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otter snow Holiday Day Camps 2022

Join us on Martin Luther King Jr or Presidents Day for this single-day camp!

Explore the Zoo, experience nature, and discover the excitement and wonder of animals! Hikes around the Zoo, visits from animal ambassadors, crafts, and so much more make Camp a jam-packed experience to remember!

No Before Care or After Care available for in-person camp.

See details below for spaces available.

Register Today

MORE DETAILS

Winter Play Date

Date: January 17, 2022 (Martin Luther King Jr Day) or February 21, 2022 (Presidents’ Day)
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Cost: Members: $50 / Non-Members: $65
January 17: 4yr-K spaces available, 1st-2nd grade spaces available, 3rd-4th spaces available, 5th-8th spaces available.
February 21: 4yr-K 2 waitlist only, 1st-2nd grade spaces available, 3rd-4th spaces available, 5th-8th spaces available.

Is play an important part of your day? It is to animals here at the Zoo! In this one-day camp, we will explore how both human and non-human animals use play to stay healthy and learn how to get along with others. With interactive activities and observations of animals both in the Zoo and in the classroom, we will learn about how play is useful in keeping our animals happy and healthy. We will even create some special enrichment toys for some special Zoo residents to enjoy.

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions below.


Spring Break Camp

These full-day camps include a camp t-shirt, live animal encounters, games, hikes, and so much more! Sign your child up for the wildest spring break ever!

See our updated cancellation and refund policy above.

Register Today

Does your Zoo Enthusiast (toddler-8th grade) want something this winter or spring? Check out Zoo Troop!


MORE DETAILS

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Cost: 4 Year Old-6th Grade: Members: $245 / Non-Members: $260;
7th-8th Grade: Members: $255 / Non-Members: $270

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Beauty and the Beast

Some animals are more than meets the eye.  From beautiful butterflies and parrots to beastly binturong and bats, we’ll see why looks can be deceiving and learn why there are just as many reasons (if not more) to love the beasts as the beauties.  By the end, we will learn that there is beauty in every beast.

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for 4 and 5 year olds and those currently in Kindergarten.

Blend, Bolt, or Bite

Animals can behave in different ways when faced with danger!  They can blend in, bolt out of sight or turn and bite!  Discover the tricky ways animals keep safe in this week-long camp that features up-close animal encounters and opportunities for excitement around every corner!

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those currently in 1st and 2nd grade.

Animagination

From Fantastic Beasts and Pokemon Go to Angry Birds and Pete’s Dragon, there sure are a lot of magical, mythical creatures in movies and media! Come to this camp and we’ll learn about some of the real-life inspirations for these fantastical beasts, uncover some amazing adaptations of actual wildlife and then use what we learn plus our imaginations to “discover” and present a new species of our own creation.

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those currently in 3rd or 4th grade.

Dr. Zoolittle’s Animal Training Camp

Discover how to “talk” to animals! Campers will be training behaviors with a variety of Zoo animals including goats, chickens, and other animals. Learn about animal behavior and motivation while applying training techniques taught by Zoo professionals. By the end of camp, animals will be eating out of your hands – literally!

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those currently in 5th or 6th grade.

Mini Maynard Training Camp

Join us for a week-long adventure and discover what it takes to become a future Zoo director!  Our Zoo director Thane Maynard is known as a wildlife expert, a naturalist, author and is a regular on TV shows promoting wildlife conservation.  Campers will experience the many different jobs Thane has done on the way to becoming our zoo director.  Campers will learn about animal handling, meet ambassador animals up-close and create a “90-Second Naturalist” podcast of their own on their way to becoming the next Zoo director. So watch out Thane!

Dates: March 28-April 1, 2022, April 4-8, 2022
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those currently in 7th or 8th grade.

Summer Camp

Explore the Zoo, experience nature, and discover the excitement and wonder of animals! Hikes in the Zoo, visits from animal ambassadors, crafts, train rides and so much more make Summer Camp a jam-packed week to remember! Every camper receives a Summer Camp t-shirt.

Limited Before and After Care spots available for 2022!

See our updated cancellation and refund policy above.

Register Today

Does your Zoo Enthusiast (toddler-8th grade) want something this winter or spring? Check out Zoo Troop!



MORE DETAILS

Dates: weekly camps running May 31st-August 13th

Full Day Camps
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Cost: 4 Year Old-6th Grade: Members: $245 / Non-Members: $260;
7th-8th Grade: Members: $255 / Non-Members: $270
Eco-Explorers @ Bowyer Farm: Members: $255 / Non-Members: $270

Before and After Care: 8:00-9:00am: $55; 4:00-5:30pm: $65.
Before and After Care not available May 30-June3.

Half Day Camps
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm or 1:00-3:30pm
Cost: 4 Year Old-2nd Grade: Members: $130 / Non-Members: $145

Before Care and After Care for full day camps only.

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Full-Day Camp

Catch Me If You Can

Do you think you can catch these critters? Discover what it means to be a predator or prey animal and how they use their adaptations to try to outwit, outrun, and hide from each other! Come and explore their wild worlds and help uncover their sneaky, stealthy secrets through interactive games, hikes through the zoo, and close encounters with Animal Ambassadors.

Dates: May 30-June 3, June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1, July 4-8, July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-29, August 1-5, August 8-12, August 15-19.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for 4 and 5 year olds or those entering Kindergarten in the fall. Camp will meet on Memorial Day (May 30 camp) and Independence Day (July 4).

Half-Day Camps

Sensational Senses

Can you talk like an elephant or taste with your feet like a butterfly? Explore what sensory adaptations animals have and how these adaptations help them survive. We’ll spend the week looking at our five senses and seeing how they compare to other animals’ through close encounters with animal friends, interactive games, crafts, and hikes in the Zoo.

Dates: June 6-10, June 20-24, July 4-8, July 18-22,  August 1-5, August 15-19.
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm or 1:00-3:30pm
Note: This camp is for 4 and 5 year olds or those entering Kindergarten in the fall. Camp will meet on Independence Day (July 4).


Bringing Up Baby

Do other animals live in families like humans? Are all babies raised by their moms? During this camp, we’ll experience up-close animal encounters, make crafts, and, of course, hike around the Zoo to learn about why it can take a mom, dad, pack, or no one at all to raise a baby animal.

Dates: June 13-17, June 27-July 1, July 11-15, July 25-29, August 8-12.
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm or 1:00-3:30pm
Note: This camp is for 4 and 5 year olds or those entering Kindergarten in the fall.

Full-Day Camp

Zooper Heroes

A bird that can fly at speeds of 200mph? A cat that can leap 12 feet into the air? Animals can be out of this world when it comes to their super adaptations. Come to summer camp and discover these animals and their incredible super-powers. Each day, we will look at a superhero with amazing superpowers, and then see if our Zoo animals can measure up to their spectacular abilities. The camp will include Zoo hikes, games, and up-close live animal encounters.

Dates: May 30-June 3, June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1, July 4-8, July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-29, August 1-5, August 8-12, August 15-19.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 1st or 2nd Grade in the fall. Camp will meet on Memorial Day (May 30 camp) and Independence Day (July 4).

Half-Day Camps

Animal Chatter

Have you ever wondered what a lion was roaring about or a bird chirping about? This camp will explore animals and how they “talk” to each other. Join us for a fun-filled week, where campers will discover what animals are communicating, through smell, facial expressions and sound.

Dates: June 6-10, June 20-24, July 4-8, July 18-22,  August 1-5, August 15-19.
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm or 1:00-3:30pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 1st or 2nd Grade in the fall. Camp will meet on Independence Day (July 4).


Growing Up

What do polliwogs, cubs, and owlets have in common? They’re all babies! Spend a week learning how animals change and grow from the time they’re born until they reach adulthood. Each day is packed with activities to help discover how insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals grow.

Dates: June 13-17, June 27-July 1, July 11-15, July 25-29,  August 8-12.
Time: 9:30am-12:00pm or 1:00-3:30pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 1st or 2nd Grade in the fall.

Full-Day Camp

Expedition Naturalist

Campers will get a chance to become Naturalists as they choose their destiny through different expeditions. These expeditions will traverse through the world’s different biomes. As they complete each expedition they will become equipped with the knowledge and the tools it takes to become a real naturalist.

Dates: May 30-June 3, June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1, July 4-8, July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-29, August 1-5, August 8-12, August 15-19.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 3rd or 4th Grade in the fall. Camp will meet on Memorial Day (May 30 camp) and Independence Day (July 4).

No Half-Day Camps

Full-Day Camp

Exploring Enrichment

What do boomer balls, spices, braided butcher paper, and fish-sicles all have in common? They are different forms of animal enrichment! Animal enrichment provides stimulation to our Zoo animals and serves as an important tool that keeps their minds and bodies healthy. In this camp, we will learn about the different forms of animal enrichment, who and what they are good for, and the role of the Zoo’s enrichment committee in all of this through animal encounters, keeper interactions, games, and other activities. We will even get a chance to participate in the creation of some animal enrichment items and brainstorm some new enrichment ideas.

Dates: May 30-June 3, June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1, July 4-8, July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-29, August 1-5, August 8-12, August 15-19.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 5th or 6th Grade in the fall. Camp will meet on Memorial Day (May 30 camp) and Independence Day (July 4).

Full-Day Camps

Eco-Explorers @ Bowyer Farm

Become a backyard biologist while exploring our fields, forests, and wetlands out at our 600 acre Bowyer Farm! Campers will spend time learning what it takes to protect our wild spaces through hands-on activities such as bird watching, plant identification, and animal tracking. Our adventure filled camp will encourage campers to get back in touch with their wild side, while building confidence as they hone their naturalist skills. On Friday, your camper will lead you on a nature hike to show off their new skills.

Dates: June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Location: Bowyer Farm, 2210 Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040
Note: This camp is for those entering 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th Grade in the fall. Groups will be subdivided after registration based on numbers.

Full-Day Camps

Working with Wildlife

Animal keepers, field researchers, forensic zoologists, animal trainers…the list goes on and on when it comes to jobs that work with wildlife. Throughout the week we will have hands on animal encounters, meet a variety of speakers who have careers working with wildlife, and go on instructor-led hikes to explore the habitats around the Zoo. This is a hands-on class, so be prepared to get knee or elbow-deep in exploration of some of the jobs and tools of the trade that come with a wildlife-related career! Participants will even get the opportunity to write and record an animal-related “90-Second Naturalist” video that might be selected to be on the Zoo’s website!

Dates: May 30-June 3, June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1, July 4-8, July 11-15, July 18-22, July 25-29, August 1-5, August 8-12, August 15-19.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Note: This camp is for those entering 7th or 8th Grade in the fall. Camp will meet on Memorial Day (May 30 camp) and Independence Day (July 4).

Full-Day Camps

Eco-Explorers @ Bowyer Farm

Become a backyard biologist while exploring our fields, forests, and wetlands out at our 600 acre Bowyer Farm! Campers will spend time learning what it takes to protect our wild spaces through hands-on activities such as bird watching, plant identification, and animal tracking. Our adventure filled camp will encourage campers to get back in touch with their wild side, while building confidence as they hone their naturalist skills. On Friday, your camper will lead you on a nature hike to show off their new skills.

Dates: June 6-10, June 13-17, June 20-24, June 27-July 1.
Time: 9:00am-4:00pm
Location: Bowyer Farm, 2210 Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040
Note: This camp is for those entering 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th Grade in the fall. Groups will be subdivided after registration based on numbers.

Zoo Camp FAQs

What will be required of guardians and children attending Zoo Camp? (updated 11/1/21)

  • Masks (updated 11/1/21): bring a well-fitting mask each day.
    • Campers are required to wear masks while in the Education building, in indoors exhibits, and during any human-animal encounters (goat yard, giraffe feeding).
    • We respectfully require guardians to wear masks in the Education building during pick-up/drop-off.
    • Masks will be optional for campers and instructors in most outdoor settings (Zoo hikes, recess, etc.).
    • Camp instructors will use their best judgement while in public outdoor settings. If an area is crowded, the instructor will either ask their campers to put their masks on or revisit that area at a quieter time.
  • All campers will have their temperature taken during drop off each day using a touchless thermometer. 

What should I bring to Zoo Camp? (updated 11/1/21)

  • All campers are required to wear a mask while indoors. Please send your child with a comfortable, well-fitting facial covering.
  • All campers should bring a packed lunch (full day camp only) and water bottle (full day and half day).
    • To help reunite water bottles with campers, please have their name and phone number on the water bottle.
  • We 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 campers work with/care for animals?

We are working on creative ways to connect campers with animals this year. All of our programs include encounters in the classroom with ambassador animals.

7th-8th grade camps may have opportunities for closer encounters and special experiences.

Will there be after-care or before-care?

Holiday, Spring Break, Winter Camp
Before and After Care are not available.

Summer Camp
Before and After Care will be available for our full day, on-site summer camp programs, starting June 6, 2022. Before and After Care are not available for half-day camps, or camps at Bowyer Farm.

Is it the same camp each week? Can I sign up for multiple weeks?

Full day camp topic repeats each week through the summer. Half day camp topics alternate through the summer.

We wouldn’t recommend doing multiples of the same group topic throughout the summer. For younger camps (4yr-K and 1st-2nd Grade) you can sign your campers up for full day and both half day topics. If you would really like additional full day camp weeks, we suggest an early summer date and a late summer date.

Can I sign up for the morning and afternoon half day camp the same week?

No. We would ask parents to refrain from signing up their campers for the morning and afternoon sessions of a half day camp the same week. Half Day camps are the same topic for the morning and afternoon. With the break between morning and afternoon sessions, there are no staff available to supervise your child. Children cannot be left unattended at the Zoo.

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 consist of pretzels and will be passed out by an instructor who will be wearing a fresh pair of gloves. Your camper may also bring their own food for snack time. The campers will have their snack placed on a clean, sanitized lunch tray. Campers must provide their own lunches.

Can I meet my child for lunch?

We apologize, but no, you cannot join the group for lunch during summer camp. The lunch break is an important bonding time for campers and may vary in its timing day-to-day.

My child will be turning four just a short time after camp starts. Can they come to camp?

In order to provide age-appropriate activities and instruction to all campers, we ask that all children turn 4 years old at least 2 weeks before the program date, can use the restroom unassisted, and are able to participate in long hikes.

My child is 4-5 years old and needs a rest in the afternoon? Do you have a break time?

Yes, as per state guidelines, we provide the 4-year-Kindergarten Full-Day camps with a 30-40-minute quiet time after lunch. This is a time for them to nap, rest, and cool down from the morning’s activities and get ready for the afternoon’s activities. During this time, children will either listen to a children’s book or calming music. If your child will take this time to rest, they may bring a small pillow or blanket with them preferably fitting into their backpack.

How often does the group take bathroom/water breaks?

We stop at water fountains and restrooms before and after hikes and whenever requested. Campers will carry reusable water bottles with them on hike.

My child has a developmental disability or other special need where they may need some assistance during camp, are you able to accommodate them?

Please reach out to [email protected] so we can work together to find a solution that is specific to your child’s needs.

Are you allowing aides to come with campers?

While we are still trying to minimize the number of people in one classroom, we do have some flexibility in how we incorporate aides into our programs in a safe manner. Please reach out to [email protected] so we can work together to find a solution that is specific to your child’s needs.

What is the supervision ratio for camps?

All camps are currently limited to 10-12 campers with 1 adult instructor. Summer Camps have an additional Zoo Teen to help supervise and assist the instructor.

What is drop-off/pick-up for Zoo Camp like this year? (*updated 12/1/21)

Parents/Guardians must enter our building one the first day of camp to drop-off  their camper(s). We respectfully require all parents/guardians to wear a mask during indoor drop-off/pick-up.

*Curbside drop-off and pick-up will not be available for Winter or Holiday Day camp.

What if I want my child to only come for a portion 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 call 513-559-7730 for our main line.

What do you do for inclement weather?

Programs occur rain or shine. In case of extreme weather, the Cincinnati Zoo will contact all participants via email by 8:00am the day of the program. If a program is cancelled due to extreme weather the Zoo will do it best to create a make-up class or will refund for cancelled days.

COVID related FAQs

Will campers have to wear masks during camp? (updated 11/1/21/21)

  • Campers should bring a well-fitting mask each day.
    • Campers are required to wear masks while in the Education building, in indoors exhibits, and during any human-animal encounters (close encounters, goat yard, giraffe feeding).
    • Adults are required to wear masks in the Education building.
    • Masks will be optional for campers and instructors in most outdoor settings (Zoo hikes, recess, etc.).
    • Camp instructors will use their best judgement while in public outdoor settings. If an area is crowded, the instructor will either ask their campers to put their masks on or revisit that area at a quieter time.

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 frequently in classrooms.

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. 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. 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.

Will instructors and staff be wearing masks during camp?

Zoo staff will always wear masks when indoors. 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 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 frequently disinfected.

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?

All Zoo staff will participate in a daily temperature and symptoms check. If Zoo staff are symptomatic, or have a temperature 100+ degrees, they will not report for work, and they will immediately seek testing. 


Waitlist/Cancellation/Credits FAQs

What is the waitlist? Can I waitlist for every week? How likely is it to come off the waitlist?

We were quite surprised at how quickly camps have sold out this year- people are ready for some outdoor education.

What is the waitlist? How does it work? When a program sells out, the waitlist automatically turns on. When space becomes available for a week, we will call/email the first person on the waitlist for that week. If they want it, they get it; if they don’t, or do not respond, we move to the next person on the waitlist.

Is there a charge for waitlist? There is no charge to be placed on the waitlist.

Can I waitlist for the whole summer or multiple weeks? If you are open to multiple weeks, add each week to your cart. To register for multiple waitlist weeks, add one to the cart, then click Back to Shopping. There is no general summer waitlist. Many families waitlist for every week.

Do I need to waitlist for each group (A,B,C)? You only need to add your child’s name for one group on the week(s) you want. You do not need to waitlist for group A, B, and C.

Will you contact me if I don’t get in to camp? You will only be contacted if a space becomes available for your camper.

How close to camp start date do you contact people? We will contact waitlisted campers up to the Friday before the camp week starts.

Can I change dates/topics/age groups?

For camp, you may make changes to the topics and date of your camp at any time, as long as there is room in the topic/date you are looking to change to.

Can I cancel a camp registration? (*updated 12/1/21)

The Cincinnati Zoo’s Education Department has updated its cancellation and refund policy, effective for all programs starting January 3, 2022. Programs cancelled by the registrant at least two weeks in advance of the program date may now receive a refund. Refunds or credits are no longer available for programs cancelled by the registrant within two weeks of the program date.

I have a gift certificate/class credit. How do I use it?

Gift certificates are great because they never expire and can be used for any of our education programs. To use your certificate, you will need the order number and certificate number. Go through your registration as normal. When you get to the final payment screen, just above where you enter your credit card information, check the box that asks if you’d like to use a gift certificate. Check the box, and enter your certificate/credit information.

Up to 3 certificates can be used per order. If your credit is for less than the total balance, you will then enter your credit card information. If your credit has a remaining balance, that balance will remain on that same certificate/credit and can be used at any time- remember, they never expire!

Received a credit, but can’t find your email? Contact us at [email protected].

CALL OR EMAIL: 513-559-7730 OR [email protected]

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