Summer Camp 2016

Week-long summer day camps are available for children:

4 years through entering kindergarten (Penguin Camp- mornings only)
Entering kindergarten (Lion Camp)
Entering 1st grade (Tiger Camp)
Entering 2nd grade (Giraffe Camp)
Entering 3rd grade (Rhino Camp)
Entering 4th grade (Otter Camp)
Entering 5th grade (Cougar Camp)
Entering 6th grade (Animal Investigators)
Entering 7th or 8th grade (Wild Design)

Single day Discovery Day Camps available for children:

4 years through entering kindergarten (half day mornings only)
Entering kindergarten-1st grade
Entering 2-3rd grade
Entering 4-5th grade
Entering 6-8th grade

At Oregon Zoo summer camps, children 4 years old to youth entering eighth grade explore the habits and daily lives of some of the zoo's residents. Each week-long camp includes a lot of learning and fun, with crafts, songs, stories, snacks, animal visitors and in-depth tours of the zoo. Regular summer zoo events and shows are incorporated into camp each week. Students are grouped by the grade they are entering in school for fall 2016. Please note that with the exception of Tiger Camp which has two separate options, camps do not change from week to week.

New for 2016! Looking for the weeks of June 13, July 5 or August 29? Or just a day or two of camp fun this summer? The Oregon Zoo's new Discovery Day Camps are available for registration on a single day basis during those weeks!

Staff Ratios and Experience

Our staff is screened for excellence in programming for children. Every staff member is required to have previous experience with children; many of our counselors return year after year. Typically, a staff member has worked for OMSI or Outdoor School. Most are college graduates, many with advanced degrees or curently working on a degree.

All staff working with children have successfully passed the Oregon Child Care Registry's criminal background check.

Counselor to student ratios are 1:6 for 4 years through kindergarten, 1:8 for 1st-2nd grade and 1:10 for 3rd-8th grade. We may have additional teen helpers in camp but we do not count the teens as part of the staff ratios. The same counselors work with the same kids each day.

Discovery Days day camps staff ratios are 1:6 for 4 years through entering 1st grade, 1:8 for 2-3rd grade and 1:10 for 4-8th grade.

Supervision and Safety

At no time is any child left unsupervised. The number of staff ensures thorough supervision and monitoring. In addition, the zoo's full time security staff responds immediately to any emergency sitution. The zoo grounds are completely fenced and all employees are aware of Zoo Camp.

All security staff members are first aid, CPR and automatic emergency defibrillator (AED) trained. In addition, all camp staff are trained to respond to emergency situations.

When registering, parents are asked to list the names of authorized transporters. Everyone picking up a child from camp will be required to present photo ID that matches a name on that list.


All camps include snacks. Snacks typically include fresh fruit and a carb -- usually pretzels, crackers or popcorn. Campers with food allergies are welcome to pack their own snacks.

Full day zoo campers can either pack lunch or pre-purchase sack lunches through the zoo. Sack lunches are sold for the full week only. We do not offer lunch on a day to day basis except for the Discovery Days Camps. Zoo lunch is not available for the half day (4 years-entering K) Discovery Day Camps or the full week Penguin Camp.

All meals come with a vegetarian option and choice of water, lemonade or juice. Sample entrees could include hot dogs, mac and cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets or a burrito. Lunch entrees will change from day to day. All meals will also include fruit, carrot sticks and animal crackers.

Dinner is included for the campers with extended evening programs (Cougar Camp) or overnights (Animal Investigators and Wild Design Camp). Dinner includes a choice of cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian or veggie pizza plus fruit and a drink.

All menu items are subject to change without notice.

Drop-off locations

Information on where to drop off and pick up campers will be emailed to you one week prior to your camp week. Please refer to this map for your drop-off location.

Kids Attending Together

Please check the website for real time availability of particular weeks and camps and register the kids for the same camp and week.

Small groups are assigned on the Monday of each camp week. Please let the counselors know at drop off which kids want to be together. We will do our best to make sure they are assigned to the same small group.

Multiple Weeks

Most camps do not change from week to week and information will be repeated each week of camp. Tiger Camp (incoming 1st graders) has two camp options that are designed to be different experiences.

Tuition Assistance

Thanks to the JFR Foundation and many individuals, the zoo offers some limited tuition assistance. To receive an application please call 503-220-2781 before registering and leave your address. Applications will be mailed to you. Online registration is not available for families seeking  tuition assisance. 

Behavior Management

Behavior is managed to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all. Children are expected to behave appropriately. In the event a child is disruptive, time-out may be used. If disruptive behavior continues, the parent will be called to help find a solution. If improvement is not realized, the child may be asked to not return to camp.

Behind the Scenes

Due to safety concerns and the availability of animal care staff we are not able to offer behind the scenes tours for most camps. Animal Investigators and Wild Design camps include some limited behind the scenes experiences.

Animal contact experiences are provided for all camps.

Extended care

Camp starts at 8:30 a.m. Early care is not available.
Late care: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  (not available for AM Penguin camp or half day Discovery Days (4 years- entering K))

Children are supervised in a classroom with a variety of animal themed free-choice learning activities available. Pre-registration is required – drop-ins cannot be accommodated. Register for extended care when registering online for camp. 

Can Parents stay with Kids?

Our camp program is designed for children who are able to be successful in group oriented programs without parent involvment.

Medication and Allergies

Medication cannot be administered or dispensed by zoo staff. Campers must be able to take their own medication. However, staff can carry medications and help children remember to take them. Lead camp staff and the zoo's full time security staff are first aid and EpiPen trained.

If your child is bringing an EpiPen or medication to camp you will be asked to complete additional paperwork regarding its authorized use.

If your child has any food specific allergies please pack your own snacks and lunches. The Oregon Zoo does not provide allergen free foods or snacks. Your child will be permited to eat their home packed snacks during snack time.

Special Needs Campers

Please detail any physical, academic or social special needs your child has that our staff should be made aware of. Special needs will be accomodated to the best of our ability provided we know in advance of your camp week. If your child is not self sufficient, you will be asked to provide a non-parent aide for the week of camp.


Zoo staff cannot apply sunscreen to campers. Please make sure your camper comes to camp already wearing adequate sunscreen protection. Staff can remind campers to reapply and assist them in measuring an appropriate amount but children should be able to apply their own sunscreen.

Lost and Found

Lost and found items are turned in to zoo security at the end of each camp week. To check on lost items after your child's camp week, call 503-226-1561 x 5300.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds, minus a 10% administrative fee, will be made only if your cancellation is received before May 30, 2016. After May 30th, 75% refunds will be given if cancellation is made at least five working days before the start of your camp week. No partial refunds are given for missed camp days. There is no fee to switch camps. To cancel or switch camps, please call 503-220-2781.


Tracy Modde

Presented by Banfield Pet Hospital

It turns out our cats and dogs at home aren’t that different from the big cats and wild dogs at the Oregon Zoo—all animals, whether big or small, domesticated or wild, need regular preventive care to make sure they are happy and healthy. At Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest veterinary practice in the world, we are as dedicated to our mission of creating a better world for pets as the Oregon Zoo is to the mission of creating a better future for wildlife. We were founded just up the street in Portland in 1955 and today we have 3,200 veterinarians caring for pets at more than 900 hospitals in neighborhoods across the United States and Puerto Rico.