Find A Day in the Life, FAQ's and Adult Guide for our summer camp programs.



Sample Schedules

Ever wonder what your camper may be up to at Woodland Park Zoo Camp?

Check out the links below for a sneak peek at what a typical day at camp may potentially be structured.

River Otter or Pond Turtle Camper (ages 5-6 years, 7-9 years)
Grizzly Bear Camper (ages 10-13 years)

Camp Songs

Catchy songs and Camp go together like butterflies and violets. Here is just one of the songs your camper may come home singing.

The Hippo Song

What can make a hippopotamus smile? 
What can make him 
Walk for more than a mile? 
It’s not a party with paper hats! 
Or a bag of candy that’ll make him fat! 
That’s not what hippos DO! 

They ooze through the gooze 
Without any shoes 
They wade through the water 
‘Til their lips turn blue 
That’s what hippos DO! 

What can make a hippopotamus smile? 
What can make him 
Walk for more than a mile? 
It’s not a tune on the old violin 
Or listening to the whistling wind 
That’s not what hippos DO! 

They ooze through the gooze 
Without any shoes 
They wade through the water 
‘Til their lips turn blue 
That’s what hippos DO!



Are scholarships available?

To support accessibility for families with financial barriers, we offer both partial and full scholarships. Scholarship funds are available in increments of 20%-100% (extended care can be included.) You can learn more about the scholarship request process here. Funds are limited but we encourage all in need to apply. We will post on the registration webpage and in our FAQs when funds are fully allocated.

Where is Check-in/ Check-Out?

Please note, we have two separate check-in and check-out locations. Grizzly Bear and Pond Turtle campers will be located at the Hippo Lot (south end of the zoo) and River Otter campers will be at the Bear Lot (north end of the zoo).

Caregivers will park their cars and walk up to the check-in / check-out tables where further instructions will be given. For check out, caregivers will be required to give their camper’s Kid Code in order to pick them up. 

For Extended Care, you may drop-off / pick-up your camper at the Education Center doors located near the Hippo Lot.

Can I drop my camper off late or pick them up early?

Yes, all early pick-ups and late drop-offs take place at the Education Center. Please give us as much advanced notice as possible. Our camp groups are exploring all over the zoo and without advanced notice it can take up to 30 minutes for campers to walk back to the Education Center.

Is extended care available? 

You can register your camper for a full week of extended care, available for all age groups in the morning (Tuesday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 8:45 a.m.) and afternoon (Monday-Friday, 3:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.) We have 30 extended care spots available each week. You can register your camper for extended care during registration for an additional cost of $100.

Can I register my child for all 10 weeks of summer camp?

Woodland Park Zoo's camp programs are structured as weekly sessions with two different alternating curricula offered for each age tier. Families are not encouraged to enroll in more than two sessions, as the curriculum will repeat. Depending on your child's date of birth, they may be eligible for two age tiers during the summer.

When does my camper need to turn the minimum age to register for a camp? 

You are welcome to register your child for camp the week they turn the appropriate age. For instance, if your child turns 5 on Friday, August 16, you are welcome to register them to participate in Pond Turtle Camp that week, or any following week. However, they will not be eligible for the week of August 5-9.

Can my child be in the same group as their friend or sibling?

To promote a well-rounded camp experience, campers are randomly assigned to a camp group within their age tier. You may request that your camper be placed with up to two other campers who are in the same age group during the registration process. If you have already registered your child and would like to submit a grouping preference, you may do so by emailing us at Although we make every effort to honor your grouping preference whenever possible, please understand that we can never guarantee that children will be grouped together.

Why are there changes to age groups from previous years?

We have shifted age groups for the 2024 camp season to create a better programming experience and to best utilize our educational spaces.

Does my child need to be potty trained to attend camp? Yes. Campers must be able to use the bathroom independently. Our camp instructors are not able to assist with toileting. If there are specific accommodations your camper needs, please reach out to for further discussion.

Can my child who may require additional support attend camp? 

We strive to welcome and provide a rich and educational environment for campers who are neurodivergent or who have a disability. Please use this link to visit our camps accessibility and inclusion page to learn more about how camp operates and our available resources to make the best decision for your camper. Please email for further questions and more information about camper supports available.

What steps do you take to create a supportive camp environment?

Camp staff are trained to create a supportive environment by doing the following: 
• Using a calm and respectful tone of voice, positive language, facial expressions to match child’s mood, and validating children’s feelings
• Using guidance techniques to assist in adapting to camp routines and activities, including coaching, role modeling, redirection, and expectation setting
• Providing opportunity for choice and child-led learning
• Encouraging positive interaction between and among children by offering collaborative activities and modeling social skills
• Using youth's pronouns or preferred name.

Who will be in charge of my camper's group?

We work hard to hire fantastic staff each summer for camp. Our instructors are often college students studying natural sciences or education, or professionals in the environmental education or teaching fields.  In each group we aim to have 2 instructors working with up to 15 children in Grizzly Bear, up to 12 children in River Otters, and up to 10 children in Pond Turtles.

Who will be at zoo camp?

There are three age tiers at summer camp. Pond Turtles is for campers ages 5-6, River Otters is for campers 7-9 and Grizzly Bear is for campers 10-13. Campers come from all over the state and country - even overseas!

How do I know what group my child is in?

Camp staff will direct you to your child's camp group at check-in on the first morning of camp.

Do the campers get to go behind the scenes or touch the animals?

For safety reasons, we are unable to take Pond Turtle and River Otter groups behind the scenes in animal units. Some years we do go to non-animal behind-the-scenes locations such as the Zoo Doo Yard or Commissary. Groups occasionally have the opportunity to come in contact with small zoo animals at the Family Farm Contact Area or Animal Encounter stations around the zoo.

Grizzly Bear groups may have the opportunity to go behind the scences depending on the curriculum for the week. Campers will be accompanied by zoo staff at all times while in any behind-the-scenes location. Campers will not be in direct contact with animals while behind the scenes.

Does my child have to wear the camp t-shirt?

All Pond Turtle and River Otter campers and staff are required to wear official camp t-shirts on Mondays during summer camp programs. This allows us to recognize campers easily when we are out on grounds with summer guests. Each child automatically receives one camp t-shirt for each week they are registered to attend camp, which will be distributed on Monday morning at check-in. 

Campers in Grizzly Bear are not required to wear the camp shirt.

Why is the t-shirt that color?

Our purpose is to choose a color that is bright and easy to pick out in a crowd.

What is the zoo's EIN/Tax ID number?

For your tax forms and other childcare deductible paperwork, the zoo's EIN/Tax ID number is 91-6070005.

Additional Policies

Please see our Safety & Policies page.



If you have additional questions or need assistance contact us at

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
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