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Kids & Families

Camp Zoofari

Camp Zoofari is an immersive experience for children ages 6-14. Campers explore the Zoo, meet our animals and make new friends while learning about wildlife and how to protect them in the wild.

Camp Dates & Hours

Drop Off: 8:45 – 9:15 am
Pick Up: 3:45 – 4:15 pm
June 6-10 July 11-15
June 13-17 July 18-22
June 20-24 July 25-29
June 27-July 1 August 1-5

August 8-12 – A special session of All Access camp for campers ages 10-14. See below for more details.

Important Information

Cost: Starting at $330/week. Please see individual topics for prices.

Activities and interactions are tailored to your camper’s age. Every topic includes opportunities to interact directly with a variety of Zoo staff, meet animals up close and personal, explore staff-only areas, feed giraffes, ride the carousel, and more!

For camper and staff safety, all drop-off and pick-up will occur curb side. For a full list of safety considerations, please see our “Changes to Camp” section below.

Registration Information

Registration is now closed.

6-7 Year-Olds - SOLD OUT

A camp all about animal poop! Who dung it? What’s that smell? You may be surprised how much a #2 can tell us about an animal’s health, lifestyle, and favorite snacksCampers will learn all this and more while exploring the field of scatology.

Price: $330

Offered every week of camp SOLD OUT

Faster than a racing cheetah, stronger than a crash of rhinos…it’s animal ZOOperheroes! Campers will identify superhero traits that mirror their wild animal counterparts and use this knowledge to create their own ultimate superhero characters. Superheroes inspire us to greatness and campers will learn to take steps to become superheroes to animals everywhere!

Price: $330

Offered every week of camp SOLD OUT

Which animal can outlast them all? This camp explores the survival strategies of nature’s hardiest creatures and tasks campers with identifying super survivors across the world’s harsh climates and changing landscapes. Some animals have short-term success being fast, strong, or bold, but others stand the test of time and have endured for thousands of years. Campers will put their learning into action by designing their very own Animal Survivor that can live anywhere!

Price: $330

Offered every week of camp SOLD OUT

8-9 Year-Olds

Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Our animal counterparts can make it look easy, whether trekking through the jungle, scaling mountains, or swimming through the seas. Join us as we delve into the realm of animal adaptations and pick up some survival skills along the way! 

Price: $330

Offered every week of camp SOLD OUT

Do you know what it takes to build a zoo? From deciding what animals to house, to creating life-like habitats and ensuring the animals are well cared for, maintaining a Zoo is hard work! Campers will learn about all the elements of conservation-driven Zoos and their missions while building their own zoo models. 

Price: $330

Offered each week of camp

 

Super solvers, we need your help! Do you have what it takes to design an exhibit for a sloth with arthritis? What about creating a splint strong enough to support a giraffe’s leg? In the wild, how would you help protect elephant habitat while ensuring farmers crops are protected as well? In this camp, campers will explore various challenges facing Zoo and Conservation organizations and test their creative skills as they design solutions to real world challenges.

Price: $330

Offered each week of camp

 

10-14 Year-Olds - SOLD OUT

Do you have an aspiring vet in the family?  This camp will explore all the responsibilities of our veterinary team, including their work to save animals around the world.  Campers will explore the education, internships and experience that goes into becoming a veterinary professional.  This camp includes a tour of our vet clinic and activities designed to simulate vet care Please note:  Campers will not assist with veterinary care of Zoo animals and may or may not be able to observe care being given.

Price: $500

Offered the weeks of: June 6-10, June 20-24, July 11-15, & July 25-29 SOLD OUT

 

Who works at the zoo? Is it just zookeepers? Explore the various people and positions required to run a zoo and connect with some of the professionals around the world that the zoo works with to promote animal conservation in the wild.   

Cost: $500

Offered the weeks of: June 13-17, June 27-July 1, July 18-22, & August 1-5 SOLD OUT

 

 

Has your camper dreamed of encountering the Houston Zoo animals and staff up-close and personal? In this immersive camp, your camper will be led by our full-time education staff and visit a behind-the-scenes animal section every day. Campers will get the inside scoop on animal stories, what it’s like to work at a Zoo, and even travel around the Zoo using staff-only access areas! Animal experiences will vary based on animal and staff availability but could include visiting Hoofed Mammals, Reptiles, Ambassador Animals, Sea Lions, Birds, and Pantanal. Backlot areas may include animal nutrition, horticulture, theming workshops, the recycling center, and more. please note: Not every encounter involves touching or feeding. 

 Cost: $1000

Offered the week of August 8-12 SOLD OUT

Changes to Camp

Houston Zoo Safety

For information on the safety standards currently used by the Houston Zoo, please visit the “Zoo’s ticketing” page.

Both the Houston Zoo policies and Camp Zoofari policies are informed by current recommendations from local, state, federal health officials, agencies, and authorities, including CDC guidelines. As such, these policies may shift or change. Any changes or additions to Camp Zoofari safety procedures will be emailed to all registered families.

For any questions or additional information, please contact our Camp Zoofari Team by emailing education@houstonzoo.org or calling at 713-533-6739.

Updated Safety Procedures

The Houston Zoo continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and follow the recommendations of local health officials and the CDC.

  • Camp Zoofari will follow the Zoo’s current mask policy: Per CDC guidelines, masks are strongly encouraged for all guests inside Zoo buildings. Child-sized masks will be available for any campers that would like one. Camp staff can remind campers who have masks of situations when they may wish to wear their mask but will not enforce mask usage.
  • Capacities have been reduced.
  • Camp groups will be distanced from one another while in camp spaces and encouraged to maintain distance from general Zoo guests while on grounds.
  • Each camp will function as a pod, remaining separate from other camp groups.
  • Access to camp spaces will be limited to Houston Zoo staff and campers. All drop-off and pick-up for campers will occur curb-side to help maintain the integrity of our camp spaces.
  • Camp games and activities, outside of Zoo tours, will occur in camp specific spaces.
  • Camp spaces will undergo a thorough daily cleaning, with supplies sanitized as they are used.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there extended camp hours?

Camp is only offered during the timeframes outlined above, there is no option for an extended camp day. If you are looking to drop off a camper late or pick up early, please contact us at education@houstonzoo.org

Are there scholarships available for Camp Zoofari?

Camp Zoofari does award need-based scholarships for its summer program. All applicants are asked to complete the appropriate surveys below. Scholarship applications are due by March 14, and will be awarded beginning March 21. To be considered a complete application, candidates must have a camper application as well as a submission from one of their teachers. This requirement does not apply to any candidate applying from a school currently participating in the School Partner Program.

Camper Application (English)

Camper Application (Español)

Teacher Application

How will drop-off and pick-up work?

A lane will be designated for drop-off and pick-up. Each car will pull up to be met by camp staff, who will screen each vehicle and escort campers into our Education Center. For the safety of our staff and campers, we are asking all caregivers to remain in their vehicle during this process. In advance of each camp week, a welcome video will be sent with additional camp information and a map showing where to go upon arrival.

Additionally, families are invited to park in Lot G and walk up to our camp gate. Caregivers will not be admitted beyond the camp gate to maintain the integrity of the camp space.

Can I pick up my child early?

We plan our days to make full use of our time. As such, pickup and drop-off outside of normal hours may lead to missed activities for your camper.

We will do our best to accommodate pick-up and drop-off outside of normal hours, though we cannot accommodate early pick-up between 11:15-12:45 or between 3:00 -3:45.

Please contact education@houstonzoo.org to arrange alternate pick-up or drop-off times.

What will a regular day look like for my camper?

A regular camp day varies by theme, but will include tours throughout the Zoo. Information and stories will be shared that relate to each camp’s theme. Games and activities will further support each theme. Throughout the week, campers will have visits from our Animal Ambassadors, as well as opportunities to feed the giraffes and ride the carousel. Every topic will also include at least one visit to a staff-only area of the Zoo. The days for these activities vary based on camper age.

 

Who will be supervising my camper?

Our camp staff, or Camp Guides, come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are experienced in working with kids in science and nature exploration. We select our camp staff based on their educational experience and scientific background. Many of our camp educators are full-time teachers during the year. They are supported each season with our teenage program participants, the Zoo Crew.

Both Guides and Zoo Crew undergo training ahead of each camp season on topics including animal information, positive behavior management techniques, critical and scientific thinking, and Zoo procedures.

Camp Zoofari operates under a Single Skill Exemption from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Camp Zoofari is not a child-care facility, day care center, or licensed before- or after-school program. Risks associated with participating in Camp Zoofari may include, but are not limited to, trips and falls, insect bites, heat exposure, splinters, and minor first aid injuries resulting from supervised outdoor play.

Can I register my camper for a topic/group outside of their age group?

Each topic is developed with age-appropriate techniques and measures. As such, age requirements are not negotiable and are strictly enforced. Campers must fall within the specified age category on the first day of the camp session they are attending.  We divide the campers by their birthdate into smaller groups for Zoo tours and activities.

Is there a cancellation policy?

Due to the high demand for camp spaces, all sales are considered final. Patrons who provide a written notice of cancellation to education@houstonzoo.org on or before May 1 will receive a 50% refund of their camp registration fees. No refunds will be issued after this date, including participants who miss all or partial programs due to illness. T-shirt purchases are not refundable. The Houston Zoo reserves the right to cancel any program due to minimum enrollment, inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances, in which case a full refund will be issued. Cancellations are official upon receipt of confirmation from the Houston Zoo.

What should my camper bring each day?

You must bring the following:

Camp shirt (provided per week of registration)
Close-toes shoes
Mask
Reusable water bottle
Lunch

You may want to also bring:

Weather-appropriate gear like hats, coats, rain coats, sunglasses, etc.
Sunscreen or bug spray. Please apply before dropping off your camper.  We are not able to apply.
Camera for older campers.

Does my camper need to wear their camp shirt each day?

Yes, a camp t-shirt must be worn each day of Camp Zoofari. One shirt is included in the registration fee per week.  You may purchase additional shirts at the time of registration for $20 apiece. Sizes are Youth XS (2-4), S (6-8), M (10-12), L (14-16), and Adult S, M, and L. If you are unsure of what size to order, please order a size larger to allow room for your camper to grow.

What do you do in the event of severe weather?

If Houston Zoo is open, Camp Zoofari is operating. To determine if camp is in session, please visit the Houston Zoo main page. Any closings will be announced on the homepage of our website. Closings will also be communicated via the Houston Zoo Facebook page. Please send campers in appropriate weather gear each day.

In the event of severe weather while campers are on grounds, they will be escorted into our indoor camp spaces. Activity times will shift to allow campers to continue to enjoy their day while waiting for the worst of the weather to pass.

What have previous campers shared about the Camp Zoofari experience?

“He said that it was his favorite camp. He said, “Zoo camp makes everything better!” Wow! Quite a statement from him”

“This was her first Camp Zoofari – and she loved every minute, couldn’t wait to go back each day. She feels like she is a “zoo expert” now, which is fantastic!”

“My daughter LOVES Zoo Camp!! She chatters non stop about everything she learns each day. She is never this talkative and excited about other things. She is a walking, talking animal referencer book. We are recycling now and doing outside projects based on her interest from what she has learned.”

How can I get in contact with you?

To contact any members of our Camp Zoofari team, please email education@houstonzoo.org or call us at 713-533-6739.