Posts Tagged ‘animal encounters’

ZooCamp: It’s Not Just for Summer Anymore

by | March 12th, 2012

Singing Camp Songs

I’m sure you know that ZooCamp has been a popular summer tradition here at the Oakland Zoo for many years. But did you know that recently the ZooCamp program has expanded by offering three all new camp sessions? Taking full advantage of the various breaks in the school year, ZooCamp is now offered at Spring Break, Winter Break and even Thanksgiving.  Now, your kids can experience the joys of ZooCamp throughout the year.

Wildlife Theater

It all started in 2010 with an idea by veteran ZooCamp Director Sarah Cramer. After inquiring at other institutions that offered similar events, Sarah wanted to test-run a new four-day camp session between Christmas and New Years. She had no idea how popular this new camp would be.  In fact, the premier of the Winter Break Camp greatly surpassed all expectations. At that point, Sarah knew she was on to something big. It wasn’t long before she had initiated two additional camp sessions, bringing the total to four. A new era in ZooCamp history had begun.

“Most of the kids we see at camp are repeat visitors,” says Sarah. “They come two, three, or more years in a row. They have camp friends and favorite teachers that they look forward to seeing all year. These new camps are a way to keep these kids connected year round.”

Fun With Costumes

What’s unique about these new camp sessions is their shorter format. In contrast to the weeklong structure of summer ZooCamp, campers can sign up for any number of the two-day sessions being offered.  Sarah has found that this format offers more flexibility for parents who are trying to coordinate other family events during these busy holiday periods.

Visiting a Tortoise's Home

As one of many places offering family-friendly activities in the Bay Area, the Oakland Zoo realizes that its guests have a variety of choices when it comes to spending their leisure time dollars. That’s why the Zoo strives to give a good value with all of it programs, especially ZooCamp. As one parent recently commented about her child’s love of ZooCamp, “It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.” In fact, hearing the many favorable comments from enthusiastic kids would make a believer out of just about anyone.

Exploring the Creek

And guess what– the new Spring Break ZooCamp is just around the corner, in April! Here are some of the cool things your kids can look forward to. Nature Play (our most popular summer program) is lots of fun: looking under rocks in the creek, catching tadpoles, searching for various kinds of bugs, even building forts out of materials easily found here at the park.  Nature Play is what being a kid is all about.
Then there’s Zoofari, an adventurous expedition around the Oakland Zoo. Your kids get to tour zoo exhibits, make treats for the animals, play games, sing songs, meet some animals up close, and make new friends. Offered as a kind of “best of summer camp sampler,” this program is a great introduction for kids who have not participated in our full-week summer camp.

Making New Friends

This year, Spring Break ZooCamp is offering four (4) two-day sessions: April 2-3 and 4-5, and then the following week on April 9-10 and 11-12. Registration is currently underway.  It’s easy. Simply click here to visit the ZooCamp web page, where you’ll find further information, including fees and policies. By the way, registration for our popular Summer ZooCamp program starts March 12 for our Zoo members. So check out the new ZooCamps being offered year round at the Oakland Zoo. We’ll see you there!

Happy Green Day To You

by | June 11th, 2010

Have you heard about the exciting new changes in the Zoo’s Education Birthday Party program? It’s been an ongoing effort to get there, but the Oakland Zoo is now happy to announce the “greening” of these popular events. In an effort to promote more responsible and sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources, the Conservation and Education department now offers these fun educational events that utilize recycled and reusable materials.

Re-usable Party Utensils

Over the years, several “green” improvements have been implemented. For a while,  we tried using compostable “SpudWare” utensils. However, it made more sense to avoid using disposable materials altogether, even if they were biodegradable. So now, when you book your special Education Birthday Party at the Zoo, you’ll be using re-usable table cloths, Corelle dishware, and reusable kid-friendly utensils.

Every Education Birthday Party here at the Zoo features a live animal presentation, in which children have the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation issues while experiencing animals up close in an intimate and fun setting. Afterwards, the kids work on a fun “enrichment” craft project that they get to watch the Zoo animals enjoy at the end of the party. Even these craft activities use recycled and reusable materials, such as previously used cardboard boxes and even paper towel tubes.

Birthday Gift Bags

The party bags provided for the birthday child are now made out of post-consumer plastic, and feature a fun “Go Green” wildlife message. Gifts inside the bags include:

  • A small plant growing kit, with seeds and soil included to encourage kids to garden at home
  • A cool “Ellie-Pooh” elephant magnet, hand-crafted in Sri Lanka from elephant dung and post-consumer paper
  • Recycled pencils made of bamboo
  • Stickers with the Zoo’s “Go Green” logo
  • Educational Top Trumps trading cards.

One of the new cards will feature the Western Pond Turtle, to educate participants about the Oakland Zoo’s ongoing conservation programs. The birthday child’s party bag also includes a very special plush animal: an Animals Asia “Moon Bear,” along with a tag describing the Zoo’s conservation project in China that works toward the preservation of these endangered animals. Supporting worldwide conservation programs is a major part of the Zoo’s ongoing conservation mission: “The Oakland Zoo is committed to action for improved global health and the preservation of biodiversity.”

So, don’t forget to call the Zoo and schedule your child’s special Education Birthday celebration. And have a Happy Green Day!