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Kids & Families

Camp Zoofari

Camp Zoofari is an immersive experience for children ages 6-12. Campers will get to 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

November Camp Dates: Nov. 21-23
December Camp Dates: Dec. 22-23, Dec. 26-30
January Camp Dates: Jan. 2-6

Member registration opens on Tuesday, Oct. 4
Non-member registration opens on Tuesday, Oct. 11

Interested in early access to registration? Become a member today.

 

Important Information

Cost: $90/day. Each topic, while part of an overarching theme, is designed to allow day to day participation. Campers may register for the whole session or for individual days.

Activities and interactions are tailored to your camper’s age. Every topic includes opportunities to interact directly with a variety of Zoo staff, and daily offerings may include meeting animals up close and personal, exploring staff-only areas, feeding giraffes, riding the carousel, and more!

For camper and staff safety, all drop-off and pick-up will occur curb side.

Registration Information

Registration is now open. Please note that if a camp is sold out, a waitlist option will appear until the waitlist is full. All waitlists will be cleared on Nov 1.

Register now

November Camps

Does your food crunch or squish, taste sweet or salty? Campers will explore the world of food through the lens of the diets of our Zoo animals as they learn about their nutritional needs.

Price: $90/day

Offered: 11/21, 11/22, 11/23 – SOLD OUT

What animal eats the most? Who can go the longest without food? These are a few of the questions campers will answer as they explore the science behind animal diets.

Price: $90/day

Offered: 11/21

11/22, 11/23 – SOLD OUT

Campers will investigate the eccentric eaters of the animal kingdom, the sanguivores, ovivores, frugivores, and more, in addition to the more common-place eaters like the herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 11/22

11/21, 11/23 – SOLD OUT

December Camps

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 12/22, 12/23 – Each day is a unique offering
12/26, 12/27, 12/28, 12/29, 12/30 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 12/22, 12/23 – Each day is a unique offering
12/26, 12/27, 12/28, 12/29, 12/30 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 12/22, 12/23 – Each day is a unique offering
12/26, 12/27, 12/28, 12/29, 12/30 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

January Camps

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

 

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

 

 

Celebrate animals and show you care with this festive holiday camp. In many cultures, gift giving is a way to express love and appreciation. Just like we enjoy receiving presents, our animals do, too! Each day, we’ll surprise some of our favorite Zoo residents with thoughtful, camper-made gifts in the form of enrichment!

Price: $90/day

Offered: 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6 – Thursday and Friday are a repeat of Monday & Tuesday

Frequently Asked Questions

If my camper attends multiple sessions of Gifts for Animals, will they do different things each day?

Each Monday-Wednesday is a unique offering. For “Gifts for Animals” camps offered on Thursday’s and Friday’s, theming and Zoo visits will repeat experiences offered on Monday and Tuesday. If a camper attends in December and January, the January experiences will mirror the opportunities from December.

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.

Applications for summer scholarships will be available early 2023

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. Each day, campers will have visits from our Animal Ambassadors, as well as opportunities to feed the giraffes or ride the carousel. Access to staff-only areas will vary based on date and staff availability, though each day will include unique, camp-only experiences.

 

Are masks required to participate in Camp Zoofari?

Per CDC guidelines, masks are strongly encouraged for all guests inside Zoo buildings. The Zoo continues to strongly encourage everyone to exercise safe social distancing in crowded situations, regardless of their vaccination status.

Since COVID-19 began, we have steadfastly followed the recommendations of local health officials and the CDC. Because of the widespread availability of vaccines in the greater Houston area, and because the Zoo is a sprawling outdoor venue with abundant space to allow for safe social distancing, we feel that this step is in line with the new CDC guidelines.

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 November 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
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.
Mask
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 weekly session (one for November camps, one for December camps, one for January camps).  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.