Oakland Zoo invites kids from all around the Bay Area to come hang out with us for an exciting week of outdoor nature discovery, animal adventures, and fun! Summer camp activities include interactive stories, puppet play, games, craft projects, science activities, and of course, animals!
Oakland Zoo takes great pride in creating age-appropriate programs for campers from Pre-K to High School. We limit classes to a maximum of 15 campers for each camp teacher. This gives our staff the opportunity to know your campers and tailor our activities to them. ZooCamp is organized such that each camper can attend two separate weeks without repeating activities. In addition our 1st - 5th grade campers are invited to partake in our mixed age camp, Nature Play.
So what happens at ZooCamp?
A typical day starts with All Camp Assembly. Each class makes its way to our Wildlife Theater to say good morning, warm up with a song, and participate in a silly skit or game. Then, classes split up for a morning full of activities - usually a zoo tour or visiting the creek restoration site to look for wildlife. We all join up again for lunch and recess, which is filled with free play options like jump rope and kickball. After lunch, camp groups split up again for afternoon activities - craft projects, examining animal artifacts, story time, and running games - all of which relate back to their program's theme. For example, our first graders might spend a day learning all about birds by visiting the aviary exhibits, getting to touch and examine different types of feathers, playing a running game in which they race to build a nest, and then making their own fancy headdresses and creating a dance to attract a mate.
Animal Close-Ups are another favorite camper activity. Several times during the week, a small, live animal comes to visit each class. These animals aren't part of the regular zoo, and the only way you get to meet them is by participating in one of our Education programs. Campers get to see these animal ambassadors up close, learn about them, and find out what they feel like.
Our campers are also conservationists!
Each summer, we select a different animal to feature on our camp T-shirts and we select a partner organization that is working to protect that animal in the wild. Two dollars of each camper registration is donated to the project, campers learn about the project through a special All Camp Assembly, and on Friday, every camper earns a reward for taking action to save wildlife.
Many of our ZooCamp teachers are college students or recent graduates, often with degrees in Biology, Animal Science, Environmental Studies, or another animal-related field. Many of our camp teachers return to work with us for 4-5 years - good evidence of their dedication to ZooCamp. Teen Assistants (TAs) are high school volunteers who help guide and manage camp groups. TAs are additional help for each teacher and are not counted in our 1 to 15 ratio. Many TAs are past ZooCampers and are very enthusiastic to create a fun environment for new participants.
Camps last one week and run 9 am to 4 pm. Before and After Care are available for an additional cost. Prices vary for different programs, visit our website for more information. Scholarships and member discounts are available.
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