Virtual Camp FAQs

What sort of activities will be included in a day of virtual camp?

Each day will follow the same basic schedule so that you and your child will have a predictable routine for the week. This schedule will be detailed in the Virtual Learning Guide in the Virtual Camp Portal. Each day will include an introduction with an activity or game, 1-2 animal encounters in the classroom, virtual hikes through the zoo, a snack and bathroom breaks, and will end with a craft or project. 

What platform will you be using for virtual camp?

We will be using Zoom as our platform for meeting each day. The link to a private meeting room is shared in the Virtual Camp Portal. The Zoo will have 2-3 Zoo Educators interacting with and assisting campers throughout the program each day to help them navigate the Zoom controls. Prior to your first day of camp, go over the Virtual Learning Guide that explains the basic features your child will need to use during their time “at camp”.  

Can I purchase one spot for all of my children?

We understand it is nearly impossible to keep siblings from popping in and out of the virtual experience. We do ask that all children participating are within the accurate grade band. This helps keep the activities age appropriate and engaging for all involved. We also ask that if multiple children are wanting to sign in and participate individually, that all children have registered separately. We are trying to keep our child to adult ratio in a particular range so that our Zoo Educators can adequately assist and interact with all children participating in camp.

Will there be breaks throughout camp?

Yes! The camp instructor will be sure to make time for bathroom breaks. We will also be taking a break for a virtual snack time. We ask that you “pack” a child friendly snack for our snack break. Ideally, your child would be self sufficient and can open their snack independently. However, we understand they may need help from a grown up and that is okay!

Will my child need supplies for camp?

Your child may need a few simple supplies for their week of camp. See the Virtual Camp Portal for lists of the supplies recommended to complete activities or crafts with the instructor. We are aiming for basic supplies that are likely to be found in most homes. 

I’m worried about screen time.

We totally understand and respect parents’ concern about increased screen time for children of all ages. We are an environmental education organization that wants to see children spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens. Virtual Camp is intended to provided a few hours of engaging content that encourages and inspires kids to want to go outside and explore and learn about nature during the rest of their day and weekends. Our goal is to provide content and activities that leaves your kids begging to go outside and collect things and observations they can share with us and their peers in the following days’ Virtual Camp online classroom.

Can my child see their friends in virtual camp?

Yes! If participants allow their camera to be turned on during the program, they will be able to see and be seen by other friends in class. We encourage cameras to be turned on to help create an interactive experience during our camps.

In-Person Camp FAQs

What will be required of parents and children attending Zoo Camp?

It is mandatory that all campers wear masks during camp.
All campers will have their temperature taken during drop off each day using a touchless thermometer.
We respectfully require all parents and guardians to wear a mask during drop-off/pick up.
All parents will be required to complete an electronic waiver confirming they will adhere to all of the guidelines required by the Zoo and State of Ohio for safe participation in camp. This will be sent to all parents in advance along with important Welcome Information.

What should I bring to Zoo Camp?

All campers are required to wear a mask. Please send your child with a comfortable, well-fitting facial covering. All campers should bring a packed lunch and water bottle.
We also recommend that campers wear close toed shoes.
It is also recommended that campers dress for the weather. Please bring your camper’s belongings to camp all in one bag with their name clearly marked on the outside of the bag, on their lunch bag, and the water bottle. All belongings must fit in one bag.
Will there be after-care or before-care?
After careful consideration, we will not be able to provide before-care or after-care programming at this time. Our traditional care model brought campers together from different classes into one care group. This model is no longer possible as each class must remain a safe distance from other classes. Please know this decision was not made lightly, as we understand the important role before-care and after-care plays for families.

Will you still be providing a snack during camp?

Yes, we will still continue to provide a snack for our camp program. The snack will be passed out by an instructor who will be wearing a fresh pair of gloves. Your camper may also bring their own treat for snack time. The campers will have their snack placed on a clean, sanitized lunch tray. Campers must provide their own lunches.

Are you allowing aides to come with campers?

Unfortunately, not at this time. To minimize the number of people in a class and provide ample space for distancing when necessary, we are limiting our classroom to 9 children and 2 adults. Under this new rule, it does not allow us to admit an aide. We understand that this is disappointing, and we look forward to offering camp to all children as soon as possible.

Will drop off and pick up change for Zoo Camp?

Parents/Guardians will be required to remain in their cars during drop off and pickup. Campers will be greeted by Zoo Staff while inside their cars and temperatures will be taken. Once Zoo Staff confirm the camper does not have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, a Zoo Staff member or ZooTeen will escort the camper to their group. More information can be found in the drop off/pick up procedures.

What if I want my child to only come for one day instead of all days of camp?

If your child will not attend all days of a session, please inform Zoo staff ahead of camp which days they will attend. We do not pro-rate or offer daily rates, so you will pay the full session fee.

May I enroll my child in a camp for an older/younger age group?

No, age requirements are not negotiable and are enforced. Campers must fall within the specified grade band the first day of the camp session they are attending.
My child needs to take medication/inhaler. How should I arrange for this?
The Cincinnati Zoo is not responsible for administering medication to children. We will remind them to take their medicine or inhaler by themselves if needed. To ensure a positive experience for all campers, it is IMPERATIVE that you notify us of special needs or medical conditions your child may have. In most cases, we can accommodate these needs and will do so to the best of our ability.
My child has an allergy. Can I provide you with an epinephrine injector?
Yes, you can. Your child or our staff will carry it with the group throughout the day. Zoo staff will contact you via phone prior to the first day of camp to discuss your child’s allergy and go over the specifics of their injector.

How do I get in contact with a Camp Coordinator or my child during the camp if there is an emergency?

Please check the Zoo Camp Portal for the phone number for the camp coordinators. The password is located on your ticket confirmation.

COVID related FAQs

What is the size of the camp groups?

To minimize the number of people in a class and provide ample space for distancing when necessary, we are limiting our classroom to 9 children and 2 adults. All of our classrooms are located inside of the Harold C. Schott Education Center. Campers from different classes will remain separate at all times, and shared indoor spaces will be disinfected between use.

What is your cleaning protocol for camp?

The Cincinnati Zoo staff will be cleaning all high touch surfaces and shared spaces (like bathrooms) frequently with approved COVID-19 cleaning supplies. Staff will be taking campers to the bathrooms for handwashing throughout the day and utilize hand sanitizer. Campers will wash hands upon arrival, before eating, and before departure.

Will the Zoo be open to the public during camp and will my child be around members of the public?

Yes, the Zoo will be open to the public during camp. Currently, the Zoo is carefully managing the number of guests allowed in the park to keep crowd size small. As part of camp we will be leaving our private classrooms and taking hikes around the Zoo to visit animal habitats. During some of these hikes there will be members of the public also visiting these same indoor and outdoor spaces. Zoo staff will do their best to maintain a safe distance between campers and the visiting public. Campers will be using private restrooms not accessible to the general public. When campers are in their classrooms visiting with animals, playing games, crafting, etc. they will be in their own space away from the general public. During recess time campers will also be away from other campers, outside their group of 9, and away from the general public in a private recess space.

Will campers have to wear masks during camp?

The Cincinnati Zoo requires that campers wear masks. Please send your child with a comfortable, well-fitting facial covering. Campers will always wear masks when interacting with other campers, Zoo staff and Zoo animals. Campers may take their masks off during lunch and snack time, and during that time campers will be sitting six feet away from Zoo Staff and each other.

Will instructors and staff be wearing masks during camp?

Zoo staff will always wear masks when around campers, parents, and families. Zoo staff may take their masks off during lunch time, and during that time campers will be sitting six feet away from staff. Zoo staff would also be required to take off their masks if needing to perform CPR.

Are campers expected to stay 6 feet apart?

It is not currently a guideline for children to maintain 6’ distance within their class for an entire camp day. When campers within a class are going to be near each other for a greater length of time (for example, during lunch) they will be distanced. Campers from different classes will remain a safe distance apart at all times, and shared spaces will be disinfected between use.

What if someone gets sick at camp?

Following guidelines, if a camper develops a fever or otherwise exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 or any other ailment, they will immediately be moved to an isolated location, while being supervised by two staff members wearing Personal Protective Equipment. Their family will be notified and they must be picked up from camp as soon as possible. Please refer to our policies below for more information about cancellations and refunds.

What if a camper is reported sick outside of camp hours?

Camp families will be notified in the event a serious, contagious illness, including COVID-19, is detected at camp. This will be done anonymously. Please refer to our policies below for more information about cancellations and refunds.

What if a Zoo Staff member gets sick at camp?

If a Zoo staff member gets sick at camp, they will immediately go home and be quarantined until they can be tested for COVID-19. All Zoo staff will participate in a daily temperature and symptoms check. If Zoo staff are symptomatic, or have a temperature above 100 degrees, they will not report for work, and they will immediately seek testing. If symptomatic, Zoo Staff is required to quarantine for 14 days.
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