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Camp Zoofari

Virtual Camp Outreach

Since we cannot have camp at the Zoo, we thought we would bring the Zoo to you!

Getting Ready for Camp Zoofari!

Camp Zoofari TV

We’re bringing Camp Zoofari TV to you this summer. Tune in to My20-Houston on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. CST through the end of July! You’ll get to explore the Zoo with Camp Supervisor Nick to learn all about our animals.

Can’t tune in live? Click below to access each week’s episode.

Camp Zoofari TV

National Zoo Keeper Week!

Campers enjoyed celebrating Zoo Keepers for last week’s National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week. Look below to see some of our camper’s submissions.

Zoo Blog Social Media

New to See and Do!

Every Monday, check back for virtual tours through the different areas of the Zoo! Previous videos can be found in the “Past Content” window.

This week, Ms. Leia takes us on a tour of the sea lions! And then she walks us through the mythical world of dragons.



Check back every Wednesday for updated activities! Previous week’s activities can be found with the previous week’s content.

This week, Kate shows a few different ways to beat the heat and cool off with water play! If you create any water art, send us a photo at


Today, Mr. Nick introduces us to a new friend! For other ambassador animals, visit the “Past Content” sections.

Check back every Friday for a variety of content, Camp Guide’s choice. This week, we have another dance party!


In order to have virtual camp activities, we need to create some virtual campers! To make your camper, click the link below to find the template. You can decorate your camper any way that you wish. Do you want cheetah or jaguar spots? What about zebra stripes? Once you make your camper, either snap a picture and email our way, or send it through the mail. Every virtual camper we receive will have a series of Zoo adventures sent back. We cannot wait to see what adventures your virtual camper will go on!

Virtual Camper Template

Virtual Camper Adventures

Week 1: June 1-5  Stories Photo

Week 2: June 8-12 Stories Photos

Week 3: June 15-19 Stories Photos

Week 4: June 22-26 Stories Photos

Week 5: June 29 – July 3 Stories photos

Week 6: July 6-10 Stories Photos

Week 7: July 13-17 Stories Photos

Week 8: July 20-24 Stories Photos

Week 9: July 27-31 Stories Photos

One of the best things about camp is the chance to make new friends. Having a pen pal is a fun way to get to know someone and to learn more about things that make you curious. With this activity, you can become pen pals with a Zoo expert or your favorite Zoo animal! Do you have a favorite animal that you want to know more about? Do you want to learn what it takes to design toys for an specific animal? Do you want to know one of our Camp Guide’s favorite foods? There are no wrong questions and none that are too silly. Simply write us an email or send us a letter, and we will reach back out! Who does not want to get mail from the Zoo?

Email address: (subject: Pen Pals)


Attn: Camp Zoofari Team
Conservation Education, Houston Zoo
1513 Cambridge
Houston, TX 77030

Past Videos

Week 1: Elephants and Hoofstock

Zoo tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of




tapirs, capybara, anteaters

ankole cattle

Watch Jess make some animal costumes out of recycled materials.
Watch Mr. Nick use the sun to help create pictures of animals through shadow tracing

We want to see your creations! Send us a video or photo to “”

Animal Ambassador:
Meet Blondie the tarantula!
As a bonus, Lainie also was able to show Blondie using her spinnerets!

Friday Fun:
Watch Bennett lead a story safari as he talks about animal talents.
Follow along with our virtual campers’ stories and photos

Week 2: Carnivores and Camouflage

Zoo tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of


More Jaguars

Clouded Leopards



Test your skills at finding animals that are well hidden in our camouflage challenge

Let us know how you did! Send us an email at “” and tell us which animals were the hardest to spot.

Animal Amabassador:
Meet Denver a blue and gold macaw!

Fun Friday:
Sophie and Jonah, the sea lion, teach us the differences between sea lions and seals
Follow along with our virtual campers’ stories and photos

Week 3: Reptile and Amphibian House

Zoo Tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of


The King Cobra

Frogs and Lizards

the komodo Dragon


Learn about being warm- or cold-blooded with this endothermic experiment
Join Mr. Nick on a hunt for reptiles and amphibians in his herpetology hunt
Use this field guide of local reptiles and amphibians on your own herpetology hunt.

Let us know what you find! Send any photos or descriptions to “”

Animal Ambassador:

Meet Iris the rainbow boa!

Fun Friday
Check out a teaser from our first live session of Stump a camp guide
Mr. Nick was stumped 14 times (but he was able to answer 10 other questions)! Check out the “Live Stream” tab for information on our next live session!
Follow along with our virtual campers’ stories and photos

Week 4: Children's Zoo

Zoo Tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of

the Vulture and Porcupine


river otters



Zebu and Llama

Our animals enjoy making art in different ways. After watching them paint, can you paint like an animal?

Share your camper creations! Send us a photo of your works of art and let us know how you made them. Emails can be sent to “”

Animal Ambassador:
Meet Lilly the armadillo

Fun Friday
Bennett leads us on another story safari This week’s story is about animals living together!
We also celebrated the end of the week with Zoo Crew hosting a dance party! Dance along with us to songs by One Direction and Shakira
Follow along with our virtual campers’ stories and photos

Week 5: Wetlands

Zoo Tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of

Sally the Bald Eagle

Whooping Cranes


The wetlands


This week, we are celebrating mud week by turning some mud prints into animal photos. If you make any of your own, be sure to send us a photo at “”

Animal Ambassador:

Meet Leonard the cockroach

Fun Friday:

This week, we helped remove owl boxes at the Nature Discovery Center


Week 6: Natural Encounters

Zoo Tours:
Click on the animal name for a tour of

The River’s Edge

The Rain forest

The River

The Dry lands

The Coral Reef

The Journey’s End


This week, Mr. Nick takes us on a Choose your own adventure mystery around the Zoo. See if you can help him find the clues and discover some fun facts about our animal friends along the way!

Animal Ambassador:

Ms. Leia shares information on Cosmo, the chuckwalla

Fun Friday:

Let’s start our dance party off with the YMCA

And follow it up with What does the fox say




Week 7: Birds

Animal Tours:

Click on the animal for a tour of

Birds of the world

St Vincent’s Amazon

chicken flock

More birds of the world



Jack the carpenter shows us how to build a bird house You can also use the written plans for a cut list and materials.

Also, Ms. Leia shows us how to make some easy bird feeders

Animal Ambassador:

Norman the prehensile-tailed porcupine

Fun Friday Video:

Jack gives us a tour of the carpentry shop

Zoo keeper Steve shows us how he preps the flamingo yard each morning

Week 8: Primates

Animal Tours:

Click on the animal for a tour of

Ring-tailed Lemurs

tamarins and marmosets

crowned lemurs and patas monkeys

De Brazza’s Monkeys and Red Tailed Monkeys

white-cheeked gibbons and siamangs


Ms. Leia teaches how to train your pet

Animal Ambassador:

This week we meet two of our more active ambassadors, Mawson and Tingoora the dingos

Week 9: African Forest

Animal Tours

Click on the animal for a tour of:




giraffe yard

Animal Ambassador:

Ms. Leia introduces us to Spyro the bearded dragon

Weekly Activity:

A Scavenger Hunt with Kate! Scavenger Hunt List

Extra Videos

Mr. Nick creates his own virtual camper.

Mr. Nick finds one of the campers’ favorite animals at the Zoo.

Mr. Nick invites campers to celebrate mud day.

Ms. Leia gets us started with some Mud Day Painting!

Then, Mr. Nick shows how to create animal drawings using mud prints!

Next, Ms. Leia shows us how to create seed balls to help create a pollinator garden!

If you try any of these activities at home, we want to see! Send us a photo or video at “”


Plastic Free July Resources

Plastic Free July 2020

This year, Camp Zoofari is participating in Plastic Free July, a global movement to raise awareness and help reduce plastic usage. We will be providing resources and ideas that you can use in your everyday life to reduce your plastic usage. Check this web page often for new ideas. We’ll be updating it regularly. We will also have a Camp Zoofari Plastic Free July competition where campers can earn points for each of their plastic reduction behaviors.

*Remember, Plastic Free July is not about not using any plastic ever, it’s about making at least one change in your behavior to reduce plastic usage to help protect our environment.

Plastic Free July Competition Rules

To get campers excited about Plastic Free July and encourage everyone to adopt some plastic reduction behaviors, this year we will have a Plastic Free July Camp Zoofari Competition. All campers are eligible to participate. The competition will run from July 1st-31st. Campers will earn points for certain plastic reduction behaviors as listed below and will earn bonus points for completing the weekly challenges as described below. At the end of the month of July the camp family with the most points will win a prize package.

Plastic Free July Challenge Points 

  • 1 point for joining the Plastic Free July challenge on their webpage: Plastic Free July Challenge (forward the confirmation email or send a screenshot to
  • 1 point for each plastic reduction action you have taken that you type out or describe in an email message  
  • 2 points for each photo of a plastic reduction items or action that you have taken
  • 3 points for each additional person you influence to reduce plastic (must send a photo, video, or have THEM email saying what action they’ve taken)  
  • 5 points for each video of you reducing plastic (either doing the action or describing and showing what you’ve done)
  • 5 points for each social media (Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc.) post you make about Plastic Free July and what you are doing to reduce plastics. Send us a link or a screenshot of your post. Be sure to use the tags #plasticfreejuly and #houstonzoo 
  • Bonus points can be earned if you complete the weekly challenges described below
Prize package will include a Houston Zoo reusable bag and water bottle, a reusable straw, and an animal painting. Prizes will be similar to the ones shown above, though the look of the specific items may vary.

Plastic Reduction Weekly Challenge

Week 4 Challenge: Plastic Free Meal

To complete this challenge you must cook a full meal without using any plastic packaging. No ingredient can come in any plastic wrap, plastic packaging, plastic bottles, etc. You also must make sure you do not bring ingredients home in any plastic bags. To earn points send us a photo of all your ingredients before as well as a photos of your completed meal.

If you complete this challenge you’ll earn an extra 15 points!

Week 4 Challenge will be good July 25th – July 31st.

Plastic Reduction Idea of the Day

Make your own Popsicles

On these hot summer days I bet a lot of you are craving a cool frozen treat. A popsicle maybe? Unfortunately, those store bought popsicles are usually wrapped in a plastic film. Not to worry…you can make your own! There are lots of recipes online. You don’t need a bunch of fancy supplies either. You can simply make popsicles using wooden popsicle sticks and a loaf pan. Check out this simple recipe by clicking the picture below:

Plastic Reduction Resource Guide– Created by Hoofstock keeper John and Natural Encounters keeper Sydney. All of the ideas in this resource are meant to be ideas. Trying to adopt all of these behaviors is a big change. The goal of Plastic Free July is not to completely change everything, but to take a few small steps to help change our plastic usage. Remember, every little act adds up!

Michelle from the Children’s Zoo shows us how her team is helping to save animals by participating in Plastic Free July.

Check out Zoo Crew Herbert as he shows how simple it is to get started!

Elephant Keeper Kim shares her Plastic Free July tips!

Meet the Camp Guides

Camp Zoofari Feedback

Help us gather feedback about the Camp Zoofari experience. We will be changing the following question throughout the summer.

Virtual Camp Feedback