Camps

Safari Camp


Member registration for Safari Camp 2023 will open mid-February 2023.

General registration will open early March 2023.

Join us for a mega-dose of Vitamin Z at Safari Camp 2023! A variety of incredible activities are in store during summer at the wildest place in town. Weeklong and 3-day day camps are available during the weeks of June 20 through August 24. Twilight Trails evening camps are back this summer for campers to experience the Zoo at dusk! Camp descriptions by grade level and availability are listed below.

Please review all the information below before completing registration.

  • Children must be registered for camp levels corresponding to the school grade they will enter in fall 2023. Registrations for the incorrect camp level may be canceled.
  • Camp purchases are not refundable.
  • Campers will spend the majority of their day outdoors, please have your camper dress for the weather rain or shine. During severe weather, campers will be brought indoors until safe to return outside. 
  • If your child misses camp due to illness, make-up days may be offered if space allows. Camp Directors can be reached at safaricamp@dzs.org
  • Early Bird and Late Owl extended care have a limited capacity.

We offer Teen Volunteer Opportunities for teens ages 15 through 17 to join us as Counselors-in-Training.

Please note: For the safety and well-being of our campers and animals, youth will not handle or clean up after the animals. A variety of other engaging activities will increase understanding and appreciation toward wildlife and wild places.

Questions? Email us at safaricamp@dzs.org.


Zookeeper Camps (Available for each grade level K-9)

Zookeeper Camps are immersive full-day, weeklong camps introducing campers to the needs of animals and the complexities of animal care. Campers will have the opportunity to explore all types of animals and learn about their health, behavior, nutrition and welfare by visiting habitats of the Zoo’s residents throughout the week. Each camp incorporates elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) focusing on their camp’s theme through inquiry activities, art projects, learning labs and games. All campers are provided a morning and afternoon snack each day, and receive one Safari Camp t-shirt.

Photos taken by camp staff will highlight the activities and experiences of the campers and be posted on a private website shared with the camper’s parents/guardians. The photos are intended to spark conversation between the campers and their families as they talk about their camp experience. Caregivers will be invited to visit the Safari Camp Showcase on Fridays with their campers to see the projects and crafts created that week.

½ day Kindergarten: Sense-ational Animals
During this half-day, weeklong camp, kindergarteners have the opportunity to sense the world as animals do as they explore their five senses. Campers create a self-portrait where they take on the eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hands of their favorite animals. Through hikes, crafts and activities, they will have fun while learning about sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Campers design their own animal puppet and film a puppet show at the end of the week!
Cost: Members $190, Regular $220

Full-day Kindergarten: World Travelers
Grab your passport and get ready to go! During this full-day, weeklong camp for children entering kindergarten, campers will have the opportunity to learn about animals from all over the world without ever leaving the Zoo! Their travels will be documented with photos to create a souvenir map and a twist puzzle with the different animals they visit. Throughout the week, campers will keep a passport journal where they highlight adaptations that animals have to live in their natural habitats while practicing early literacy skills.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

1st Grade: Junior Zookeeper
Campers entering first grade learn the basics of animal care and how zookeepers tend to the animals who live at the Detroit Zoo.  As campers learn about animal needs, they’ll build a mini magnetic terrarium to take home and practice caring for a tiny, lifelike creature. Campers explore and study the expansive and naturalistic animal habitats throughout the Zoo, documenting the diversity of the habitats they see to create their own 2D habitat with reusable stickers.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410 
 

2nd Grade: Feeding Frenzy
It’s feeding time! Campers entering second grade spend the week exploring the Zoo learning about the wild diets of animals and how the Detroit Zoo animal care team works hard to replicate them at the Zoo. Campers will compare their own diets to the many animal residents here and have an opportunity to prepare a meal for themselves by partnering with the chefs at one of the Zoo’s restaurants. To remember their experience long after the summer, campers will create a recipe book inspired by the animal diets they’ve explored and design a place setting to take home.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

3rd Grade: Avian Adventure
Campers entering third grade explore the many species of birds who live at the Detroit Zoo in our care, and those who are native to Michigan and have chosen to visit the Zoo. Throughout the week, campers build observation skills and document the birds they see, contributing their data to the Celebrate Urban Birds citizen science project. Combining what they learn about adaptations and their imaginations, youth design their own species of bird, its nest, eggs and habitat elements. Campers create decals to prevent bird collisions with windows at home and build a birdhouse for their own backyards so they can continue observing birds for years to come.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

4th Grade: Herpetologist
Campers entering fourth grade will explore the Holden Reptile Conservation Center and the National Amphibian Conservation Center to learn more about species that the DZS is helping to save from the brink of extinction. They will work as a team to create a storybook to share these stories and more. Each camper will receive a digital copy of the book they create to share with family and friends. They’ll also put their creativity and engineering skills into practice to create a perfect home for neighborhood frogs and toads.
Members $380, Regular $410

5th Grade: Mammal Mania
Campers entering fifth grade learn about the challenges and rewards of caring for the more than forty mammal species at the Detroit Zoo. Throughout the week, campers will hear the stories of animals who were rescued and found sanctuary at the Zoo. They’ll help animals cool off during the hot summer days by creating frozen treats for some of the Zoo’s resident mammals alongside animal care staff. Using their newly gained insight, campers share information on their favorite animals in a recorded “habitat chat” to be shared with friends and family. To remember their experience, campers also construct a plaster statue of an animal to keep. 
Members $380, Regular $410

6th Grade: Design-A-Zoo
Campers entering sixth grade investigate the many considerations that go into building safe, naturalistic and innovative habitats. The experience will explore how habitat designers consider the needs of the animals and the animal care staff, alongside visitor expectations. Campers use their new knowledge to design and build a model habitat for an animal of their choice out of recycled materials. Working as a team, campers will combine their individual habitats to build their own zoo and film a virtual tour of their creation to share with friends and family.
Members $380, Regular $410

7th Grade: Animal Conservation
Campers entering seventh grade traverse the Zoo taking on the role of conservation scientists. They explore the important roles animals play in their respective ecosystems and the resiliency of the environment. Using field cameras, campers will design an inquiry study as a group by collecting and analyzing data and sharing their conclusions, just as conservation scientists do out in the field to investigate animals and habitats. Campers create an action plan for a cause important to them and create a canvas bag with a unique logo of their design to bring attention to their causes.
Members $380, Regular $410

8th Grade: Animal Behavior
Campers entering eighth grade investigate the intriguing world of animal minds and learn the different techniques animal care staff use to understand animal behavior. Campers consider how staff ensure animals feel content, safe and interested in their environments by practicing ethology research methods of ethograms and habitat space use observations. Animal care staff meet with campers after they observe a training session to learn how Zoo animal residents are able to take an active role in their welfare. Through team and individual projects, campers use their creativity to design puzzle feeder inquiry and art projects, and create enrichment activities for animals at the Zoo.
Members $380, Regular $410

9th Grade: Animal Health
Campers entering ninth grade focus on the science of veterinary medicine in a zoological setting. Behind-the-scenes at the Animal Health Complex, campers learn how our talented vet staff address the health needs of the different animals living at the Zoo through x-rays, bloodwork, maintenance exams, nursery care and more. Throughout the week they also discover how Zoo residents are helping us to learn more about their species as a whole through research studies and programs such as the Great Ape Heart Project. Campers investigate anatomy and physiology through an alternative frog dissection and art projects,  Using their new skillset, campers are tasked with a mock case study for an animal patient, working together in a team to research, diagnose and complete a procedure to provide the best care in their role as a zoo vet.
Members $425, Regular $455

Zookeeper Camps (Available for each grade level K-9)

Zookeeper Camps are immersive full-day, weeklong camps introducing campers to the needs of animals and the complexities of animal care. Campers will have the opportunity to explore all types of animals and learn about their health, behavior, nutrition and welfare by visiting habitats of the Zoo’s residents throughout the week. Each camp incorporates elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) focusing on their camp’s theme through inquiry activities, art projects, learning labs and games. All campers are provided a morning and afternoon snack each day, and receive one Safari Camp t-shirt.

Photos taken by camp staff will highlight the activities and experiences of the campers and be posted on a private website shared with the camper’s parents/guardians. The photos are intended to spark conversation between the campers and their families as they talk about their camp experience. Caregivers will be invited to visit the Safari Camp Showcase on Fridays with their campers to see the projects and crafts created that week.

½ day Kindergarten: Sense-ational Animals
During this half-day, weeklong camp, kindergarteners have the opportunity to sense the world as animals do as they explore their five senses. Campers create a self-portrait where they take on the eyes, ears, mouth, nose and hands of their favorite animals. Through hikes, crafts and activities, they will have fun while learning about sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Campers design their own animal puppet and film a puppet show at the end of the week!
Cost: Members $190, Regular $220

Full-day Kindergarten: World Travelers
Grab your passport and get ready to go! During this full-day, weeklong camp for children entering kindergarten, campers will have the opportunity to learn about animals from all over the world without ever leaving the Zoo! Their travels will be documented with photos to create a souvenir map and a twist puzzle with the different animals they visit. Throughout the week, campers will keep a passport journal where they highlight adaptations that animals have to live in their natural habitats while practicing early literacy skills.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

1st Grade: Junior Zookeeper
Campers entering first grade learn the basics of animal care and how zookeepers tend to the animals who live at the Detroit Zoo.  As campers learn about animal needs, they’ll build a mini magnetic terrarium to take home and practice caring for a tiny, lifelike creature. Campers explore and study the expansive and naturalistic animal habitats throughout the Zoo, documenting the diversity of the habitats they see to create their own 2D habitat with reusable stickers.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410 
 

2nd Grade: Feeding Frenzy
It’s feeding time! Campers entering second grade spend the week exploring the Zoo learning about the wild diets of animals and how the Detroit Zoo animal care team works hard to replicate them at the Zoo. Campers will compare their own diets to the many animal residents here and have an opportunity to prepare a meal for themselves by partnering with the chefs at one of the Zoo’s restaurants. To remember their experience long after the summer, campers will create a recipe book inspired by the animal diets they’ve explored and design a place setting to take home.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

3rd Grade: Avian Adventure
Campers entering third grade explore the many species of birds who live at the Detroit Zoo in our care, and those who are native to Michigan and have chosen to visit the Zoo. Throughout the week, campers build observation skills and document the birds they see, contributing their data to the Celebrate Urban Birds citizen science project. Combining what they learn about adaptations and their imaginations, youth design their own species of bird, its nest, eggs and habitat elements. Campers create decals to prevent bird collisions with windows at home and build a birdhouse for their own backyards so they can continue observing birds for years to come.
Cost: Members $380, Regular $410

4th Grade: Herpetologist
Campers entering fourth grade will explore the Holden Reptile Conservation Center and the National Amphibian Conservation Center to learn more about species that the DZS is helping to save from the brink of extinction. They will work as a team to create a storybook to share these stories and more. Each camper will receive a digital copy of the book they create to share with family and friends. They’ll also put their creativity and engineering skills into practice to create a perfect home for neighborhood frogs and toads.
Members $380, Regular $410

5th Grade: Mammal Mania
Campers entering fifth grade learn about the challenges and rewards of caring for the more than forty mammal species at the Detroit Zoo. Throughout the week, campers will hear the stories of animals who were rescued and found sanctuary at the Zoo. They’ll help animals cool off during the hot summer days by creating frozen treats for some of the Zoo’s resident mammals alongside animal care staff. Using their newly gained insight, campers share information on their favorite animals in a recorded “habitat chat” to be shared with friends and family. To remember their experience, campers also construct a plaster statue of an animal to keep. 
Members $380, Regular $410

6th Grade: Design-A-Zoo
Campers entering sixth grade investigate the many considerations that go into building safe, naturalistic and innovative habitats. The experience will explore how habitat designers consider the needs of the animals and the animal care staff, alongside visitor expectations. Campers use their new knowledge to design and build a model habitat for an animal of their choice out of recycled materials. Working as a team, campers will combine their individual habitats to build their own zoo and film a virtual tour of their creation to share with friends and family.
Members $380, Regular $410

7th Grade: Animal Conservation
Campers entering seventh grade traverse the Zoo taking on the role of conservation scientists. They explore the important roles animals play in their respective ecosystems and the resiliency of the environment. Using field cameras, campers will design an inquiry study as a group by collecting and analyzing data and sharing their conclusions, just as conservation scientists do out in the field to investigate animals and habitats. Campers create an action plan for a cause important to them and create a canvas bag with a unique logo of their design to bring attention to their causes.
Members $380, Regular $410

8th Grade: Animal Behavior
Campers entering eighth grade investigate the intriguing world of animal minds and learn the different techniques animal care staff use to understand animal behavior. Campers consider how staff ensure animals feel content, safe and interested in their environments by practicing ethology research methods of ethograms and habitat space use observations. Animal care staff meet with campers after they observe a training session to learn how Zoo animal residents are able to take an active role in their welfare. Through team and individual projects, campers use their creativity to design puzzle feeder inquiry and art projects, and create enrichment activities for animals at the Zoo.
Members $380, Regular $410

9th Grade: Animal Health
Campers entering ninth grade focus on the science of veterinary medicine in a zoological setting. Behind-the-scenes at the Animal Health Complex, campers learn how our talented vet staff address the health needs of the different animals living at the Zoo through x-rays, bloodwork, maintenance exams, nursery care and more. Throughout the week they also discover how Zoo residents are helping us to learn more about their species as a whole through research studies and programs such as the Great Ape Heart Project. Campers investigate anatomy and physiology through an alternative frog dissection and art projects,  Using their new skillset, campers are tasked with a mock case study for an animal patient, working together in a team to research, diagnose and complete a procedure to provide the best care in their role as a zoo vet.
Members $425, Regular $455


Three-Day Camps (Grades K- 6)

Three-day camp experiences are offered June 20-22, July 5-7 and August 22-24.

Let creative minds run wild at the Detroit Zoo this summer! During this three-day, full-day camp, youth discover the world of animals through an engineering lens as they investigate habitat designs, size comparisons, locomotion and ecosystem relationships. Creativity is limitless as campers journey the BrickLive trail to gain inspiration from the giant animals built brick by brick. Campers practice spatial and coding skills through a workshop led by Robot Garage, where they will work as a team and individually to create animals with building blocks and construct their own to take home. Each camp group visits areas of the Zoo each day of camp related to their group’s theme, along with other STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities.
Cost: Members $300, Regular $330

Kindergarten: Polar Adventure 
Campers entering Kindergarten take a journey this summer to explore life for animals at the North and South Poles. As young scientists, they visit the Polk Penguin Conservation Center and Arctic Ring of Life during the week.  Using various building materials, campers will practice their spatial reasoning skills through 2D and 3D “ice and rock” block building activities to recreate polar habitat spaces. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a brick penguin buddy to bring home.

Grades 1-2: Big and Small, Short and Tall
Campers entering first and second grades investigate the diversity of the animal kingdom from the smallest of turtles to the largest of mammals. Exploring how size and shape helps animals survive in their ecosystems, campers compare and contrast different animal adaptations in team design challenges. Campers visit the Zoo’s African ecoregion habitats and reptiles at the Holden Reptile Conservation Center throughout the week. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a tall and small animal buddy to take home.

Grades 3-4: Animal Moves
Campers entering third and fourth grades inquire about animal movement. How does locomotion help an animal survive? Exploring the way animals slither, climb, fly, walk, jump, sprint and more, campers investigate how their body movements compare to different animals through relay race games and work as a team to design solutions to move an animal through habitat elements. Campers visit the Zoo’s Australian Outback Adventure, Asian ecoregion and National Amphibian Conservation Center. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a hopping animal friend and habitat elements to bring home.

Grades 5-6: Predator vs. Prey
Campers entering fifth and sixth grades explore the dynamic relationship between predator and prey species. Groups work to investigate roles animals play in their ecosystems, the features that help them succeed in survival and how biomimicry helps us to create products and solve problems. Campers visit the Zoo’s African and North American ecoregions, Polk Penguin Conservation Center and Holden Reptile Conservation Center. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a predator or prey animal with a unique defense adaptation and habitat elements to bring home.

Three-Day Camps (Grades K- 6)

Three-day camp experiences are offered June 20-22, July 5-7 and August 22-24.

Let creative minds run wild at the Detroit Zoo this summer! During this three-day, full-day camp, youth discover the world of animals through an engineering lens as they investigate habitat designs, size comparisons, locomotion and ecosystem relationships. Creativity is limitless as campers journey the BrickLive trail to gain inspiration from the giant animals built brick by brick. Campers practice spatial and coding skills through a workshop led by Robot Garage, where they will work as a team and individually to create animals with building blocks and construct their own to take home. Each camp group visits areas of the Zoo each day of camp related to their group’s theme, along with other STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities.
Cost: Members $300, Regular $330

Kindergarten: Polar Adventure 
Campers entering Kindergarten take a journey this summer to explore life for animals at the North and South Poles. As young scientists, they visit the Polk Penguin Conservation Center and Arctic Ring of Life during the week.  Using various building materials, campers will practice their spatial reasoning skills through 2D and 3D “ice and rock” block building activities to recreate polar habitat spaces. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a brick penguin buddy to bring home.

Grades 1-2: Big and Small, Short and Tall
Campers entering first and second grades investigate the diversity of the animal kingdom from the smallest of turtles to the largest of mammals. Exploring how size and shape helps animals survive in their ecosystems, campers compare and contrast different animal adaptations in team design challenges. Campers visit the Zoo’s African ecoregion habitats and reptiles at the Holden Reptile Conservation Center throughout the week. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a tall and small animal buddy to take home.

Grades 3-4: Animal Moves
Campers entering third and fourth grades inquire about animal movement. How does locomotion help an animal survive? Exploring the way animals slither, climb, fly, walk, jump, sprint and more, campers investigate how their body movements compare to different animals through relay race games and work as a team to design solutions to move an animal through habitat elements. Campers visit the Zoo’s Australian Outback Adventure, Asian ecoregion and National Amphibian Conservation Center. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a hopping animal friend and habitat elements to bring home.

Grades 5-6: Predator vs. Prey
Campers entering fifth and sixth grades explore the dynamic relationship between predator and prey species. Groups work to investigate roles animals play in their ecosystems, the features that help them succeed in survival and how biomimicry helps us to create products and solve problems. Campers visit the Zoo’s African and North American ecoregions, Polk Penguin Conservation Center and Holden Reptile Conservation Center. Inspired by their hike through the BrickLive trail and Robot Garage build workshop, each camper will use their design skills to create a predator or prey animal with a unique defense adaptation and habitat elements to bring home.


 

Twilight Trails Evening Camps (Available select dates for grades K-6)

Twilight Trails are back! Campers have the opportunity to explore the Detroit Zoo through an exclusive experience during the evening hours. Each group takes a dusk hike into the Zoo to visit crepuscular and nocturnal animal residents and explore their unique adaptations. Campers make a craft to remember their experience and complete the night with an evening campfire and s’mores snack.
Cost: Members $45, Regular $55

Grades 1-2: Night Sense
When night comes, can you see as well as a tiger or hear as well as an owl? Children entering first and second grade explore the heightened senses of nocturnal animals while hiking through the Zoo and explore the different ways animals rely on their senses through games and group activities. Campers also have the chance to test their sense of taste by making delicious s’mores.

Grades 3-4: Insects at Night
Follow Zoo trails in the cooler twilight hours on a search for insects! Campers entering third and fourth grade enjoy an evening at the Zoo and see how animal behavior changes when the sun goes down and test their skills at firefly communication. The visit is complete with s‘mores and a special craft.

Grades 5-6: Nocturnal Adaptations
How are animals that are active at night different than those that are active during the day? Children entering fifth and sixth grade join us on a nocturnal adventure to learn more about these fascinating animals and the adaptations that help them to survive. Campers design their own night animal and enjoy a yummy s’mores snack.


Day Camp 2023

Evening Camps 2023

 

  • Extended Care

    Busy schedules and work commitments don’t always work well with a 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. camp schedule. Take advantage of our early drop-off and late pick-up program to make Safari Camp work for you. Campers are supervised by Safari Camp staff the entire time, enjoying games, activities and stories. Registration for weeklong extended care is available during camp registration. Spaces are limited. Early Bird Care starts at 7:30 a.m. Late Owl Care ends at 5:30 p.m.

  • FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

    How can I add or change extended care after I have registered for camp?

    Please email safaricamp@dzs.org or call (248) 541-5717 ext. 3800 to change your extended care schedule.


    How do I authorize a different person to pick up my child from camp?

    Anyone picking up your child from camp must be listed as an Authorized Pickup and show a photo ID at check-out. There are two ways to change the list of individuals allowed to pick up your child from Safari Camp:


    Can I order an extra T-Shirt?

    There is an opportunity to order extra shirts and camp packs during online registration. If you have already registered for Safari Camp and would like to purchase either of these items, you may do so at any time online. Please bring the receipt to your child’s instructor, Camp Supervisor or Director during check-in or check-out. Your child will receive the item at the end of the day.


    My child has allergies that may require the use of epinephrine. What do I need to do?

    Please print and complete a Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan form and if your child has medication, an Authorization for Dispensing Medication form. Bring forms, along with any epinephrine or antihistamines that may be needed by your child on the first day of camp to discuss the plan with your child’s instructor and Camp Supervisor(s) or Director.  All medication must be prescribed by a licensed physician, be in the original container and labeled with the child’s full name. Please email safaricamp@dzs.org with any questions or concerns.


    Is this camp peanut-free?

    No. Unfortunately, we do not control the contents of other campers’ lunches or food brought into the Zoo by other guests.


    What do I do if my child needs to take prescribed medication during camp hours?

    Please print and fill out an Authorization for Dispensing Medication form. Bring this form, along with the noted medication for your child on the first day of camp to discuss the plan with your child’s instructor and Camp Supervisor(s) or Director. Unless designated to be kept on/with the child, medication will be kept in a climate-controlled office and dispensed by a Camp Director and Supervisor. All medication must be prescribed by a licensed physician, be in the original container and labeled with the child’s full name. We do not accept expired medications. Please email safaricamp@dzs.org with any questions or concerns.


    My child has mobility challenges.  Can he/she still attend this camp?

    Yes! Please contact our Camp Directors at safaricamp@dzs.org to discuss accommodation details. We can provide a wheelchair for long Zoo hikes if necessary.


    What will my child do at camp?

    While schedules vary among camps, a typical full day of camp may look like this:

    • 9 a.m. – Welcome and warm-up
    • 9:15 a.m. – Zoo hike
    • 10:45 a.m. – Morning snack
    • 11 a.m. – Activity
    • Noon – Lunch and free play
    • 1 p.m. – Activity/research
    • 2 p.m. – Project work/art
    • 3 p.m. – Afternoon snack
    • 3:30 p.m. – Journal and clean-up
    • 4 p.m. – Check-out