Zoo Camp this year will look quite a bit different from past years to ensure we do everything we can to keep all of our campers, staff, and animals safe and healthy.
Our staff are keeping up to date on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Camp Association (ACA), and Dane County Public Health.
In order to limit the number of people entering our camp spaces, drop-off and pick-up will both occur at the car, and adults/parents will be asked to remain in their vehicles. We will have two drop-off spots depending on which camp/age group your child is in. Look for an email the week prior to your camp with more details on which gate to use. PLEASE NOTE: If you are registered for multiple weeks of camp, your assigned gate may change depending on the week.
Drop-Off is between 8:00 and 8:30 AM. Pull up to the gate and remain in your vehicle. Once our staff is ready for you, we will ask you a series of health questions, and then we will signal for your camper to exit your vehicle. Our staff will take your camper’s temperature with a no-touch thermometer, and check them in for the day.
Pick-Up is between 3:30 and 4:00 PM. Pull up to the gate and again remain in your vehicle. We will provide a camper pick-up card for you to show us along with your ID as you arrive. This card will ensure that only authorized adults pick up your child from camp. Our staff will verify the pick-up card and your ID and then radio for your child to come out to your car.
Email our Education department if you need to add additional authorized adults, or if you need additional pick-up cards.
In a normal year, we keep Zoo Camp sizes small to ensure everyone can have a good experience at all of our animal encounters. This year our groups sizes will be even smaller (10 campers, 2 adults), and different age groups will not be together at the beginning of the day, at lunch, or at aftercare.
We are also only running two camps each week, instead of our normal three camps, which will help the remaining camps to spread out in our education spaces.
All camp staff are required to wear masks. We’re requesting, but not requiring, that campers also have masks. If you do not yet have any cloth/reusable masks, you can find some great ones on Etsy, purchase them from local resale shop Happily Ever After Children’s Boutique, or if you’re crafty, you can make your own!
Campers will be required to wear masks when in certain areas of the zoo and around certain animals; we will have some disposable masks on hand for those occasions. Here is a video you can share with your child about wearing masks.
What to Bring
Please bring a backpack labeled with your camper’s name that contains the following:
- Clothing appropriate for the weather – rain gear, a light sweatshirt for chilly mornings, sun hat, etc.
- Non-refrigerated lunch
- A snack
- Filled, reusable water bottle
- Close-toed shoes (required to participate in behind-the-scenes activities)
- Sunscreen – please apply a first layer of sunscreen before your child is dropped off in the morning. We will re-apply after lunch.
- Please DO NOT bring: gum, toys, electronics, or cell phones
To ensure that groups can remain separate, we will not be offering aftercare this summer. We will, however, be expanding our pick-up time. Similar to the morning, we will have a window between 3:30 and 4:00 pm to help space out pick-ups, and hopefully reduce your waiting time.
In past years, we have invited family members to join us at lunch-time on Friday to see what their campers have been busy with all week.
In lieu of an in-person celebration, this year we will have a “virtual celebration” instead. We will record videos and photos of each of the campers showing off their projects from the week, and send those home to families. This is again in an effort to avoid gathering larger groups of people whenever possible.
If your camper, or anyone in your household is experiencing any of the following symptoms, please do not bring them to camp. If your camper experiences any of these symptoms during the camp day, we will call you and ask you to pick up your child immediately.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Find out more about COVID19 symptoms and recommendations on the CDC website.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
We have built more time into the schedule this year for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in between activities, and for washing/sanitizing hands more frequently. All of our camp staff will be carrying hand sanitizer with them at all times, and we will take time before and after activities, and at the beginning and ending of each day, to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Activities and Supplies
Whenever possible, our camp games and activities will be altered to allow for greater distancing and no physical contact between campers. Each camper will have their own set of camp supplies for the week, or if not possible, supplies will be sanitized in between groups.
Each camper will be provided with their own labeled cubby to store their belongings when not in use.
As the indoor buildings of the Zoo are currently closed to the public, Zoo Camp will be able to utilize those areas without being in close contact with others.
When moving through the Zoo’s public spaces, our Zoo Camp staff will ensure campers are keeping a safe distance between themselves and others.
At animal encounters that take place in public areas, we will place barriers between campers and the public to avoid crowding.
If Someone Gets Sick
Even with all of these precautions in place, we know we are unable to control for every scenario, and there is still a possibility that someone at Zoo Camp may get sick during the summer.
In this case, our protocol will be to notify all of the parents immediately, who will then have the option to come pick up their camper.
We will fully clean and sterilize all camp areas before allowing campers back into the spaces.
Cancellation Policy 2020
Due to the unusual circumstances this year, we have altered our normal cancellation policy.
If we make the decision to cancel an entire week of camp, you will be notified and given the option to transfer your registration fee to a credit for a future program, to a donation for the zoo, or to receive a refund.
If you need to cancel a week of camp for any reason other than illness, and notify us in writing no less than TWO WEEKS prior to the start of camp, you can choose to transfer your registration fee to a credit, a donation for the zoo, or receive a refund.
If you need to cancel a week of camp for any reason other than illness, and notify us after than two weeks prior to the start of your camp, no credits or refunds will be given.
If you need to cancel or leave camp due to COVID-related illness, we will provide a partial or pro-rated credit.
Email the Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org