Zoo Camp is full of fun! Your child will be introduced to the world of animals and science through hands-on experiences, Zoo-themed investigations and up-close animal encounters. Zoo Camp programs are designed specifically for each age group and include thematic games and activities, art experiences, group and independent projects, and camp songs. For parents and caregivers, we will provide a weekly handout and host a brief chat before camper pick-up to discuss the focus of each day, what exhibits we visited, what animals we met, and some questions to prompt your camper’s sharing and storytelling about their day at camp.
Zoo Camp is perfect for children and teens who have an interest, love or passion for animals and science. We offer a variety of activities that aim to inspire love and care for nature, and it's great when campers come to us with an initial interest in animals, since we are Zoo Camp, after all!
Each day, campers will experience a close encounter with an animal from our ambassador animal collection. Other special activities might include seeing an exhibit animal up-close for feeding, enrichment or training sessions. Though campers are not permitted to hold any animals, they will have the opportunity to touch some of our collection animals. The Conservation in Action and Junior Keepers programs include a variety of behind the scenes components and opportunities to connect with animal keepers.
Campers of all ability levels are welcome at Zoo Camp. Together with caregivers, we strive to make camp accessible to children with varying needs, and provide reasonable accommodations to our camp programs to make them accessible. Professional caregivers such as SEITs, para-professionals, or approved student support specialists are welcome with proof of background check and two weeks advance notice. Please contact email@example.com to make arrangements.
New in summer 2020, we will no longer be providing snack during the camp day. We invite campers to bring a small, healthy snack item from home that suits their own nutritional and dietary needs. We are a NUT-FREE camp, and we appreciate your effort to send nut-free items to camp.
A typical day at Zoo Camp includes a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities. During inclement weather, activities may be modified for safety. 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 require that you send your camper with a full, reusable water bottle that can be refilled throughout the day.
Campers should 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 as 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 campers to wear this shirt every day of camp. It increases visibility while in the Zoo. Extra shirts can be purchased for $20 when you register or on the first day of camp. Closed-toed shoes are required for your child's safety, and a hat is recommended.
Each camper must have their own nut-free snack and lunch, and a refillable water bottle labeled with your camper’s name. KinderZoo campers are encouraged to bring a change of clothes for emergencies. Please arrive at camp with sunscreen already applied. Staff cannot assist campers with applying sunscreen directly.
Upon completion of registration, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, which will include your tickets. You will receive an electronic confirmation once your registration and payment have been collected.
What happens if I am placed on the waitlist?
Campers on the waitlist are not guaranteed a spot in their selected camp session. Wait listed campers are moved into camp vacancies, if they open, based on the order on the waitlist. You will be contacted by the Registrars and offered a camp spot if they become available. Please check www.wcs.org/camps to learn more about camps at all 5 facilities!
Can I sign my camper up for multiple weeks?
With the exception of our two-week Conservation in Action camp, each child is permitted to sign up for one week of camp only. We only offer one camp for each age group, and signing up for multiple weeks will result in repeated activities.
Which forms do I need to complete if my camper’s spot is confirmed?
Most information will now be collected during the registration process, but two weeks prior to the start of camp, we will provide you with any additional information that needs to be completed. All forms can be completed by a caregiver and will not require a medical professional’s signature.
Why can’t my 1st grader and my 5th grader?
For the benefit of your child and other campers, children will only be allowed in groups appropriate for their age. There are no exceptions. Camps are designed with grade appropriate content throughout the week.
Do you have a payment plan?
Please reach out to us at email@example.com to see how we can accommodate your request.
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?
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. You are placed on the waitlist in the order that you registered and we will contact you if you are next in line for a spot for camp. Some waitlists are very long and you may not receive a spot in camp this summer. However, we do offer all waitlisted individuals an opportunity to pre-register for the following year’s Summer Camp so they may be able to register for next year before the general registration opens.
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?
No. We do not give refunds for campers that are dismissed from camp. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying of any kind or other behaviors that endanger campers or program staff. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of the entire camp, it is at the discretion of program staff to remove anyone from the program if observed behaving in a manner that is inappropriate, disrespectful, dangerous, or hurtful.
What happens if my camper can’t attend a day or if they’ll be late?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-433-4149 and notify our Registrar if your camper will be absent or late on any given day.
First Day of Camp and Sign-In/Sign-Out Procedures
Where should I go the first day of camp? Where can I park?
We will provide you with plenty of information in your Zoo Camp Welcome Letter, which will describe the location of the camp and what to expect for the first morning. Camp check-in begins at 8:30. We offer an optional caregiver orientation from 9:00-9:30 and will provide an overview of the program, discuss safety rules, camp policies and answer questions. There is no parking at the Central Park Zoo.
What time can I enter the Zoo?
On the first day of camp, we will have check-in set up at 8:30am near the Delacorte Clock to check-in, meet camp staff, and pick up your camp shirt. On Tuesday through Friday, the camp classroom will open at 9:00am. We start camp promptly at 9:00am each day, so make sure to arrive on time. If you are running late, please let us know by calling 1-800-433-4149.
Camper pick-up begins at 3pm (12:30 for Half Day Camp), immediately preceded by a brief chat with camp staff, reviewing highlights from the camp day. Following camp pick-up, your child’s camp t-shirt serves as your ticket to the Zoo, if you would like to enjoy the Zoo with them.
On the last day of camp, we host a brief closing ceremony for each camp group. Each camper receives a certificate of completion and groups will share short presentations and highlights from the camp week together. Locations and ceremony times vary and will be communicated to you on the first day of your camp session.
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 in the morning. We will do our best to accommodate these requests. Please note that leaving camp early can present disruptions to the camp day as well as result in your child missing out on activities. Upon your arrival at the zoo, notify Zoo staff at the front gate and they will contact your camper's group.
What happens if I’m late picking up my camper?
Campers picked up more than 15 minutes past the pick-up time will be charged $45. We appreciate your attention to this matter. Please contact Registrars or the Camp Director if you are running late.
Who can sign out my camper?
People signing out campers must be listed on the Camper Pick-Up Form and must be 18 and older. When completing the Camper Pick-Up Form, please list all the individuals you grant permission to pick up your camper, including yourself. All adults signing out a camper should bring a photo ID with them to verify their identity. Conservation in Action and Junior Keepers campers are allowed to sign-out themselves with emailed permission from parent or guardian.