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Kids & Families

Camp Zoofari

Camp Zoofari is an immersive experience for children ages 4-14. 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

This year, we are offering school break camps in November and December. Each camp is an individual, single-day experience, around a theme of the week.

Dates:

Nov. 22-24
Dec.  20-22 and Dec. 27-31

Activities and interactions are tailored to your camper’s age. Each day will have different opportunities and experiences. You can send a camper for just one day or as many as you wish!

Hours & Important Information

Drop Off: 8:45 – 9:15 am
Pick Up: 3:45 – 4:15 pm

Cost: $90/day

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.

Camp space this season is limited, register early to reserve your space!

Registration Information

Registration is now open to all guests. Please follow the link below to register:

 

Register Now

November Camps

Zoo Gourmet

Animals have some innovative ways of finding and capturing food in the wild. Here at the Zoo, our keepers and animal nutrition teams have to get just as creative to feed a whole Zoo full of animals. Each day, campers will explore a different facet of animal diets and what it takes to provide tasty, nutritious meals to animals in our care.

What is your favorite food? Campers will compare their favorite foods and flavors to our animal’s diets!

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Nov 22, 23, 24

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.

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Nov 22, 23, 24

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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.

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Nov 22, 23, 24

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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!

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Nov 22, 23, 24

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December Camps

Gifts for Animals

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!

How do you keep a carnivore curious and entice the most senitive sniffers? We’ll show you how!

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Dec. 20, 27, & 30

4-5 Year-Olds: SOLD OUT

*All campers will be split into distinct age groups (4-5 year-olds, 6-7 year-olds, 8-9 year-olds, and 10-14 year-olds). While the topic for the day will stay the same across each pod, campers may visit different parts of the Zoo and participate in varied animal interactions.*

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Creating enriching activities for the largest and strongest of our Zoo animals is no small feat. Come explore with us!

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Dec. 21, & 28

4-5 Year-Olds: SOLD OUT

*All campers will be split into distinct age groups (4-5 year-olds, 6-7 year-olds, 8-9 year-olds, and 10-14 year-olds). While the topic for the day will stay the same across each pod, campers may visit different parts of the Zoo and participate in varied animal interactions.*

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Enrichment design can vary from the tiniest of critters to the largest land mammals. Flex your skills as we build for both!

Cost: $90/day

Dates Offered: Dec. 22, 29, & 31

4-5 Year-Olds: SOLD OUT

*All campers will be split into distinct age groups (4-5 year-olds, 6-7 year-olds, 8-9 year-olds, and 10-14 year-olds). While the topic for the day will stay the same across each pod, campers may visit different parts of the Zoo and participate in varied animal interactions.*

Register Now

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.

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.

  • With camper, staff, and animal safety at the forefront of camp planning, and in accordance with recommendations from the CDC, all campers and staff will be required to wear a mask while indoors.
  • 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. Campers are, however, able to be dropped off late or picked up early. For information regarding these processes, please email us at education@houstonzoo.org

Are there scholarships available for Camp Zoofari?

Camp Zoofari does award need-based scholarships for its summer program. For the single-day opportunities in November and December, scholarships are not available.

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.

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 included 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. 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.

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 8 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 $10 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.