 2024 

 

This week we’ll explore all aspects of wildlife! We'll examine overarching concepts like the web of life and life cycle, and then dive into more focused subjects such as endangered species, urban wildlife, and invasive species. Your camper will leave this week of camp an expert on animals.

Feeding Frenzy Fun —Wednesday, July 31, 2024

They say nature is "eat or be eaten," so this week at camp we’re diving fully into eating! We’ll learn about different types of eaters, the senses and adaptations developed for eating (and avoiding being eaten), and what it’s like to be a predator and prey!

 

Wildlife Warriors—Thursday, August 1, 2024

Immerse yourself in the natural world and learn how to protect its beautiful resources! Meet zookeepers and educators throughout the week to learn about the important issues that animals are facing in the wild, and learn how to combat those issues by becoming a Wildlife Warrior yourself!

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.  Each camper will need a packed lunch each day with a NUT-FREE lunch. Please do not send any snacks or foods containing peanuts or tree nuts. Although the zoo is not nut free we try and limit direct contact with the campers since 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 are not give refunds for campers that are unable to attend camp because they are ill.

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 a.m.. Please arrive in time to sign your child in and have them ready to start camp at 9 a.m.!

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.

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