EDUCATION

ZOO CAMP

Yellow And Teal Butterfly
ZOO CAMP

Let The Fun Begin!

Welcome to an exciting adventure at John Ball Zoo’s Summer and Spring Break Camps! Immerse your child in the wonders of the natural world through our engaging and educational programs designed to foster a love for wildlife and conservation. Our camps provide a unique opportunity for young explorers to connect with nature, discover fascinating animal habitats, and participate in hands-on activities that spark curiosity and creativity. With experienced educators guiding the way, your child will embark on a journey of discovery, making friends and memories that will last a lifetime. Join us at John Ball Zoo Camps and let the wild adventures begin!

Can’t wait for summer camp to start?

Come Join Us For Spring Break Camp!

Enjoy all the fun of camp; games, animal encounters, interactive trips into the zoo and surrounding grounds, and much more. For students currently in Kindergarten-5th grade. Campers will be split into 3 camp groups based on grade level (Kindergarten-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade) for most of the day. Pre-registration is required.

2024 Pricing for Spring Break Day Camps:

Members pay $130 per session | Non-Members pay $160 per session

Animal Olympics

Monday & Tuesday | April 1 & 2 | 9AM-4PM

Campers will embark on a wild adventure as the zoo transforms into a whimsical arena of furry feats and feathered fun! Join us as we compete in playful challenges inspired by the incredible talents of animals.

Just Zoo It

Wednesday & Thursday |  April 3 & 4 |  9AM-4PM

Discover some nooks & crannies of John Ball Zoo. We’ll see where the keepers make the food, where the animals sleep at night, and some of the zoo’s wild spaces!

SUMMER CAMP

Summer Zoo Camp has been enjoyed by campers for over 25 summers!

Kids ages 3 years through going into 9th grade have fun exploring different animal themes in small class sizes. Each class follows a particular theme and instructors plan various activities and tours to bring the class to life. Camp activities may include; games, zoo tours, park exploration, behind-the-scene tours, keeper talks, hands-on animal demonstrations, stories, songs, art projects and more.

2024 Camp Information

Member Registration opens Saturday, February 3 at 8am
Non-Member registration opens Saturday, March 9 at 9am
2024 Camp Registration will be an application process – it may take several days to receive confirmation. Applications will be time stamped, and families submitting multiple applications for multiple children (of the same household only) will be processed based on the earliest family member registration. 
Please note: Non-member applications received prior to March 9 at 9am may be deleted. 
Scholarship applications (criteria based on low-income families) are accepted anytime. 
 
SUMMER CAMP

Summer Camp Registration Dates & Pricing 2024

REGISTRATION DATES
4-DAY CAMP
2-DAY CAMP
REGISTRATION INFORMATION
CAMPS

John Ball zoo Camp Schedule

Member Registration Opens | March 4 at 9am
Non-Member Registration Opens | March 20 at 9am

Week 1 | June 17-20
AM Session (9:00-11:30)
3 Year Olds
Critter Tales
OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
4 Year Olds
CRITTER COVERINGS
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
Grades 1-2
JUNGLE JOURNEYS
Grades 3-4
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
PM Session (1:00-3:30)
4 Year Olds
FANCY FEET
ON THE MOVE
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
UNHUGGABLES
Grades 1-2
HOWLS & GROWLS
FANTASTIC FELINES
Grades 3-4
ANIMALS IN ACTION
Week 2 | June 24-27
AM - Mon-Thurs
9:00-11:30
3 Year Olds
SENSORY ZOO
PM - Mon-Thurs
1:00-3:30
4 Year Olds
FANCY FEET
Full Day - Mon-Tues - 9-4
June 24-25
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
HOME SWEET HOME
Grades 1-2
ANIMOLOGY
Grades 3-4
AQUATIC ADVENTURES
GRADES 5-6
GROSSOLOGY
GRADES 7-9
ZOO VET
Full Day - Wed-Thurs - 9-4
June 26-27
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
ZOO MENU
Grades 1-2
JUNGLE JOURNEYS
Grades 3-4
NATURE’S GOT TALENT
GRADES 5-6
WILDLIFE EXPLORER
GRADES 7-9
JUNIOR KEEPER
Week 3 | July 1-2
Full Day - Mon-Tues - 9-4
Grades 1-2
MASTER TRACKER
FANTASTIC FELINES
Grades 3-4
CREATURE CREATIONS
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Grades 5-6
OPERATION ZOO
GRADES 7-9
WILD WORKERS
Week 4 | July 8-11
AM - Mon-Thurs
9:00-11:30
3 Year Olds
CRITTER TALES
PM - Mon-Thurs
1:00-3:30
4 Year Olds:
CRITTER COVERINGS
Full Day - Mon-Tues - 9-4
July 8-9
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
UNHUGGABLES
Grades 1-2
MASTER TRACKER
Grades 3-4
ANIMALS IN ACTION
GRADES 5-6
WILDLIFE EXPLORER
GRADES 7-9
JUNIOR KEEPER
Full Day - Wed-Thurs - 9-4
July 10-11
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
HOME SWEET HOME
Grades 1-2
ANIMOLOGY
Grades 3-4
CREATURE CREATIONS
GRADES 5-6
OPERATION ZOO
GRADES 7-9
ZOO VET
Week 5 | July 15-18
AM Session 9:00-11:30
3 Year Olds
SENSORY ZOO
OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
4 Year Olds
FANCY FEET
5 YEAR OLDS - KINDERGARTEN
UNHUGGABLES
GRADES 1-2
FANTASTIC FELINES
Grades 3-4
NATURE’S GOT TALENT
PM Session 1:00-3:30PM
4 Year Olds
CRITTER COVERINGS
ON THE MOVE
5 YEAR OLDS - KINDERGARTEN
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
GRADES 1-2
MASTER TRACKER
ANIMOLOGY
Grades 3-4
CREATURE CREATIONS
Week 6 | July 22-25
AM - Mon-Thurs
9:00-11:30
3 Year Olds
OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
PM - Mon-Thurs
1:00-3:30
4 Year Olds
ON THE MOVE
Full Day - Mon-Tues - 9-4
July 22-23
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
Grades 1-2
ANIMOLOGY
JUNGLE JOURNEYS
Grades 3-4
NATURE’S GOT TALENT
GRADES 5-6
OPERATION ZOO
Full Day - Wed-Thurs - 9-4
July 24-25
Grades 1-2
HOWLS & GROWLS
FANTASTIC FELINES
Grades 3-4
ANIMALS IN ACTION
GRADES 5-6
GROSSOLOGY
Week 7 | July 29 - August 1
AM Session (9:00-11:30)
3 Year Olds:
SENSORY ZOO
CRITTER TALES
4 Year Olds:
ON THE MOVE
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
HOME SWEET HOME
Grades 1-2:
HOWLS & GROWLS
Grades 3-4
ANIMALS IN ACTION
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM)
4 Year Olds:
CRITTER COVERINGS
FANCY FEET
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
ZOO MENU
Grades 1-2:
JUNGLE JOURNEYS
MASTER TRACKER
Grades 3-4
AQUATIC ADVENTURES
Week 8 | August 5-8
AM Mon-Thurs
(9:00-11:30)
3 Year Olds:
OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
PM Mon-Thurs
(1:00-3:30PM)
4 Year Olds:
ON THE MOVE
Full Day Mon-Tues
August 5-6
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
ZOO MENU
Grades 1-2:
FANTASTIC FELINES
HOWLS & GROWLS
Grades 3-4
CREATURE CREATIONS
GRADES 5-6
GROSSOLOGY
Full Day Wed-Thurs
August 7-8
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
Grades 1-2:
MASTER TRACKER
Grades 3-4
AQUATIC ADVENTURES
GRADES 5-6
WILDLIFE EXPLORER
GRADES 7-9
WILD WORKERS
Week 9 | August 12-15
Full Day Mon-Tues
August 12-13
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
ZOO MENU
Grades 1-2:
ANIMOLOGY
Grades 3-4
CREATURE CREATIONS
Full Day Wed-Thurs
August 14-15
5 Year Olds - Kindergarten:
HOME SWEET HOME
Grades 1-2:
HOWLS & GROWLS
Grades 3-4
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

Camp Classes by Age

For children 3 years of age by the first day of camp.
Children must be self-sufficient in the bathroom. Diapers and pull-ups are not allowed. All 3 year old camp sessions take place on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.

SENSORY ZOO
AM Sessions (9:00-11:30AM): on June 24-27, July 15-18, or July 29-August 1
Have a sense-sational time at the Zoo as we explore the Zoo using our senses. We’ll smell, see, hear, and touch our way through the Zoo, discovering lots of different animals along the way. Games, songs, up-close animal encounters, and more await!

CRITTER TALES
AM Sessions (9:00-11:30AM): June 17-20, July 8-11, or July 29-August 1
Come discover the animals in the Zoo that have helped inspire some of our favorite stories! Each day will introduce a new story and a Zoo adventure to meet the real critter from our animal tale. Up-close animal encounters, games, and crafts await your little critter in this class!

OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
AM Sessions (9:00-11:30AM): June 17-20, July 15-18, July 22-25, or August 5-8
Come climb, jump, and play your way through the Zoo and surrounding park space. We’ll learn about our forest friends as we explore the hiking trails, and we’ll visit some creatures from around the world during our journeys into the Zoo.

For children 4 years of age by the first day of camp.
AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.
PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.

CRITTER COVERINGS 
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): June 17-20
PM Sessions (1:00-3:30PM): July 8-11, July 15-18, or July 29-August 1
Fuzzy fur, fluffy feathers, sturdy scales, or slippery slime…which would you choose? Animals are protected by their unique body coverings. This is a hands-on approach to learning about our favorite animal groups: fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals!

FANCY FEET
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 15-18
PM Sessions (1:00-3:30PM): 
June 17-20, June 24-27, or July 29-August 1
Webbed, padded, feet with claws, sticky toes, two feet, four feet, and many feet…feet are neat! Why do different animals have different feet and move in different ways? You’ll be head over heels about this class!

ON THE MOVE
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM):
July 29-August 1
PM Sessions (1:00-3:30PM): June 17-20, July 15-18, July 22-25, or August 5-8
Can you swing like a monkey? Hop like a wallaby? Slither like a snake? Animals can get around, and you will too as we jump into this fun-filled and moving exploration of locomotion.

For children 5 years of age by the first day of class or those entering Kindergarten in fall of 2024.
AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.
PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.
Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

HOME SWEET HOME
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 29-August 1
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): August 12-15
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 24-25 or July 10-11

Do barn owls really live in barns? Do tree frogs like trees? Animals can live in some unusual places. Discover what makes a good home for wildlife in nature, and in your backyard.

ZOO MENU
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): August 12-15
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): July 29-August 1
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 26-27 or August 5-6
What does a lion eat? What will a monkey munch? We’ll learn how animals are adapted to getting and eating specific foods, and see special foods Zoo animals eat to stay healthy.

NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): 
June 17-20
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): 
July 15-18
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM):
July 22-23 or August 7-8
Animals play the ultimate game of hide and seek, and so will we! Explore the different ways animals hide. Discover who’s using camouflage, mimicry, and warning colors to survive.

UNHUGGABLES
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): 
July 15-18
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): 
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM):
July 8-9
They might be prickly, stinky, slimy, or have a face only a mother could love. Change that “eww!” to a “wow!” as we find out why these animals deserve our respect and admiration… even if from a distance.

For students entering 1st or 2nd grade in fall of 2024.
AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.
PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.
Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

ANIMOLOGY
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): August 12-15
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): July 15-18
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 24-25, July 10-11, or July 22-23
Animals abound as we discover mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. What makes each of them unique? How do they fit in the animal kingdom? This is the class with class…classification!

HOWLS & GROWLS
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 29 – August 1
PM Sessions (1:00-3:30PM): June 17-20 or August 12-15
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 24-25 or August 5-6
Wild whispers come alive during this roaring adventure! Dive into the fascinating world of animal communication as we decode the roars, chips, and hoots of our zoo residents. From secret signals to primate howls, campers will embark on a journey to understand the language of the wild like never before!

JUNGLE JOURNEYS
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): June 17-20
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): July 29 – August 1
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 26-27 or July 22-23
The dense rainforest is full of wild surprises, and creatures can be found all the way from the forest floor to the sky! Journey into the jungle of the Zoo to discover monkeys, parrots, snakes, frogs, and more!

MASTER TRACKER
PM Sessions (1:00-3:30PM): July 15-18 or July 29 – August 1
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2, July 8-9, or August 7-8
Have you ever walked in a lion’s footsteps or tried to find an owl in the treetops? We’ll learn to read the tracks and signs that animals leave behind as we follow them around the globe to learn what they eat and where they live.

FANTASTIC FELINES
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 15-18
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): June 17-20
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2, July 24-25, or August 5-6
Join us as we jump into the amazing world of felines. Are all cats alike? Why do lions roar and house cats meow? Are all spots the same? We’ve got the purrrfect class for you!

For students entering 3rd or 4th grade in fall of 2024.
AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.
PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.
Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

CREATURE CREATIONS
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): August 12-15
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): July 15-18
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2, July 10-11, or August 5-6
Unleash your inner artist as you explore the wild world of animal creativity. Draw inspiration from masterpieces crafted by artists of the wild, like dazzling nests and intricate footprints. It’s a brush with nature that promises a canvas of fun, laughter, and boundless creativity!

AQUATIC ADVENTURES
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): July 29 – August 1
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 24-25 or August 7-8
Dive deep as we explore Earth’s aquatic habitats. We’ll explore everything from shallow marshlands to the depths of the oceans. Join us for a fascinating explorations of watery worlds. 

ANIMALS IN ACTION
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 29 – August 1
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): June 17-20
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 8-9 or July 24-25
Get ready to dig deep into the playful, puzzling, and downright hilarious behaviors of wild animals! This camp is full of action and adventure inspired by nature’s most impressive instincts.

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): June 17-20
PM Session (1:00-3:30PM): August 12-15
Full Day Session (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2
Embark on a journey through the wilds of JBZ. Explore the park as we track turtles, find frogs, and inspect insects. Head into the Zoo to ogle at otters, spy on snakes, and track tigers. This class is sure to be a wild time!

NATURE’S GOT TALENT
AM Session (9:00-11:30AM): July 15-18
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 26-27 or July 22-23
From the runway to extreme makeover: home edition, animals have got all the talent! Discover who has the most amazing voice or great dance moves as we experience the best reality shows of all…wild animals!

For students entering 5th or 6th grade in fall of 2024.
All 5th-6th grade camp sessions are full days on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

OPERATION ZOO
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2, July 10-11, or July 22-23
So you want to run a Zoo? Take the role of Zoo Director as you pick a species, create a plan, and design a new habitat! We’ll investigate different animal diets, size, habitats, social groups, and physical features to understand what it takes to create the best new home for your animal.

GROSSOLOGY
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 24-25, July 24-25, or August 5-6
Prepare to be grossed out as we explore the gross and disgusting science of the animal world! Why do some animals shoot out their guts, eat their poop, or have slime on their bodies? This class is oozing with interaction.

WILDLIFE EXPLORER
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 26-27, July 8-9, or August 7-8
Come explore the world of wildlife biologists in a hands-on class discovering how biologists catch, tag, and follow animals in the wild. We will get the chance to use our new skills and some telemetry equipment as we track animals in the park.

For students entering 7th, 8th, or 9th grade in fall of 2024.
All 7th-9th grade camp sessions are full days on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

JUNIOR KEEPER
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 26-27 or July 8-9
Find out just what it takes to be a keeper. You’ll get a chance to try your hand at training, explore how keepers use enrichment to engage the animals, and test your knowledge on animal diets.

ZOO VET
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): June 24-25 or July 10-11
It’s time for a check-up and you get to be the vet! Using the tools of the trade, learn what our veterinary staff does to keep the animals healthy. *Due to the safety of the animals and campers, direct contact will be restricted to ambassador animals only.

WILD WORKERS
Full Day Sessions (9:00AM-4:00PM): July 1-2 or August 7-8
The Zoo needs you! Help the Zoo by collecting data for our conservation experts, creating a fun video for our marketing team, and designing new zoo exhibits. This camp offers an inside look at some of the Zoo’s lesser-known careers. Will you answer the call?

Camp Classes by Age

3 Year Olds
For children 3 years of age by the first day of camp.Children must be self-sufficient in the bathroom. Diapers and pull-ups are not allowed. All 3 year old camp sessions take place on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.
SENSORY ZOO
Have a sense-sational time at the Zoo as we explore the Zoo using our senses. We’ll smell, see, hear, and touch our way through the Zoo, discovering lots of different animals along the way. Games, songs, up-close animal encounters, and more await!
AM Sessions
June 24-27
July 15-18
July 29-August 1
CRITTER TALES
Come discover the animals in the Zoo that have helped inspire some of our favorite stories! Each day will introduce a new story and a Zoo adventure to meet the real critter from our animal tale. Up-close animal encounters, games, and crafts await your little critter in this class!
AM Sessions
June 17-20
July 8-11
July 29-August 1
OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
Have a sense-sational time at the Zoo as we explore the Zoo using our senses. We’ll smell, see, hear, and touch our way through the Zoo, discovering lots of different animals along the way. Games, songs, up-close animal encounters, and more await!
AM Sessions
June 17-20
July 15-18
July 22-25
August 5-8
4 Year Olds
For children 4 years of age by the first day of camp.AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.
CRITTER COVERINGS
Fuzzy fur, fluffy feathers, sturdy scales, or slippery slime… which would you choose? Animals are protected by their unique body coverings. This is a hands-on approach to learning about our favorite animal groups: fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals!
AM Sessions
June 17-20
PM Sessions
July 8-11
July 15-18
July 29-August 1
FANCY FEET
Webbed, padded, feet with claws, sticky toes, two feet, four feet, and many feet…feet are neat! Why do different animals have different feet and move in different ways? You’ll be head over heels about this class!
AM Sessions
July 15-18
PM Sessions
June 17-20
June 24-27
July 29-August 1
ON THE MOVE
Can you swing like a monkey? Hop like a wallaby? Slither like a snake? Animals can get around, and you will too as we jump into this fun-filled and moving exploration of locomotion.
AM Sessions
July 29-August 1
PM Sessions
June 17-20
July 15-18
July 22-25
August 5-8
5 Year Olds- Kindergarten
For children 5 years of age by the first day of class or those entering Kindergarten in fall of 2024.AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.
HOME SWEET HOME
Do barn owls really live in barns? Do tree frogs like trees? Animals can live in some unusual places. Discover what makes a good home for wildlife in nature, and in your backyard.
AM Sessions
July 29-August 1
Full Day Sessions
June 24-25
July 10-11
August 14-15
ZOO MENU
What does a lion eat? What will a monkey munch? We’ll learn how animals are adapted to getting and eating specific foods, and see special foods Zoo animals eat to stay healthy.
PM Sessions
July 29-August 1
Full Day Sessions
June 26-27
August 5-6
August 12-13
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON’T
Animals play the ultimate game of hide and seek, and so will we! Explore the different ways animals hide. Discover who’s using camouflage, mimicry, and warning colors to survive.
AM Sessions
June 17-20
PM Sessions
July 15-18
Full Day Sessions
July 22-23
August 7-8
UNHUGGABLES
They might be prickly, stinky, slimy, or have a face only a mother could love. Change that “eww!” to a “wow!” as we find out why these animals deserve our respect and admiration… even if from a distance.
AM Sessions
July 15-18
PM Sessions
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions
July 8-9
Grades 1-2
For students entering 1st or 2nd grade in fall of 2024.AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM.PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM.Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.
ANIMOLOGY
Animals abound as we discover mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. What makes each of them unique? How do they fit in the animal kingdom? This is the class with class…classification!
PM Sessions
July 15-18
Full Day Sessions
June 24-25
July 10-11
July 22-23
August 12-13
HOWLS & GROWLS
Wild whispers come alive during this roaring adventure! Dive into the fascinating world of animal communication as we decode the roars, chips, and hoots of our zoo residents. From secret signals to primate howls, campers will embark on a journey to understand the language of the wild like never before!
AM Sessions
July 29 - August 1
PM Sessions
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions
July 24-25
August 5-6
August 14-15
JUNGLE JOURNEYS
The dense rainforest is full of wild surprises, and creatures can be found all the way from the forest floor to the sky! Journey into the jungle of the Zoo to discover monkeys, parrots, snakes, frogs, and more!
AM Sessions
June 17-20
PM Sessions
July 29 -August 1
Full Day Sessions
June 26-27
July 22-23
MASTER TRACKER
Have you ever walked in a lion’s footsteps or tried to find an owl in the treetops? We’ll learn to read the tracks and signs that animals leave behind as we follow them around the globe to learn what they eat and where they live.
PM Sessions
July 15-18
July 29-August 1
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
July 8-9
August 7-8
FANTASTIC FELINES
Join us as we jump into the amazing world of felines. Are all cats alike? Why do lions roar and house cats meow? Are all spots the same? We’ve got the purrrfect class for you!
AM Sessions
July 15-18
PM Sessions
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
July 24-25
August 5-6
Grades 3-4

For students entering 3rd or 4th grade in fall of 2024. AM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30AM. PM sessions are on Monday-Thursday from 1:00-3:30PM. Full day camp sessions are on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

CREATURE CREATIONS
Unleash your inner artist as you explore the wild world of animal creativity. Draw inspiration from masterpieces crafted by artists of the wild, like dazzling nests and intricate footprints. It’s a brush with nature that promises a canvas of fun, laughter, and boundless creativity!
PM Sessions
July 15-18
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
July 10-11
August 5-6
August 12-13
AQUATIC ADVENTURES
Dive deep as we explore Earth’s aquatic habitats. We’ll explore everything from shallow marshlands to the depths of the oceans. Join us for a fascinating explorations of watery worlds.
PM Sessions
July 29 - August 1
Full Day Sessions
June 24-25
August 7-8
ANIMALS IN ACTION
Get ready to dig deep into the playful, puzzling, and downright hilarious behaviors of wild animals! This camp is full of action and adventure inspired by nature’s most impressive instincts.
AM Sessions
July 29-August 1
PM Sessions
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions
July 8-9
July 24-25
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Embark on a journey through the wilds of JBZ. Explore the park as we track turtles, find frogs, and inspect insects. Head into the Zoo to ogle at otters, spy on snakes, and track tigers. This class is sure to be a wild time!
AM Sessions
June 17-20
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
August 14-15
NATURE’S GOT TALENT
From the runway to extreme makeover: home edition, animals have got all the talent! Discover who has the most amazing voice or great dance moves as we experience the best reality shows of all…wild animals!
AM Sessions
July 15-18
Full Day Sessions
June 26-27
July 22-23
Grades 5-6
For students entering 5th or 6th grade in fall of 2024.All 5th-6th grade camp sessions are full days on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.
OPERATION ZOO
So you want to run a Zoo? Take the role of Zoo Director as you pick a species, create a plan, and design a new habitat! We’ll investigate different animal diets, size, habitats, social groups, and physical features to understand what it takes to create the best new home for your animal.
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
July 10-11
July 22-23
GROSSOLOGY
Prepare to be grossed out as we explore the gross and disgusting science of the animal world! Why do some animals shoot out their guts, eat their poop, or have slime on their bodies? This class is oozing with interaction. 
Full Day Sessions
June 24-25
July 24-25
August 5-6
WILDLIFE EXPLORER
Come explore the world of wildlife biologists in a hands-on class discovering how biologists catch, tag, and follow animals in the wild. We will get the chance to use our new skills and some telemetry equipment as we track animals in the park.
Full Day Sessions
June 26-27
July 8-9
August 7-8
Grades 7-9

For students entering 7th, 8th, or 9th grade in fall of 2024. All 7th-9th grade camp sessions are full days on Monday-Tuesday or on Wednesday-Thursday at 9:00AM-4:00PM.

JUNIOR KEEPER
Find out just what it takes to be a keeper. You’ll get a chance to try your hand at training, explore how keepers use enrichment to engage the animals, and test your knowledge on animal diets.
Full Day Sessions
June 26-27
July 8-9
ZOO VET
It’s time for a check-up and you get to be the vet! Using the tools of the trade, learn what our veterinary staff does to keep the animals healthy. *Due to the safety of the animals and campers, direct contact will be restricted to ambassador animals only.
Full Day Sessions
June 24-25
July 10-11
WILD WORKERS
The Zoo needs you! Help the Zoo by collecting data for our conservation experts, creating a fun video for our marketing team, and designing new zoo exhibits. This camp offers an inside look at some of the Zoo’s lesser-known careers. Will you answer the call?
Full Day Sessions
July 1-2
August 7-8
CLASSES

Frequently asked questions

Camp Information Packets for Registered Campers:
You should receive an email confirmation after registering your child for a camp class. If you did NOT receive an email from the Zoo following your registration please contact us immediately – all camp correspondence is done via email!

Kid’s Day Out – A fun day for kids 4-10 years of age. No need to stress over finding a babysitter to enjoy kid free afternoon, drop the kids off at the zoo and let them have a great afternoon as well. 

Spring Break Camp – Our always popular summer camp has expanded to include Spring Break. Kids get out into the zoo at a great time of year when animals are often most active and also have lots of opportunities to explore the park during adventure time!

Summer Camp – Kids 3 years through going into 9th grade enjoy day camps here at the zoo. Individual classes are designed around specific topics, students enjoy zoo and park time, animal encounters, behind-the-scenes activities, and much more. 

Youth classes are unique, fun, hands-on learning experiences! Each class follows its particular theme and uses a variety of age-appropriate methods to stimulate the learning process, including zoo tours, games, stories, hands-on activities, crafts, up-close animal encounters and more. Parent letters/updates are sent home first and last days of the session to keep you informed of your child’s activities.

We provide camps for children ages 3 years to those entering 9th grade, and each age group is offered a variety of themes/topics of camp. Every camp will be a fun and unique learning experience that utilizes the zoo setting, but we suggest you talk with your child about which camp(s) they are most interested in and choose together.

No. Students will be strictly limited to classes for their age/grade level. Older and younger students can cause disruption to the learning process. For the benefit of all class participants, we cannot allow younger or older children to attend. Three and four year olds must be that age by the first day of class. 

NO. All students must be self-sufficient in the bathroom. Diapers and pull-ups are not permitted.

John Ball Zoo will make reasonable accommodations for students with special needs to attend class. This includes but is not limited to allergies, medical conditions, and social/learning needs. Receiving adequate information from guardians is crucial for our success, and all personal information is kept strictly confidential. Please notify us of your child’s needs as far in advance as possible to allow us to best prepare a quality experience for your child. Any student who poses a safety hazard to themselves or others will be dismissed from the program. If your child requires 1:1 supervision, you may be asked to assist in finding an assistant for them. 

We are committed to providing a safe and nurturing learning environment that features excellent supervision. The emotional and physical well-being of each child is a responsibility we take seriously. Different age levels have different teacher-to-camper ratios. 3-year-old programs operate at a 1:5 teacher-to-camper ratio, 4-year-old programs operate at 1:7 ratio, and all others operate at a 1:10 ratio. Camp sizes are strictly limited. You can expect your child to have a safe and fun learning experience!

Due to space limitations and class design, parents/guardians are asked to separate from their child at the drop-off location. Some campers may experience a brief moment of anxiety at drop-off, but fears are often overcome shortly after parents/guardians are out of sight. If your child is unable to participate in camp without you, you may be asked to return for an early pick-up. No refunds will occur in this case.

Light snacks are provided during all Kids Day Out programs and all full-day camp sessions. 3 and 4 year old campers are also provided a light snack during AM and PM camp sessions. Campers are welcome to bring a snack from home if they prefer, though they may be asked to put their snacks away during certain camp activities or in case of airborne allergies. 

 

 

We are unable to provide child care before, between, or after camp. If you and your child arrive late and do not see camp staff in the drop-off area, proceed to the front office in the Zoo Administration building. Missed activities will not be made up. Parents may be required to accompany their children into the Zoo to meet with their camp group. 

*A $10 late pick-up fee will be charged for any child not picked up within 15 minutes of class dismissal.

Enrollment is limited and classes fill quickly! John Ball Zoo members are allowed to register for Summer Camp sessions prior to non-members. Due to program space and popularity, membership does NOT guarantee a space in camp. Members also receive a discounted camp fee. We suggest you register online as early as possible to provide the best chance at securing a spot for your child. To register online and take advantage of early registration/member pricing, you must have a current zoo membership. Memberships may be purchased online at jbzoo.org

Due to the popularity of the Summer Camp program, we limit registration to two camp sessions per child.  We ask that three-year-olds only register for one camp session. While we appreciate your enthusiasm and support of our program, these registration limitations allow more children an opportunity to participate. Many camp classes are repeated from year to year, allowing your child, over the course of two summers, to participate in most camp offerings. Each camp class has the same curriculum from year to year, so please plan for this while registering.  

Yes. All full camp sessions maintain a waiting list, and there is no charge to join the waiting list. While there is no guarantee an opening for you child will become available, we do encourage you to add your child’s name. We will notify you as quickly as possible if such an opening occurs. If classes are full, you can register for a waitlist online. 

Camp registration is via an application process for 2024. It may take several days at the beginning of member registration to receive your confirmation email.  Please confirm email addresses are accurate and up-to-date in the system, as this is how your camp confirmation will be communicated

Kid’s Day Out – Drop-off is at 1:00pm, pick-up is at 4:00pm.

Spring Break Day Camp – Drop-off is at 9:00am, pick-up is at 4:00pm.

Summer Zoo Camp

4-day AM Camps – Drop-off is at 9 am, pick-up is at 11:30am

4-day PM Camps – Drop-off is at 1:00pm, pick-up is at 3:30pm

2-Day Camps – Drop-off is at 9 am, pick-up is at 4 pm

In the event you must cancel, money will be refunded (less a processing fee) ONLY with advance notice. Changes in registration must be made in writing and emailed, mailed, or dropped off at the Zoo Administration Office during normal business hours (M-F, 8am-4:30pm). 

Kids Day Out – 1 week notice required for refund ($10 processing fee)

Spring Break Camp – 2 weeks notice required for refund ($25 processing fee)

Summer Camp – 2 weeks notice required for refund ($25 processing fee)

Mail: John Ball Zoo – Education, 1300 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Email: [email protected]

Please contact the Education Department at (616) 336-4302 or email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

In the event the zoo must cancel a class participants will receive a full refund. In the case of severe weather (i.e. blizzards or ice storms), if Grand Rapids Public Schools are closed, the zoo will cancel all classes for the day and attempt to reschedule. For Saturday classes staff will make the determination either the day before or the day of and will call all participants. Please make sure to list the best contact phone numbers on your registration form. 

Please call the Education Department at 616-336-4302 (Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm) or email [email protected]

Only a parent or legal guardian can register their child. Using online registration, you can simply select from those classes that are still available for a schedule that works for you. Please note that Non-Members wishing to attend with a Member must wait until the Non-Member registration date, typically the week after Membership registration begins. 

REVIEWS

What Parents Say About Zoo Camp

Intensified Love for Animals

"His love for animals only intensified and he was so excited to go back the next day."

High Quality, Educational, Exciting!

"My daughter loved all that she did and didn't want the class to end. She shared many facts and information with us about her adventures and has incorporated lots of new vocabulary in her conversations. This was a high quality, educational and exciting program."

Highly Recommended

"This class was a step OUTSIDE of the box . . . I highly recommend it for next year!!"

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Great Lakes Rare Turtles

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Turtles are in trouble around the world and locally. The Great Lakes Rare Turtle Program addresses on threats that are existential and widespread for Blanding’s, Spotted, Wood, and Box Turtles. The John Ball Zoo is working wth partners to study head starting as a conservation tool, protecting nesting habitat for Wood Turtles from raccoons, and researching the distribution and status of Spotted Turtles in Southwest Michigan. The zoo partners with local community scientists to indentify road crossings that pose a threat to Blanding’s and other species of turtles.

Partners

Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma powesheik

Facts
Habitat

Grassland, Wetlands (inland)

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

Region

Extant (resident) - Canada (Manitoba); United States (Wisconsin, Michigan), Possibly Extinct - United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa), Extinct - United States (Indiana, Illinois)

Screenshot 2023-02-15 at 10.34.14 AM

Mitchell's Satyr

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The prairie fens of southern Michigan are a stronghold for the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. We are working with Michigan State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center to develp to propagate this rare butterfly. Offspring reared in the program may be used to supplement wild Mitchell’s Satyr populations.

Partners

Freshwater Mussels

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Freshwater Mussels are one of the most fastenating groups of animals. Unfortunately they are also one of the most imperiled groups on animals with more than 70% of North American species listed as Threatened or Endangered. Our own Grand River is home to an impressive 32 different species, 19 of which are listed. The John Ball Zoo is working with scientists at Grand Valley State University to evaluate Grand River Mussel populations. During the 2023 field season, the team documented over 1,000 individuals from 27 different species. This includes the Endangered Snuffbox Mussel.

Partners

Habitat Hero

Community Science
About

The Habitat Hero program is focused on creating better urban pollinator habitat by giving away native plants to west Michigan community members. By giving away native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, we are inviting community members to provide crucial nectar sources for pollinators as well as become more involved in pollinator conservation in their own yards and gardens.

Partners

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

Community Science
About

American Kestrels are one of North America’s most abundant raptors, but their populations have been steadily declining since the mid 1960’s. This year we have begun participating in the American Kestrel Partnership, run by the Peregrine Fund, to monitor local kestrel nest boxes and help better understand Kestrel population trends and biology.

Partners

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

Community Science
About

Suckers are a very important, and often overlooked, group of migratory fish that inhabit the Grand River. Every spring they migrate upriver from Lake Michigan to spawn in tributaries of the Grand River. We are joining a project started by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to determine how changes in temperature and flow of the streams impact the spawning behavior of the suckers.

Partners

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

Community Science
About

One of the major threats to turtle populations is mortality associated with roads and vehicles. We have a team of trained volunteers who survey predetermined road crossing sites and report the number of turtles they find at these locations. We plan to use the data to assist in conservation decision-making regarding roads and turtles in west Michigan.

Partners

Michigan Butterfly Network

Community Science
About

As part of our pollinator conservation work, we want to understand how native butterfly populations are changing over time. By training community members to use the Michigan Butterfly Network monitoring protocol, we are offering passionate people the opportunity to help contribute to our understanding of butterfly populations in west Michigan.

Partners

Bat Surveys

Community Science
About

West Michigan is home to several species of rare and threatened species of bats. This summer we will have a group of volunteers collecting bat occurrence data by driving predetermined routes and using special recorders and software to identify bat species. The data will be submitted to the North American Bat Monitoring Project as part of their ongoing analysis of bat abundance and occupancy across North America.

Partners

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The Massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these snakes are declining in numbers and are listed as Threatened. The John Ball Zoo helps to educate the public on the plight of the Massasauga and helps conservation biologists study them in the field. Currently, we are assisting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Sarett Nature Center develop new technologies to monitor this secretive snake species.

Partners

City Nature Challenge

Community Science
About

The City Nature Challenge is one of the world’s largest annual community science events. Started by iNaturalist in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bioblitz has grown into a global phenomenon with over 500 cities participating. Taking place over the last weekend in April each year, the City Nature Challenge is all about getting outside and documenting the biodiversity in and around our communities while building and strengthening relationships with other people who are passionate about conserving local species. The West Michigan City Nature Challenge is Michigan’s only City Nature Challenge event, and encompasses Allegan, Barry, Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are excited to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other local organizations to engage our communities in four days of exploring our biodiverse outdoor spaces.

Partners

Michigan Area

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Freshwater Mussels

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Habitat Hero

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Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

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Grand River Sucker Monitoring

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Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

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Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

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City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!