Zoo Camp

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We are Zoo Camp…mighty, mighty Zoo Camp!

Santa Barbara Zoo’s camps offer children ages 3–12 the opportunity to explore animals and science in a safe, beautiful environment. Zoo Camps are offered seasonally, and all camps have a lunch option available.

Day Camps

Spring/Fall/Winter

Traditional Zoo Camp. Includes hands-on science activities, games, crafts, snack and lunch time, up-close animal encounter (feeding opportunity or animal enrichment experience) and a guided Zoo tour.

2017 Dates
March 27–31
November 20–22 & 24
December 18–22
December 26–29

Half Day: 9 a.m.–noon
Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Cost
Half Day: $45/day, $40/day for SB Zoo Members
Full Day: $57/day, $52/day for SB Zoo Members

Signups are by individual day. Prices subject to change.

Register

Week-long Camps

Summer

Choose from Traditional Camp or try one of our Specialty Camps. Traditional Zoo Camp includes: hands-on science activities, games, crafts, snack and lunch time, up-close animal encounter (feeding opportunity or animal enrichment experience) and a guided Zoo tour. Traditional camp is offered in half-day and full-day options.

Our new Specialty Camps cater to your child’s specific interests. All Specialty Camps are full-day camps, and are offered for specific weeks of summer. These camps have limited availability, so register today!

    Traditional Camp

    Dates
    July 10–August 18, 2017

    Half Day: 9 a.m.–noon

    Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    Half Day: $225/week; $195/week for SB Zoo Members

    Full Day: $285/week; $255/week for SB Zoo Members

    This camp is for kids ages 3–8.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $75/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $75/week
    Both: $75/week

    Hot Lunch
    $50/week

    REGISTER

    Specialty Camp: Jr. Veterinarian

    A week in the life of an exotic animal veterinarian. Go behind the scenes at the Zoo’s animal hospital, and practice the skills every vet needs.

    Dates               
    July 10–14
    July 24–28
    Aug 7–11

    Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    $330/week; $290/week for SB Zoo Members

    This camp is for kids ages 6–12.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $75/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $75/week
    Both: $75/week

    Hot Lunch
    $50/week

    REGISTER

    Specialty Camp: Backyard Biologist

    Practice the skills of a professional field biologist, training alongside our conservation team and learning sustainable stewardship practices.
    NOTE: This camp has a unique schedule, Thursday will include an overnight stay at the Zoo.

    Dates               
    July 17–21
    July 31–August 4
    Aug 14–18

    Monday & Tuesday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m
    Wednesday–Thursday 3 p.m.– noon
    Friday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    $310/week; $270/week for SB Zoo Members

    This camp is for kids ages 6–12.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day (Monday–Wednesday only)
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $45/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $45/week
    Both: $45/week

    Hot Lunch (Monday –Wednesday only)
    $30/week

    REGISTER

    Specialty Camp: Pet Ready?

    Are you ready for a pet? Let our zookeepers help you discover the answer. Learn and practice how to bond with, feed, train, groom, and yes, clean up after your pet.

    Dates               
    July 24–28
    Aug 7–11

    Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    $310/week; $270/week for SB Zoo Members

    For kids ages 6–12.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $75/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $75/week
    Both: $75/week

    Hot Lunch
    $50/week

    REGISTER

    Specialty Camp: Jr. Zookeeper

    You’re a zookeeper for a week and will assist the staff in caring for some of the Zoo’s exotic animals.

    Dates               
    July 17–21
    July 31–August 4
    August 14–18

    Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    $330/week; $290/week for SB Zoo Members

    For kids ages 9–12.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $75/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $75/week
    Both: $75/week

    Hot Lunch
    $50/week

    REGISTER

    Specialty Camp: Scales & Tails

    Build a temporary exhibit for Eeeww! while learning from zookeepers about what goes into the care of different reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

    Dates               
    July 10–14
    July 31–August 4

    Full Day: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

    Cost

    $310/week; $270/week for SB Zoo Members

    For kids ages 8–12.

    Add-On Options

    Extended Day
    Morning: 7:30–9 a.m., $75/week
    Afternoon: 3:30–4:30 p.m., $75/week
    Both: $75/week

    Hot Lunch
    $50/week

    REGISTER

    More Zoo Camp Information

      First-Time Camper Tips

      Clothing

      Dress appropriately for the weather. 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). Please be aware that clothing, especially sweatshirts, tend to get lost during zoo camp. Your child should wear the Santa Barbara Zoo Camp shirt every day.

      Shoes

      Closed-toed shoes are required for your child’s safety. If your camper is not wearing close-toed shoes, they will miss out on behind-the-scenes opportunities. Closed-toed shoes also help protect your child when playing games with their camp group.

      Snacks

      We provide a snack daily. If your child has a food allergy, we suggest you pack a snack for your camper and give it to his or her counselor in the morning.

      Sunscreen

      Please make sure your child is wearing sunscreen. Zoo Campers are outside for the majority of the day. If you would like us to apply sunscreen, you must give us consent in the morning and send sunscreen with your child.

      Water Bottles

      It is a good idea to send your child with a full, reusable water bottle. We do make routine stops at the water fountains, but it does get hot during the summer and your child will be running around outside for most of the day.

      Separation Anxiety and Camp

      It is perfectly normal for young children to be anxious about camp. If this is your child’s first time away from you for the day, or if you know your child tends to have a difficult time with separation, it is helpful to prepare them for the experience prior to the first day of camp. Tell them about some of the fun things they will be doing, and assure them that you will be there to pick them up at the end of the day.

      Please keep in mind that during sign-in, you will need to sign your camper in and leave. If your child is upset, you will not be able to sit with them and their group.

      Most campers, even the ones that have a difficult time at sign in, love camp. You are always welcome to call the office during the camp day to make sure your camper is doing alright, and you can be assured that we will call you if there is an issue.

      Lunch Package

      Zoo Camp lunch is available for purchase with your Zoo Camp registration. Lunches are prepared by the Zoo’s restaurant, the Ridley-Tree, and will be delivered to your camper at lunch time.

      Pricing:

      • Lunch packages are available by the week for Summer Camp for $50/week.
      • If you forget your child’s lunch, a single-day lunch option is available for $10/meal.

      Entrees include:

      • Pepperoni or Cheese Pizza
      • Spaghetti
      • Cheese Quesadilla
      • Hamburger Sliders
      • Chicken Nuggets

      All meals include fruit and a choice of milk, juice, or water to drink.

      Menu items may change depending on availability and demand.

      Please note that you do not have the option to order particular meals. One vegetarian meal and one non-vegetarian meal will be served each day. We do not recommend purchasing Zoo Camp lunch for picky eaters. If your child refuses to eat their lunch, we will not provide another meal, and you will not be refunded for the uneaten lunch.

      When you purchase Zoo Camp lunch, you have a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian meals. This selection may not be changed during the week.

      We do not recommend ordering Zoo Camp lunch for children with food allergies. Most vegetarian meals include dairy products.

      Zoo Camp Frequently Asked Questions

      Every camp day includes:

      • hands-on science activity
      • games
      • crafts
      • snack time
      • lunch
      • up-close animal encounter, animal feeding opportunity, or animal enrichment experience
      • guided tour of part of the Zoo

      Every camp week includes:

      • giraffe feeding
      • playground time
      • train ride
      • 1st grade and up – behind-the-scenes experience
      • once per season – free t-shirt

      What will my child do all day at Zoo Camp?

      Zoo Camp is a full day of fun on Zoo grounds. Your child will be introduced to the world of animals and science. Zoo Camp has age-appropriate themed programs including games, up-close animal encounters, hands-on science, along with crafts and songs.

      What do the animal names mean? If my child is a “gorilla” will they just be learning about gorillas?

      The animal names are a fun way to identify the different age groups. In the section of the website for your child’s age group, you can read a synopsis of what they’ll be learning about for the week.

      What is the counselor to camper ratio?

      The counselor to camper ratio varies with age and registration. Our average group size is around eight campers to one counselor. Pre-school groups are generally smallest and the oldest camp groups are generally largest. The staff:child ratio is typically around 1:10 for our camp groups. Each group also has teenage volunteers who help to supervise campers.

      Is there a nap time?

      We do not have a designated nap time. For the younger campers, we do have quieter activities where campers can rest. There is also a designated quiet time for younger campers at the beginning of extended day.

      Do you provide a snack?

      We provide a snack daily. If your child has a food allergy, we suggest you pack a snack for your camper and give it to his or her counselor in the morning.

      What is your cancellation policy?

      All cancellations must be made in writing, clearly stating your request to cancel a specified week. Cancellations received 15 or more full days before the reserved Camp date will receive a 90% refund. Cancellations received 7-14 full days before the reserved Camp date will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received less than 7 full days before the reserved Camp date are not eligible for a refund. There are no exceptions to this cancellation policy. Please call (805) 962-5339 x154 if you do not receive a confirmation of your cancellation within 7 days.

      How do I know what camp my child should be in?

      Please sign your child up according to their age during camp. For the benefit of your child and the other campers, children will only be allowed in groups appropriate for their age.

      Do you have a multiple child discount?

      We do not offer a multiple child discount. We do offer a discount for Santa Barbara Zoo members.

      Can you hold a spot for my camper?

      We cannot hold a spot for your camper. The best way to guarantee a spot is to register online.

      Do you have scholarships available for Summer Zoo Camp?

      The Santa Barbara Zoo works with the Santa Barbara Police Activities League (PAL) to provide scholarships to low income families. Visit the PAL website for more information!

      Do you have scholarships available for Fall, Winter, or Spring Zoo Camp?

      At this time, we do not have a scholarship program for Fall, Winter, or Spring Zoo Camp.

      Do I get a refund if my child is sick?

      No. We do not give refunds for children that are unable to attend camp because they are sick.

      Do I get a refund if my child 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.

      Where do I sign my camper in and out for Summer Zoo Camp?

      Standard Day Summer Zoo Camp sign-in and sign-out occurs in the Zoo parking lot, to your right as you approach the entrance. Sign-in for all campers begins at 9:00 a.m. Sign-out is at 12:00 for half-day campers and 3:00 p.m. for full-day campers.

      Where do I sign my camper in and out for Spring and Winter Zoo Camp?

      Winter/Spring Zoo Camp sign-in is in the Zoo parking lot, to the right of the front gate. Winter/Spring Zoo Camp sign out is at the large electric gate to the left of the main entrance to the Zoo. Sign-in for all campers begins at 9:00 a.m. Sign-out is at 12:00 for half-day campers and 3:00 p.m. for full-day campers.

      Where do I go if I arrive late to camp in the morning?

      If you arrive after our designated check-in time, please check in at the front gate. They will send you to the Education Offices to sign your camper in. Please note that this process will take longer than regular sign-in. We appreciate your cooperation.

      What happens if I need to pick my child up early?

      If you would like to pick up your child at a time other than the designated pick-up time, please go to the front gate. They will direct you to our Education Offices. Once you sign your child out in the office, your child will be brought to meet you there. Please note, this process does take more time. If you would like to take your child before Standard Day sign-out, please arrive prior to 2:15 p.m. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

      What happens if I’m late picking up my child from Summer Zoo Camp?

      At 3:30 p.m., all campers who have not been signed out will be sent to Extended Day. A fee of $15 for every 15 minutes will be charged for late pick-ups. When you arrive, you will be directed to the Education Offices to sign out your camper.

      What happens if I’m late picking up my child from Winter Zoo Camp, Spring Zoo Camp, or Extended Day?

      After pick-up, any remaining campers will wait with camp staff at the front of the Zoo. A fee of $15 for every 15 minutes will be charged for late pick-ups.

      Can teenagers under 18 sign out campers?

      No. Anyone signing out a child must be 18 and over and be authorized by the parent/guardian. They MUST show a photo I.D., no exceptions.

      At sign-in, it looked like my child was in a large group. Do they stay in that large group?

      No. To facilitate the sign in process, we frequently put several groups together during sign-in and sign-out. These groups will be divided into smaller groups at the beginning of the camp day. Feel free to talk to your counselor about the size of your child’s particular group.

      My child really wants to be in the same group as their friend. How can I make sure this happens?

      At sign-in, let your counselor know who you would like your child to be grouped with. They will do their best to make sure that those campers are in the same group. Grouping requests cannot be guaranteed, or made in advance. Campers can not be grouped with children in different age groups.

      Does my child have to wear a Zoo Camp shirt everyday?

      Yes, we need all campers to wear their Zoo Camp shirts on a daily basis. This helps us recognize the campers and is for their own safety during camp. The Zoo Camp shirt does not change from year to year, so if you have Zoo Camp shirts from previous years, your child is welcome to wear those to camp.

      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. If you would like to eat lunch with your child, you must sign them out, eat lunch outside of the Zoo Camp lunch area, and then sign them back in for the rest of the afternoon.

      What does the Zoo consider potty-trained?

      According to the Zoo, if your child is potty-trained they will need no assistance at all in the restroom. We understand that accidents happen, but all campers must be potty-trained to attend camp. We cannot change diapers or clothes for your child.

      What happens if my child has a potty accident? Can you change their clothes?

      If your child has a potty accident, they will be brought to our Education Office. We will notify you of the accident and ask that you come with a change of clothes and change your camper. We can not assist with the changing of clothes.

      Can you apply sunscreen for my child?

      We suggest you apply sunscreen for your child before coming to camp. If you would like us to apply sunscreen, you must give us consent on Monday morning and send sunscreen with your child. The Zoo does not supply sunscreen for campers.

      My child has food allergies, what should I be aware of?

      If your child has a food allergy, we highly suggest you do not order Zoo lunch. Please pack a lunch for your child. We also suggest that you pack a snack for your child and give it to the counselor in the morning. Also make sure that you list their food allergy under the medical alerts section of your registration.

      What if I forget to pack a lunch for my child?

      If your child does not have a lunch, you have two options. You can drop off lunch at the front gate of the Zoo by 11:00 a.m. with your child’s name and age. If you would like the Zoo to provide lunch, you will be charged $10 for a one-day camp lunch.

      Where is your lost and found?

      All lost and found items for camp will be in the Administration Office located in the front courtyard of the Zoo, next to the Gift Store. You should also check with your child’s counselor at sign out to see if the item was accidentally left in their lunch bin.

      Will my child be photographed during camp?

      Maybe. By registering your child for Zoo Camp, you authorize the Santa Barbara Zoo to use your camper’s name and photograph for education and public relation purposes. You may request to not have these photographs used.

      What if my child doesn’t like camp?

      Most campers love Zoo Camp and beg to come back again! On the very rare occasion that your camper does not have a good time, we are happy to try to put them in different groups with different counselors if possible, and to work with their counselor to try and make their experience more enjoyable.