Zoo Camp this year looks 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.
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. Typically, we run three camper groups each week of 12 campers in each group. This year, we are only hosting two group each week (10 campers, 2 adults). Additionally, we are only offering full week registrations, and not offering any weeks of single-day registrations, to ensure we can fully clean areas between groups.
All Zoo staff, Zoo guests, and campers are required to wear masks to be in compliance with the current Public Health Order. If you do not yet have any cloth/reusable masks, you can find some great ones on Etsy, purchase one from a local Madison business, or if you’re crafty, you can make your own!
Campers will be required to wear masks when indoors, when walking around the zoo, and when participating in animal encounters. We will take time each day as needed to spread out and have safe “mask breaks.” 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
Pick-Up and Aftercare
To avoid a line of cars at pick-up time, we are offering an expanded window for camper pick-up at the end of the day. 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.
To ensure we keep camper groups separate, we are unable to offer aftercare.
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.
When moving through the Zoo’s public spaces, our Zoo Camp staff will ensure campers are keeping a safe distance between themselves and others.
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.
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 2021
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 via email MORE 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 LESS 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