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Camp Zoofari: Policies

Camp Zoofari Policies

Cancellations
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 October 22 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. Before camp fees and 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.

Rescheduling
There will be a rescheduling fee of $35 per camper per topic or date change. Requests must be made in writing to education@houstonzoo.org. Changes are subject to availability. Camp registration is not transferrable between campers.

Before Camp Program

Due to the change in TXU Presents Zoo Lights operating hours, we are no offering an after-camp program during any of the fall/winter camps. Before Camp Program allows you to drop off a camper 1 ¼ hour before the regular camp day.

Please pay careful attention to the Gate 8 opening hours below.  We are not able to open or hold the Gate outside these hours.

7:30AM-7:45AM      Before Camp Program
8:45AM – 9:15AM   Regular Camp Registration
3:45PM -4:15PM      Camp day ends for all campers

Cost is $15/day for before camp when adding them at the time of registration.  Day of camp purchases are allowed.  The cost is $20.

Before camp program is not daycare.  These programs are delivered on Zoo grounds. There is a window of only 15 minutes when the Gate is open for dropping off and picking up.  This is different than the regular camp day, which allows a 30-minute window.

There is no After Camp Program offered during School Break Camps due to the schedule of TXU Presents Zoo Lights.

Emergency Contacts and Authorized Individuals
If you are the parent/guardian of the camper and plan to pick up your child every day, you will need to list your name in the emergency contact section when registering. If you are not picking up your child, add all those approved to pick up your child in the emergency contacts of your registration. Please provide the person’s full, legal name and not their nickname on their photo identification. The name on the roster must match the exact spelling and name photo ID. If you’re not sure who will be picking up your child daily, you will have the opportunity to include additional names on the pickup list when you drop off your camper each day. For the safety of your camper, this policy will be followed to ensure no unauthorized individuals try to remove your camper from Camp Zoofari.

Photo Identification and Sign-In/Out
To comply with State of Texas regulations and for the safety and protection of campers, we require a photo ID (name and photo BOTH on a plastic printed card i.e. driver’s license, school ID, credit card w/ photo, work ID, or passport) presented to the camp teacher when signing your child out at the end of the day. The name printed on the ID must match the name on the roster. For safety reasons, our staff are not allowed to make assumptions about nicknames. This procedure will occur every day, every time you pick up your camper. If you forget your identification in your vehicle, you will be asked to retrieve your ID before you can sign your camper out. For the safety of our campers, there are NO exceptions to this policy and we ask that you assist us in making check-out safe and seamless by carrying your ID at all times and passing this information along to anyone approved by you to pick up your camper. Thank you for your cooperation!

You may park in the Hermann Park main parking lot or the old golf course parking lot across the street from the Zoo. These free lots are for the use of the entire Hermann Park and Museum District area, as well as the Medical Center. Unauthorized vehicles parking in the handicapped spaces or loading zones in front of Gate 8 may be ticketed. The Houston Zoo is NOT responsible for paying fines received.

Immunizations (or Affidavits of Exemption)
Camp Zoofari is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services and requires immunization records/affidavits of exemption for all campers. All parents/guardians will be required to acknowledge our policy of providing an immunization record or affidavit of exemption from immunizations at the time of purchase of camp. You will not be able to advance any further in the check-out process until you click the acknowledgement box.

All campers must have updated documents on record each year in order to attend camp. No exceptions will be made for this policy. If a record or affidavit is not received by/on the first day of camp, the camper will not be permitted to participate. If you will be submitting an affidavit, you can find more information at https://webds.dshs.state.tx.us/immco/

You can submit your immunization records/affidavits in the following manners:

  1. Email: education@houstonzoo.org
  2. Bring them to an Open House event. Open Houses are May 10 and 15 from 5-7 p.m. in the Brown Conservation Education Center at the Zoo.
  3. Bring them with you on the first day of camp.

No Cell Phone Policy at Camp Zoofari
Camp Zoofari is a high-energy experience filled with fun, interactive activities. We want your child to enjoy their experience connecting to nature and wildlife so we ask you to please refrain from sending your child to camp with a cell phone.

If you need to speak with your child during camp hours, please call our Education Office at 713-533-6379. We will be happy to have your child speak with you.

Should a situation arise at camp in which your child needs to speak with you or you need to be notified of a concern regarding your child such as an illness, we will contact you using the emergency contact information you provided. On Monday morning, please check your child’s roster to verify the emergency contact information provided during registration is correct. Please be sure to provide us with a phone number that will be answered during the camp day.

Waitlist Policy

The waitlist is not the same as registration.  Once a camp has filled, a waitlist will open via a link.  You are welcome to sign up for a waitlist, but this does not guarantee you will have a spot in a camp.

You will be notified by email if a waitlist spot opens and spaces will be sold as first come, first served.  If you are not notified by email, you are not registered for a camp.

In the event enough waitlist spots are requested to allow us to add another camp session, all waitlists will be contacted and given 24 hours to register before we open the camp to additional outside registrants.  If you have two campers be sure they both are either on the waitlist or registered, if you want them attending the same camp.  All waitlists will be closed or converted to new camp sessions by November 1.

Camper Requirements
Camp Zoofari is a program designed for children who can remain in a group setting without parental involvement. In addition to age requirements, campers must be:
• Toilet trained
• Able to use public restrooms without assistance
• Able to spend at least 4.5 hours of the camp day outside, walking around the Zoo

We are happy to accommodate campers with sensory processing challenges or special needs as long as they do not interfere with the health and safety of other campers or the animals in our care.  Please contact our offices before registering to discuss any needs your camper may have to determine if Camp Zoofari is right for your camper.