What kinds of creatures live in a pond? Is it true that snakes are slimy? How do you tell what an animal eats by looking at its teeth? Discover answers to these and many other questions at Zoo Camp through various opportunities and activities designed specifically for hands-on exploration. When possible, close encounters with live animals (like the one pictured here) allow for unique learning opportunities where personal connections and lasting impressions can be made.
According to weekly themes, a variety of "biofacts' and 'touchables," (furs, feathers, skulls) are incorporated into our programs to allow for visual, hands-on learning and to further enhance understanding of various concepts.
Pond studies, terrestrial insect hunts and interpretive nature hikes further allow children to explore and experience nature right in their own backyards, learning to recognize various forms of wildlife and understand the important connections that each one has in the world around us. Whether it be touching a snake, an insect crawling across your hand or coming face to face with a frog in the pond, our aim is to help campers feel comfortable and "connect" with nature, inspiring them to develop an understanding and genuine respect for wild faces and wild places.
As a special highlight to the week at Zoo Camp, each group receives at least one special "behind the scenes" tour or encounter. As a camper you will have an opportunity to go places where most people don't get to go, or see an animal just a little bit closer. Get the latest information on your favourite animal(s) as keepers, curators and other knowledgeable zoo staff members share their insight on animal behaviours, management and research / conservation projects. Whether it is a visit to the Animal Nutrition Centre to find out how specific diets are prepared for all our animal residents or seeing where the lions sleep at night it's sure to be an amazing experience!
Another unique opportunity for many zoo campers is the chance to assist in enrichment, through the creation of items designed to stimulate natural behaviours in animals or promote social interaction. Specific enrichment projects campers have been involved in are: fruit-sicles for the orangutans, veggie wraps for the meerkats, even a pair of fruit filled blue jeans for the marmosets to search through the pockets and cuffs. Campers find it just as much fun making the items as it is presenting them to the animal(s) and seeing how they react!
Strolling through the Savanna, wandering through the outback of Australia, hiking to the Canadian Domain or zooming by on the Zoomobile- Zoo campers are here, there, everywhere, proudly distinguished by their special Zoo Camp t-shirt!
Throughout the course of the week, campers will tour all corners of the globe exploring animals in their exhibits, listening to keeper talks, hearing entertaining animal stories and learning fun facts from knowledgeable Zoo staff, all relating to their weekly wildlife theme. From antelopes - to zebras, Zoo Camp provides children with the opportunity quench their thirst for animal knowledge and inspire them towards becoming environmentally conscious citizens.
On any given day while touring the Zoo you never know what you'll see, hear or even smell! Discover the lasting impressions that REAL wildlife can have on you!
Laughter, singing and entertaining recounts of animal encounters abound as children partake in a week of adventure, learning and fun at Zoo Camp. "Everywhere we go", "Aaaa-lli-gator", the "Moose song", all familiar sounds of summer that echo through the Zoo.
Nearly 2,000 children attend summer day camp at the Toronto Zoo each year. Unlike other camp settings, Zoo Campers are surrounded by 710 acres of nature including over 5,000 animal species and 2,500 forms of plant life from around the world. Each week of camp is based on an exciting topic with activities specifically designed for various age categories.
Not only will children have a wild time learning about animals, but a variety of traditional camp songs and nature / animal related games help to round out the experience, combining learning with fun and social interaction. Amazing animal facts, camp songs, games and friends -the perfect combination for great camp memories that will last a lifetime!
I am writing to let you know that my son Karl, who attended Zoo Camp, had a very positive experience. We found his counsellors to be excellent and hope that they are his counsellors again next year. This is the second time that Karl has attended Zoo Camp and it is definitely worth the trip from Ottawa. Once again, thank you.
This past summer two of our grandchildren, Zacary and Molly, attended summer Zoo Camp. Zacary was in Explorers and Molly was part of the Adventurers group. To say they had a marvellous experience is to understate it. Zacary couldn't wait to go to Camp; did not want to leave and still talks of his experiences. He wants to be a Zoo Volunteer, study at university and become an animal keeper or veterinarian. If he had his way, he would care for Musk oxen 24 hours a day.
Molly's reaction was equally passionate and intense. She has developed an environmental ethic and has an amazing knowledge of nature in general thanks to her two years of summer Zoo Camp experiences.
Your choice of staff and their development of curriculum really hit the mark, making a striking impact on our grandchildren and many other young people too, if the enthusiasm at the 'pick-up point' was any indication.
Thanks again to the summer camp staff for a memorable and transforming experience for young people. Congratulations on your success! Best of luck in your future planning for kids.
This summer my five year old son participated in the Zoo Camp program for the first time. He had the greatest time and has learned so much about the Zoo and its animals. The staff all did an excellent job and should be commended for their hard work and dedication. My son is already looking forward to Zoo Camp next year and so am I. I just wanted to let everyone at the Zoo know what a great program you have and what an excellent job you are doing with it.
I just wanted to let you know how much my three kids (ages 8, 9 and 12) loved their week at Zoo Camp. Everyday they went on and on about all the things they learned. They were so excited to get there and they were actually ready and waiting for me in the morning! Thank you so much and we'll see you next year for camp and of course sooner for visits at the Zoo.