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Zoo Camp

Zoo Camp is for ages 3–12 and offers kids the opportunity to be outside and learn all about animals and the world around us.

Traditional Zoo Camp is offered in spring, summer, fall, and winter sessions and includes hands-on science activities, games, crafts, snacks and lunchtime, up-close animal encounters (feeding opportunity or animal enrichment experience), and a guided Zoo tour. Specialty camps are offered in the summer session.


Spring Zoo Camp
March 25  – 29

Summer Zoo Camp
June 17  – August 16
no camp on Independence Day, July 4

Registration for spring and summer Zoo Camp NOW OPEN.

Fall Zoo Camp
November 25 – 27 and 29
no camp on Thanksgiving, November 28

Winter Zoo Camp
Week 1: December 16 – 20
Week 2: December 23 – 24 and 26 – 27
no camp on Christmas Day, December 25
Week 3: December 30 – 31 and January 2 – 3
no camp on New Year’s Day, January 1

Registration for fall and winter Zoo Camps opens Monday, September 9 at 10 AM.

Summer Zoo Camp: Full Day

June 17 – August 16
no camp on Independence Day, July 4

9 AM – 3 PM, $375/week, $325/week for SB Zoo Members

Traditional Zoo Camp offers hands-on science activities, a guided Zoo tour, crafts, and up-close animal encounters. For ages 3–12.

This Camp is sold out. Please join the waitlist here.

Summer Zoo Camp: Half Day

June 17 – August 16
no camp on Independence Day, July 4

9 AM – 12 PM, $325/week, $275/week for SB Zoo Members

Traditional Zoo Camp offers hands-on science activities, a guided Zoo tour, crafts, and up-close animal encounters. For ages 3–12.

This Camp is sold out. Please join the waitlist here.

Jr. Zookeeper Camp

Weeks of July 1, July 15, July 29
no camp on Independence Day, July 4

9 AM – 3 PM, $375/week, $325/week for SB Zoo Members

Campers get to be a zookeeper for the week and will assist staff in caring for some of the Zoo’s exotic animals. For ages 8 – 12.

This Camp is sold out. Please join the waitlist here.

Backyard Biologist Camp

Weeks of June 24, July 22

M–W 9 AM – 3 PM, Th & F  3:30 PM–Noon (overnight), $375/week, $325/week for SB Zoo Members

Train as a professional field biologist alongside the Zoo’s conservation team and learn about sustainable stewardship practices. For ages 8 – 12.


Jr. Vet Camp

Weeks of June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5

9 AM – 3 PM, $435/week, $385/week for SB Zoo Members

Live a week in the life of an exotic animal veterinarian when you visit the Zoo’s animal hospital and practice medical procedures. For ages 8 – 12.

This Camp is sold out. Please join the waitlist here.

First-Time Camper Tips

Campers should wear a Santa Barbara Zoo Camp shirt every day and dress appropriately for the weather. Please make sure younger campers’ clothing is easy for them to remove while using the restroom (Zoo staff cannot assist campers in the restroom). Please check lost & found for clothing lost during Zoo Camp.

Closed-toed shoes are required for your child’s safety. If your camper is not wearing closed-toed shoes, they will miss out on behind-the-scenes opportunities.

Snacks and Lunch
Full-day campers will have snack and lunch breaks each day, so please pack a snack and lunch for your camper. Lunch can also be purchased at the Zoo.

Zoo Camp Lunch Menu (served with 2% milk)

Monday: Chicken nuggets, french fries, fruit
Tuesday: Mini corn dogs, french fries, fruit
Wednesday: Grilled cheese, veggie sticks, Goldfish graham cracker cookies
Thursday: Cheeseburger, french fries, fruit
Friday: Pizza, veggie sticks, ranch dressing

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

Water Bottles
Send your camper with a full, reusable water bottle. Routine stops at water fountains are made, but it does get hot during the summer and your child will be outside most of the day.

Zoo Camp Frequently Asked Questions

The Zoo Camp Experience

What will my child do all day at Zoo Camp?
Your child will be introduced to the world of animals and science through age-appropriate themed programs including games, up-close animal encounters, hands-on science, and more.

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.

My child really wants to be in the same group as their friend. How can I make sure this happens?
Requests are not guaranteed and should be made during registration.

We do our best to accommodate group/friend requests based on age and availability to maintain safe camper-to-counselor ratios.  Requests made after the registration process can be submitted to our Zoo Camp team no later than one week before the start of camp.

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.

Do you provide a snack?
We do not provide a snack. Please pack a snack for your camper and a full refillable water bottle each day.

Payment & Registration

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 without payment. 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 Spring, Fall, or Winter Zoo Camp?
At this time, we do not have a scholarship program for Spring, Fall, or Winter Zoo Camp.

Do I get a refund if my child is sick?
No. We do not give refunds for children who 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.

/Sign-Out Procedures

Where do I check my camper in and out?
Check-in and check-out take place in the Zoo parking lot, to the right of the front gate. Sign-in is from 9:00 to 9:20 AM. Sign-out is at 12:00 PM for half-day campers and 3:00 PM 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. Please note that this process will take longer than regular check-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 check-out time, please let us know at check-in or go to the front gate and your child will be brought out to meet you there. Please note, this process does take more time. If you would like to take your child before check-out, please arrive prior to 2:15 PM.

What happens if I’m late picking up my child from Zoo Camp?
After pick-up, any remaining campers will wait with camp staff at the front gate.

Can teenagers under 18 check out campers?
No. Anyone checking 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 check-in, it looked like my child was in a large group. Do they stay in that large group?
No. To facilitate the check-in process, we frequently put several groups together during check-in and check-out. These groups will be divided into smaller groups at the beginning of the camp day.

Zoo Camp Policies

Does my child have to wear a Zoo Camp shirt every day?
Yes, all campers must wear their Zoo Camp shirts on a daily basis. This helps us recognize the campers and is for their own safety during camp. 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 campers. 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?
We define this as needing no assistance at all in the restroom. We understand that accidents happen, but all campers must be potty-trained to attend camp.

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. If the camper has a change of clothes, we can guide them in changing their clothes. If the camper doesn’t have extra clothes, we will notify you and ask that you come with a change of clothes. We can not assist with the changing of clothes.

Can you apply sunscreen for my child?
We suggest you apply sunscreen before your child comes to camp. If you would like us to apply sunscreen, you must give us consent on the first day of camp and send sunscreen with your child. The Zoo does not supply sunscreen for campers.

My child has food allergies, what do I need to know?
If your child has a food allergy, we highly suggest you do not order Zoo lunch and pack a lunch for your child. Please make sure that you list their food allergy under the medical alerts section of your registration and complete the medication authorization form attached to your confirmation email.

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 AM with your child’s name and age. If you would like the Zoo to provide lunch, you will be charged $12 for a one-day camp lunch.

Where is your lost and found?
All lost and found items for camp will be in the Education office. You should also check with your child’s counselor at check-out.

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 relations purposes. You may request to not have these photographs used.

What if my child doesn’t like camp?
We are happy to put your child in a different group to see if that would make their experience more enjoyable.

500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103