Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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The Honey Bee Cafe will be closed today. The Hofman Dog Haus will be open and Dippin' Dots are available in the Animal Health Center.

Summer Zoo Camp

Summer Zoo Camp Header Image

Choose from nine wild weeks that are full of hands-on projects, performance, games, and interactive animal experiences. 

Spaces Fill Quickly - Act Fast!

There’s even more in 2024! Explore all the wonders of the animal world and beyond in one of the most exciting and interesting places possible- the zoo! Our programs will also feature some extra-specials guests this summer... DRAGONS!

Explore, observe, design, create, and build in a learning experience beyond your imagination. Each week, campers will engage in STEAM challenges, animal encounters, zoo tours, creating animal enrichment and practicing conservation skills that will bring out their inner zooper-hero. At the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics have never been more fun!

Most camp sessions run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Before and After Care available and runs from 8-9 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.
Exceptions are noted in the schedule below.
Before and Aftercare, weekly meal plans, and camp merchandise can be purchased through our registration site by adding them under the Sessions and Options step.

Registration Dates


Members: Wednesday, March 6 | 9 a.m.
Non-members: Wednesday, March 20 | 9 a.m.

Register online and find out instantly if your camper is placed into the camp he/she wants!
To make this process as fair as possible, we do not accept phone or in-person registrations.

If you're new to our online Camp system, make sure to Pre-Register by creating an account today!

Become a Member Today!

Members receive a 7% discount on all camp sessions.

If you recently became a member and do not have your membership ID number during the registration process, your online order confirmation number may be used to verify a membership purchase. All zoo camp registrations with member discount applied will be verified.

Not a member? Now is a perfect time to join and start taking advantage of our fantastic membership benefits – including early access to zoo camp registration!


Camp Pricing

All camp sessions run Monday through Friday. Exceptions are noted in the camp descriptions.

Half-Day | 9 a.m.–12 noon
Ages 4-5 | $185
Week 1 & Week 5 Exceptions | $155

Full-Day | 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages 6-11 | $295
Week 1 & Week 5 Exceptions | $245

Jr. Zookeeper Camps | 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ages 12-17 | $460

Jr. Zookeeper 2.0 Camps | 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ages 14-17 | $485

Before or After Care: $50 per week

20 oz water Bottle: $15
Embroidered Cap: $15
Extra camp T-shirt: $12

Meal Plan Pricing:

5 Day Weekly Meal Plan: $52.50
4 Day Weekly Meal Plan: $42

Need assistance navigating our camp management and registration system?

For questions, please contact the Education department at (315) 435-8511 x8506 or email [email protected].

Need Help? Use our helpful guide!


Registration Information

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo utilizes a camp software system that streamlines and improves the registration process, record keeping, attendance and safety and wellness of your child(ren). All personal, emergency, and medical information entered is kept securely and immediately accessible to camp staff, increasing our ability to perform to the highest quality. You can even sign up for a payment plan with a qualifying deposit at no extra cost! Parents will be able to purchase items such as additional shirts, hats and water bottles as well as purchase meal plans! Education staff will be available to assist with learning and manipulating the system.

Members: Please make sure your membership is up to date prior to March 6. A membership discount code will be provided to members prior to the registration date. You will need your membership number for verification prior to registration to receive the discount. Please note that the participant must be covered under the membership account number to receive the discount. If non-members utilize the membership discount and membership registration period, you will be refunded and placed on the waitlist to be contacted when non-member registration begins. Call membership at (315) 435-8511 x8537 for any questions or concerns related to your membership account or to sign up for a membership.

Mail-in registrations will no longer be accepted or processed. Please contact the Education department at (315) 435-8511 x8559 for assistance with registering online for the best possible service and experience.


Yes! Registering multiple children for sessions is easy in our new system!


As educators, we feel that campers can maximize their Zoo Camp experience by interacting with peers of their own age level. All sessions are designed to offer hands-on learning that is age appropriate. The registration system will only show you the age-appropriate options available for your child. If there is no availability for your child for sessions in their age group, you can be placed on a waitlist through the registration system. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis as space becomes available. Exemptions to the age requirement can be made only if space becomes available closer to the start of the camp week and the waitlist for that session has been exhausted.

Please contact the Zoo Camp director with any questions or concerns.

There will be circumstances that require us to split up age groups. We are committed to giving your child the best possible experience and will make every accommodation when possible. Requests need to be made in advance during the registration process and must be age appropriate. Please note that we cannot make group changes after camp has begun.

Yes! One-on-one aides are welcome to attend! In addition we offer free one-on-one care provided by Arc of Onondaga. Please contact our zoo camp director with questions or Alyssa O’Bryan at [email protected] to arrange care.

You will have the opportunity to be added to the wait list during the registration process. If space becomes available during the waiting period, we will notify all parties on the wait list in the order received. You can opt to be removed from a wait list at any time.

Before and After Care may include games or quiet reading and is not part of the normal zoo curriculum. Before Care runs 8 - 9 a.m. and After Care runs 4–5 p.m. You may register your camper for one or both sessions. Cost is $50 per week per camper for either session. Before and After Care is not offered per diem; you must register and pay for the full week. Pre-registration is required - no drop-ins. If you are late picking up your camper from the regular camp day or Before and After Care, late fees will apply.

Summer Zoo Camp Schedule

Ages 4-11

Discovering the Artistry Behind the Animal

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

From creatures big and small, each one has unique adaptations that make them beautiful. This week we will dive into how animals use coloration, design, and dance to survive in the wild and create our own creature masterpieces.

Decoding Animal Evidence

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11

Have you ever wondered how biologists track and observe animals in the wild?  During our Zoo Scene Investigations we will teach you how to decode animal clues like tracks, scat, sheds, and bones.


Expressing our Love of Everything Aquatic

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Get ready to get wet! This week is full of wet and wild fun while learning about the creatures that inhabit our oceans, streams and ponds.


The Myths and Legends of Prehistoric Past

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Activate your inner paleontologist! This week will feature the Dragons displayed at our zoo and we will dive into the origins of where these creatures came from...Dinos! We will also investigate the dragon-like animals at our zoo as well as mythical creatures inspired by real animals. 


Exploring the Weird and Wacky Creatures of the Animal Kingdom

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Time to explore creatures that no one has ever heard of! This week will feature game show style challenges while learning about strange creatures in even stranger environments.


Infamous Animals and their Stories

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Where do stories come from? Find the origins of creature legends and learn about the personal backstories of the animals in our zoo. The week ends with a theater performance of your favorite creature legend.


Bring out your Inner Animal Engineer

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Have you ever wondered how anthills survive the rain, or why bees build honeycombs out of hexagonal shapes? Unravel these mysteries and more while learning how we design the habitats in our zoo. The week ends with an engineering science fair of your own creations.


Bring out the Creature Hero in You

Available morning half-day sessions for ages 4-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

This week is all about starting your exploration of animal careers. Learn how we care for the animals in our zoo through veterinary techniques, enrichment and training, and diets. Then learn how you can become a creature hero at home with backyard conservation and beyond.

Ages 12-17 (Jr. Zookeepers)

Did you know that most of the zookeepers who work here started their careers with domestic animals? Now you can, too! The skills learned in the contact barn working with animals such as goats and chickens apply across all departments in the zoo, from eels to elephants! Campers will spend their week in the contact barn getting their hands dirty through general animal husbandry activities, trying out their training and enrichment skills, and interacting with the public daily, just like every zookeeper here does! This camp is a work experience and campers should expect to get dirty, hot, sweaty, and smelly as they face the challenges of being a zookeeper. This camp is specially designed for the camper with an animal-related career in mind and requires a negative TB test result within 1 year of the start of the camp session.

This camp begins at 8 a.m. and is offered the following weeks:

August 5-9

August 12-16

This camp advances from working with our contact barn animals to diving deep into incredible animal and environmental concepts, STEAM projects, and behind the scenes experiences with some of our most well-loved animals.

This camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And is offered the weeks of:

August 19-23

August 26-30

*This program is by application or invitation only. Invitation extended to participants in prior Jr. Zookeeper program at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Application open to individuals with, but not limited to, prior internship, shadowing, or animal handling experience at another zoo, aquarium, farm, or participation in other programs such as the 4H Club. High school students with relative interest and no prior experience will also be considered. Subject to review and approval by camp director.

Summer Zoo Camp FAQs

Your child will participate in fun, hands-on learning that explores every aspect of our zoo. We provide every child with a camp T-shirt. Each camper is required to wear the camp T-shirt daily to identify them as a zoo camper to the public and zoo staff. If you would like to purchase additional T-shirts, please order online during the registration process.

All staff members have experience working with children. Camp staff pass a criminal background check and receive extensive training before camp starts. The camp director and other zoo staff are trained in CPR and first aid.

Please contact the camp director at [email protected] prior to registration to discuss your child’s needs.

We have a variety of outreach animals that your child may encounter such as snakes, insects and small mammals, and older campers may have the opportunity to go behind the scenes with keepers. For the safety of your children and our animals, contact with most animals is prohibited.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo will follow all protocols as mandated by the Onondaga County Health Department and indicated in the Reopening New York: Child Care and Day Camp Programs Guidelines.

Zoo camp is about making new friends and memories, and parents at camp can inhibit a child’s experience. Additionally, room capacities limit the number of people that can be in each room. Therefore, we ask that parents refrain from staying with children during camp.

Zoo Camp instructors are prohibited by law from administering any medication to children at Zoo Camp except for Epi-pens in an emergency; however, the camp health director can assist in self-administration. All medication and Epi-Pens must be received in the original container and be accompanied by written authorization by their doctor. Camp staff can assist with the application of sunscreen and insect repellant with written permission.

Yes. We require that all children be potty trained to attend camp.

For your child’s safety, we require that every person picking your child up from Zoo Camp be registered with our instructors. Before your child can leave zoo grounds, the designated person picking him/her up must provide a photo ID and check out your child.

If your child is enrolled and you must cancel for any reason, your registration fee is non-refundable unless a child on the waiting list can fill your space. In the event the cancelled space is filled, a $25 processing fee will be deducted from your refund.

Catering at the Zoo will offer a weekly meal plan that can be purchased during registration or added later. Please note that last-minute and day-of requests may not be honored based on availability.

Meal Plan Pricing:

5 Day Weekly Meal Plan: $52.50
4 Day Weekly Meal Plan: $42

View Meal Plan Options


Please contact the Education Department at (315) 435-8511 x8559 or email [email protected]

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