It is important to us that your child receives the best experience. We design camp activities and learning opportunities with specific age groups in mind. As such, we hope that you will help us by honoring our age groups.
We welcome all children to participate in our programs. If they have special needs, please provide us with any information during registration that we can use to provide him/her the most positive camp experience. Our Inclusion Specialist will contact families in advance with more in depth questions to be sure we are providing the appropriate accommodations to all children.
Our seasonal camp staff are often college students studying natural sciences and/or education. Camps may also be staffed by full-time educators currently working at the Zoo. All Blank Park Zoo employees are required to go through background checks prior to being hired and all Camp Educators are also First Aid/CPR certified.
Each camp group is led by a teaching team of 2-5 instructors. Groups may also be assisted by youth volunteers (Zoo Crew) or Junior Camp Educators (counselors-in-training). Zoo Crew volunteers are teens trained in a variety of Zoo programs. Junior Camp Educators are long time teen volunteers who have showed an interest in working with children and an exemplary record of volunteering at the Zoo. These volunteers serve as an extra pair of eyes and hands and are always under the supervision of Zoo staff.
PreK – 5:1
Kindergarten – 6:1
Grades 1-6 – 10:1
Grade 7 – 5:1*
*Grade 7 camp has higher ratios due to frequent behind the scenes access during Jr. Zookeeper weeks and off-site field trips during Play Partner weeks.
Each camp and each camp day is slightly different. Generally each camp includes hands-on experiences with bio-facts (bones, pelts, etc.), science activities, an art or craft project, interactions with a zookeeper or Animal Ambassador, games, tours around the Zoo, a guest experience (train ride, goat feeding, etc.), and a conservation message.
If you are bringing any medication to camp with your child (including rescue inhalers and EpiPens), we ask that you please adhere to the following guidelines:
Please give all medications to your child’s camp instructor at check-in and advise whether the medication should be returned at the end of each day or stay at the Zoo for the duration of camp.
The adult dropping off your child on the first day of camp will be asked to sign a release form that authorizes camp staff to hold on to and provide medication to your child (required by law).
All medications must be in their original packaging and labeled with appropriate prescription, dosing and/or pharmaceutical information. Liquid medication must be accompanied with an appropriate measuring cup/syringe.
We are unable to accept damaged/expired medications or loose medicine in unmarked packaging.
Camp t-shirts are available for purchase but are not required. You can purchase a t-shirt with your registration, by calling prior to the week of camp, or during check-in on each morning of camp. T-shirts are $10 and come in youth sizes, x-small to x-large.
You can purchase more than one t-shirt if you wish. If you purchase the wrong size of shirt you can exchange it for another size any morning during check-in. T-shirts that are purchased during registration will be handed out on the first day of the camp week.
Refund requests made at least two weeks prior to each camp start date will be granted minus a $50 cancellation fee. Refund requests with less than two weeks’ notice will not be granted. You may reschedule for another camp week during the 2019 Summer Safari Camp season; however rescheduling cannot be guaranteed and is dependent upon camp availability.
Regular check-in is from 8:45-9:15 am. If you are arriving late for any camp, please advise Zoo Admissions staff that you are dropping off a camper and camp staff will be radioed to come pick up your child at Zoo Admissions.
Families who would like to pick up their children early from camp for appointments and other schedule commitments may do so. Please notify camp staff of your pick up time in advance to ensure a safe and organized check-out process.
The 15 minutes leading up to camp check-out is very busy as groups return to their learning spaces from zoo grounds and camp staff prepare for the check-out process. Therefore, we ask families that arrive within 15 min. of check-out honor our regular 11:30 am (half-day) and 4:00 pm check-out times.
Yes! Every age group spends some time out in the zoo each day visiting various exhibits. Children are going to see all areas of the zoo during the week, regardless of their camp theme. Depending on the theme, some exhibits may be visited more frequently than others.
After registration is complete, you will receive a confirmation email with a receipt. Addition information regarding camp details are sent out the week prior to the start of camp. If you did not receive a confirmation email after registration, please check your spam folder and call 515-974-2588.
Follow the Zoo!
Blank Park Zoo
7401 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50315