Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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See the elephant twins daily from 11-11:30 a.m. and 2–2:30 p.m. at the Pachyderm Pavilion viewing windows.

Summer Zoo Camp

Summer Zoo Camp Header Image

There’s lots to see in 2023!

Explore all the wonders of the animal world and beyond in one of the most exciting and interesting places possible, the zoo! Explore, observe, design, create, and build in a learning experience beyond your imagination. At the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics has 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.


Registration Dates

ONLINE REGISTRATION STARTS:

Members: Wednesday, February 1 at 9 a.m.
Non-members: Wednesday, February 15 at 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.

Need assistance navigating our camp management and registration system? Come in person for one-on-one support:

Member Registration Assistance

February 1 | 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Non-Member Registration Assistance

February 15 | 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.


Become a Member Today!

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 3-4 | $175
Week 2 & Week 6 Exceptions | $145

Half-Day | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Ages 4-5 | $175
Week 2 & Week 6 Exceptions | $145

Full-Day | 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Ages *5 & 6, 6 & 7, 8 & 9, 10 & 11 | $285
Week 2 & Week 6 Exceptions | $235

*Children five years of age may attend full-day camp weeks 1, 2, 3, 6 & 8 if they attended full-day school in 2022-2023.

Jr. Zookeeper Camps | 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ages 12-17 | $450
Week 6 Exception | $360

Zoo Crew (Counselors in Training) | 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Ages 14-17 | $285
Week 2 & Week 6 Exceptions | $235


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 February 1. 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! Please contact the zoo camp director about this and any other special needs your child may have to make the camp experience the best it can be!

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; $75 per week per camper for both sessions. 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 3-11

Discover how our staff keeps our animals healthy and how you can practice healthy habits of your own every day! Our campers will explore the basics of animal care such as performing physical exams, treating wounds, and managing diet and feeding. Our older campers will delve into the science of veterinary care, including taking ultrasounds, giving vaccinations, and performing surgeries. All ages will experience a variety of activities including game play, animal demonstrations, and spending time in our new Animal Health Center. Campers will finish off the week with live demonstrations of treatment of their very own. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 5-9.

Use our kaleidoscope of colorful zoo animals as inspiration to create in this imaginative camp for all ages! You may find yourself sketching a squirrel monkey, painting a penguin, or sculpting a skink as we explore the animal world with hands-on projects to explore your inner Picasso! To help unleash your inner artist, we’ll tour the zoo, attend animal demos and meet animals up close, and finish the week with our very own art show for your family! Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 5-11.

*Please note due to the 4th of July holiday, there is no class on Tuesday

You don't have to travel to see animals that live all over the world! From Asian Elephants to the koalas of Australia, to the hissing cockroaches of Madagascar, we will visit a new location somewhere in the world each day and discover the exciting animals that live there, without ever leaving the zoo! Join us for a whirlwind tour of the world culminating in an exciting project at the end of the week. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 5-9.

Literature, science and fantasy meet for this magical camp as we explore the myths around animals and the legends they inspire! From unicorns to manticores, mermaids to bigfoot, there is something for everyone! Campers will imagine their own animal legends based off real animals and get the opportunity to create them for an end of the week presentation sure to inspire the inner cryptozoologist. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Animals have lots of superpowers, from the web-spinning of a spider to the strength of an ant, to the flight of a falcon. Come learn about all the superheroes we have here at the zoo and how they inspire so many superhero characters we are familiar with. Campers will get to invent a persona of their very own and attend an awesome animal superhero summit at the end of the week. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Waddle, slither, hop and prance through the zoo this week for a totally active adventure! Each day you will explore a new area of the zoo, see how the animals there get around, and impersonate movements in a high-energy experience sure to get the body going. Join us at the end of the week for a demonstration of true animal antics. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 5-9.

*Please note due to the Brew at the Zoo, there is no class on Friday

From the platypus to the puffin, slugs to fennec foxes, many real animals inspire some crazy creatures from popular stories, movies and tv. Join us for an out-of-this-world experience as we discover some of Earth's most unusual species. Creature your own earth-inspired extraterrestrial for an end-of-week event that will take you beyond the cosmos. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Discover how our staff keeps our animals healthy and how you can practice healthy habits of your own every day! Our campers will explore the basics of animal care such as performing physical exams, treating wounds, and managing diet and feeding. Our older campers will delve into the science of veterinary care, including taking ultrasounds, giving vaccinations, and performing surgeries. All ages will experience a variety of activities including game play, animal demonstrations, and spending time in our new Animal Health Center. Campers will finish off the week with live demonstrations of treatment of their very own. Available half-day sessions for ages 3-5 and full-day sessions for ages 5-9.

Your job during this week, should you choose to accept it, is to become a 'Zoo Scene Investigator" and unravel some of the zoo's most intriguing mysteries! Investigate the lives of animals by learning about their behaviors, footprint patterns, different types of scat and other strategies that zookeepers use every day to keep tabs on their animals! Parents can attend the ZSI graduation at the end of the week and put their own skills to the test. Available full-day sessions for ages 6-11.

Ages 12 & Up (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:

July 24- July 28

July 31- August 3

*Please note due to the Brew at the Zoo, there is no class on Friday

August 7- August 11

August 14- August 18

As a continuation of the Jr. Zookeeper experience, campers will further explore this fulfilling animal-related career. This camp begins at 8 a.m.

August 14-18 only!

*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 approval by camp director.

Ages 14 & Up

Want to be a camp counselor some day? Love working with children? Our Counselor in Training (CIT) program will give you extensive experience in the organization of camp programs, teamwork, and group management. CITs assist in creating a positive summer camp experience for campers (ages 3-11) by encouraging participation, modeling zoo camp expectations, and assisting campers with skills during activities or crafts - All while learning important leadership and communication skills! This camp begins at 8 a.m.


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 and snacks each day. 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. View Meal Plan Options

Questions?

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

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