CAMPS FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and details on Safety Policies.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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.

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.

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 one other camper who is 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 camps@zoo.org. 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.

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. During school-year break camps most of our instructors are full-time educators at the zoo. 
 

In each group we aim to have 2 instructors working with up to 15 children in Grizzly Bear, up to 12 children in Black Bear, and up to 10 children in Bear Cub.

Will my camper always have the same instructor?
Your child will always have the same instructor working with their group each week. If your child is in day camp for more than one week they may experience a different instructor each week.

Why do the age groups overlap?
We want to provide the opportunity for campers on the cusp of a program cutoff to choose which age group is most developmentally appropriate.

What are you doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
We will follow the current guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health. To view the current guideline click here. For additonal information on guidelines for schools and childcare visit the Washington State Department of Health's website

Do the campers get to go behind the scenes or touch the animals?
For safety reasons, we are unable to take Bear Cub and Black Bear 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.

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.

Does my child have to wear the camp t-shirt?
All Bear Cub and Black Bear 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 and staff in Grizzly Bear are not required to wear the camp shirt.

Who will be at zoo camp?
There are three age tiers at summer camp. Bear Cub is for campers ages 4-6, Black Bear is for campers 6-8 and Grizzly Bear is for campers 9-13. Campers come from all over the state and country - even overseas!

Why does the pick-up window for Bear Cubs begin at 2:00pm?
We have found with this age group that a 2:00 end time for stimulating camp activities is more appropriate for stamina and program quality. We wanted to provide a large pickup window to offer childcare coverage until 4:00PM for families that need it. The 2:00-4:00 time will offer lower-impact activities that give your camper a chance to unwind and independently choose how they would like to engage. Examples of available activities include coloring, reading, skits, and independent play.

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.

 

 

SAFETY POLICIES

 

Kid Codes

We rely on the Kid Code system as vital to ensuring the safety of all children at camp. Thank you in advance for respecting this policy and the staff enforcing it.

When registering your child for camp, you will be asked to create a Kid Code. This is a secret code known only by the adults authorized to pick up your child from camp and staff will only release a child to an adult who provides the correct Kid Code. In lieu of a Kid Code, we can also accept a valid, government-issued ID from the adult who registered your child or any of the individuals listed as emergency contacts. 

If an individual arrives to pick up your child without knowing the Kid Code, or if the child says the Kid Code out loud in front of an arriving adult before they are checked out, we will need to contact you or an individual listed as an emergency contact for permission before we can release your child to them. 

If you forget your Kid Code, you can refer back to your original registration confirmation email where it is listed. For safety reasons, we are unable to give out Kid Codes over the phone, however, we can confirm whether or not the code you give us is correct. We can also remind you of your Kid Code when you drop off your child at the start of camp.

Kid Code Guidelines

  • Select a one or two word code or phrase, preferably in English.
  • For safety reasons, never use a child’s name, nickname or a parent name as the Kid Code (name of a pet, etc. is okay).
  • Please do not tell your child their Kid Code, or if you do, please explain the importance of keeping it secret and not saying it aloud while at camp.

Potty Policy

The following is the camp policy as written in the staff training manual.

Never take a child to the bathroom by yourself.

In the Education Center

If a child needs to use the restroom facilities, a camp staff member should take a minimum of two children of the same sex and accompany them to the restroom. Before campers may enter the restroom, the staff member should make sure there are no other individuals in the restroom and it must remain clear while campers are inside (this includes zoo staff as well as visitors). If there is another staff person or member of the public in the restroom, the camp staff member should remain inside, but only if they are of the same sex. Otherwise, once the restroom is clear, the staff person should remain outside with the doors blocked open and not allow any other staff member or member of the public in until all campers have left the restroom.

On Zoo Grounds

Never leave a child unattended.

While out on zoo grounds, the entire group will stop at a public restroom. One camp staff member will remain outside with the children who do not have to use the facilities and the other camp staff member will enter the facilities (as appropriate) with the children and remain there until all participants are finished. The staff person should never remain alone with only one child in the restroom.

If the camp employees are not of the same sex as the children, the employee should make sure there is no one in the restroom before the children enter and other people should not be allowed in the restroom while the children are in there alone (this includes zoo staff as well as visitors). Obviously this is difficult for other non-camp individuals, so it is optimal that children take restroom breaks while at the Education Center. The Taiga building and Zoomazium have restrooms that are open to individuals only. The West Entry restrooms are also seldom used and a good place for camp restroom stops.

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.

Humane Certification
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Association of Zoos & Aquariums

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5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org