ZooCamp FAQ

Don't see what you're looking for? E-mail us at zoocamp@oaklandzoo.org with your questions or to set up a phone call with a camp director.

ZooCamp Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the Zoo closes for weather?

ZooCamp will be canceled. Oakland Zoo is built on a hill, and extreme weather may create unsafe conditions for guests or staff. The safety of our animals, staff, and guests are of utmost priority. We will communicate weather closures as early as possible. If the Zoo does close for weather, we will issue prorated refunds.

What is the cancellation/refund/transfer policy?

Cancellation within 7 days of camp: Not eligible for refund

Cancellation 7-14 days before camp: 50% refund

Cancellation 15+ days before camp: 90% refund

Other cancellations due to emergency or illness will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like to transfer sessions, please email us at zoocamp@oaklandzoo.org. To maintain a balanced teacher:camper ratio, we cannot overbook groups, but if there are spots available, we will do our best to accommodate a transfer. Transfers may be subject to a fee.

What do campers do all day at camp?

Campers do a wide variety of activities throughout the day at ZooCamp, including Zoo tours, animal close-ups, educational lessons, games, nature play, story times, song sessions, assemblies, and exclusive Behind-the-Scenes experiences with a zookeeper. There are two snack times and an hour of lunch with free play time each day. ZooCamp is fairly active and campers will spend much of their time outdoors.

Activities will vary depending on the day and age group, but the basic structure of the day is consistent. Here's an example of what a day at ZooCamp might look like for your camper:

9:00 - 9:30 am: Camper drop off window

9:30 - 10:00 am: Morning Circle

10:00 - 10:30 am: All-Camp Assembly

10:30 - 10:45 am: Snack time

10:45 - 12:00 pm: Tour a section of the Zoo

12:00 - 1:00 pm: Lunch and Free Play: playground, lawn games, board games, trading cards

1:00 - 1:30 pm: Craft time

1:30 - 2:00 pm: Petting Yard

2:00 - 2:30 pm: Snack time and Animal tag in the meadow

2:40 - 3:00 pm: Animal Close-up

3:00 - 3:30 pm: Closing Circle

3:30 - 4:00 pm: Camper pick up window

What do campers do in before care/aftercare?

We provide a variety of activities in before care and aftercare. Activities include puzzles, word searches, table games, board games, books, coloring, nature shows (aftercare), and/or Disney movies (aftercare).

Can we register for multiple sessions of ZooCamp?

For break camps with two weeks: you are welcome to register for both weeks, just note there might be some activity overlap.

For summer camp: due to high demand, each camper may only attend one A session and one B session for a total of two (2) sessions to extend the opportunity to other households. Summer sessions are designated either A or B.

What’s the difference between A and B sessions?

A and B sessions have different curriculum themes. More details surrounding curriculum to be announced!

Is there a sibling discount?

Yes. There is a 10% discount for registering two or more campers from the same household. This should automatically be reflected in portal when you register. Please contact us if you believe you should receive this discount and don’t see it in your account.

Is there financial aid available?

Summer 2023 financial aid applications and information will be posted soon. Please stay tuned.

What is the Oakland Zoo’s Tax ID number?

941687847

What are the ZooCamp COVID-19 protocols?

As of Spring 2023, we are no longer requiring ZooCamp staff and campers to wear masks while indoors, although it is always encouraged. All Zoo staff are vaccinated. We will continue to follow Alameda County Department of Public Health guidelines for day camps and update protocols accordingly.

What do campers need to wear and bring to camp?

Campers should bring a refillable water bottle, a lunch, two snacks, and sunscreen in a bag that they can carry as groups move from place to place. When campers arrive at camp they should be wearing sunscreen, closed-toed shoes, and clothes suitable for outdoor play. It’s also a good idea to pack a hat, face masks, and extra clothes and dress in layers as the temperature can change throughout the day. Labeling your camper’s items with their full name is extremely useful! Specific information about how to prepare for camp will always be sent out to registered families in the weeks leading up to the start date of their session. *The Zoo is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen items. However, if we recover lost items, we will put it in our ZooCamp Lost & Found. After each session, unclaimed items will be brought to the Zoo’s Lost & Found located in the Public Safety Building.

What’s the deal with camp shirts?

Summer camp registrations include 1 camp shirt. ZooCampers will receive their shirts on Mondays, and are required to wear them every day. Extra shirts are available to purchase for $10 at time of reservation. You may also purchase them for cash/check only (no cards) at pick-up/drop-off on Mondays. We do not carry change, so please bring exact cash or a check payable to the Conservation Society of California with “ZooCamp shirt” on the Memo line.

School break camps do not have shirts, but campers who have shirts from previous summers are welcome to wear them as much as they want! Sometimes, there are leftover shirts from the previous summer available for purchase during break camps - just ask a staff member!

My child has unique needs. How can I communicate these to camp staff or check in about specific accommodations?

It’s our goal at ZooCamp to be a safe and accessible space. Our registration process requires a medical form where you can list specific conditions, medications, allergies, etc. and write instructions or notes for camp staff.

For children with increased physical or emotional support needs: if your child usually works with a support person at home or school, we ask that you send them to ZooCamp with a support person. Support people/aides/helpers are always welcome at camp (as long as the person is vaccinated and passes a background check) and can work closely with camp directors and teachers to make sure your child has the best possible experience at camp. Please let us know if your camper requires a support person as soon as possible so that there is enough time for background checks to clear. If you have questions or want to check in about your camper’s needs at any point, please email zoocamp@oaklandzoo.org.

Can my camper request to be in the same group as their friend?

There will be an opportunity to list a friend request during registration. Please note that we organize campers by grade level, so if the friend/sibling/cousin is in a different grade, there is a chance that they will not be grouped together. Due to privacy laws, we cannot share the registration status of campers outside your household.

Are parents/guardians allowed to hang out with ZooCamp?

No. All adults who spend time with our camp must undergo a background check. This includes staff, volunteers, and personal support people. If you would like to visit the Zoo while your kid is at camp, you must purchase a ticket online as a regular Zoo guest.

If you were an animal, which animal would you be?

Wow, thanks for asking. I’m just a website so I don’t know what it’s like to have a body at all, but I think I’d like to try out being an octopus.

Don't see your question? E-mail us at zoocamp@oaklandzoo.org.

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