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, ZooCamp will be cancelled, and 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 cancel or 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. Campers are allowed 1 free session transfer, per season (space permitting). Additional transfers are subject to the cancellation fees detailed above.

Are there late fees?

If you are running late to pick up your camper, please call the ZooCamp cell phone number provided to you as soon as you can. ZooCamp provides a 30-minute pick-up window from 3:00-3:30 for regular pick-ups. Campers who have not been picked up by 3:30 will be brought to aftercare. Aftercare is a separate add-on that ends promptly at 5:30. ZooCamp reserves the right to charge a fee of $1/minute for late pick-ups. 

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.

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 is the difference between A and B sessions?

Each session is designated either A or B. These sessions have different themes, lessons, and activities. Click here for a full list of A and B themes!

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?

ZooCamp is proud to provide financial aid opportunities for each season. Links to the applications can be found under each season's webpage. Applications close one week prior to registration. If you submitted an application, you must still register your camper in order to receive funds. We will reach out and let you know if funds become available for you, even if your camper(s) is waitlisted. Scholarship funds are limited and applications do not guarantee funds.

What is the Oakland Zoo’s Tax ID number?


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.

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.