Lion at the San Diego Zoo

Help Center

General Questions

What makes San Diego Zoo Summer Camp unique?

During Summer Camp, campers get outside to explore habitats, discover wildlife, connect with friends, and create new memories. Led by experienced educators, campers learn about wildlife conservation and how to be an ally for wildlife—and have an amazing amount of fun!

What are Summer Camp hours?

Classic camp hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Need a longer day? Check availability for the Extended Fun program, which runs before and after camp (7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

How does pickup and drop-off work during regular camp hours?

Pickup and drop-off areas are located in the Zoo parking lot, where you can park and walk your camper to and from the pickup point. A detailed map will be added to the San Diego Zoo Education app prior to the first day of camp. For safety purposes, we do not release children to anyone not listed in "Trusted Contacts" in CampDoc. We check ID daily at checkout time. To add someone to the authorized list, you must add them as a Trusted Contact.

Whom do I contact with questions?

You can contact the team through the San Diego Zoo Education app when camp is in session or SDZooCamp@sdzwa.orgthroughout the year.

Is extended care available for campers?

For an additional fee, we offer the Extended Fun program before camp in the morning (7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.) and after camp in the afternoon (3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)

Registration & Payment Information

How do I register for Summer Camp?

Camp tickets can be purchased through our website, or by calling Reservation Sales at 619-718-3000. If tickets are not yet available, keep an eye on our website for updates.

Are all camp weeks the same?

The content of each camp repeats every other week. Be sure to schedule concurrent sessions, or sessions that have an odd number of weeks between them.

Do you offer payments plans, financial aid, or scholarships?

We do not offer payment plans. Please email for questions about financial aid and scholarships.

How old do you have to be to attend Summer Camp?

Our youngest campers must be 5 years old when the program starts and going into kindergarten for the following school year. They also must be able to use the restroom on their own.

What do I need to do once I have started the registration process?

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with a “Stay on Track for Summer Camp” guide and PDF event ticket attached. Follow the instructions listed in the guide and stay tuned for more information as camp gets closer.

How can I make sure my camper is with their buddy?

Be sure to register your child for the same camp and the same dates as any friends who are also attending. We have one group of campers for each grade per week.

Can I show up the day of camp and wait to see if a spot opens up?

No. Registration must occur before the first day of camp. Our camp spots fill quickly, so we strongly suggest registering as soon as reservations are made available. 

Do you have a waitlist?

No. Due to the popularity of our camps, we are unable to accommodate a waitlist.

What if I need to cancel or change a reservation?

For changes, call Reservation Sales at 619-718-3000. Reservations may be changed, provided space is available, up to 30 days prior to the camp start date for a $25 fee. Changes cannot be made later than 30 days prior to camp start date. For cancellations, call Reservation Sales at 619-718-3000. Reservations may be cancelled up to 30 days prior to the camp start date for a $50 fee. Reservations cannot be refunded later than 30 days prior to the camp start date.

Health & Safety

What are the camp rules?

We expect our program participants/campers and our staff to show kindness and respect for others. Dangerous behaviors and physical aggression are not acceptable. We also take any camper’s unescorted departure from the group seriously, and require a conversation with a legal guardian should a camper run away from the group.

Our team members are trained professionals who use positive behavior management strategies during program time. If a camper does not respond to these strategies, a phone call home will be made to solicit the help of a parent or legal guardian. If the challenge persists, the camper may be removed from the program without a refund of program fees.


The general rules that we will go over with campers are:

  • Be kind to people, plants, and animals.
  • Stay safe, and help your friends stay safe.
  • Have fun!
What COVID precautions are currently in place?

The safety of our campers, team members, and wildlife continues to be our top priority. We have implemented safety protocols aligned with San Diego County, California Department of Social Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. All team members and campers are required to follow the recommended guidelines set forth by the county and state.

How do you accommodate campers with varying abilities or accessibility needs?

We welcome campers of all abilities and accessibility levels, and will work with caregivers to the best of our ability to ensure that all campers have a safe and inclusive experience. After registration, you will receive an invitation to input your camper’s accommodation needs on CampDoc. If your camper requires health, toilet, or behavioral support during the camp day, an aide can attend camp with them. Please contact as soon as registration is confirmed to begin this process. Aide requests must be made 30 days prior to the camp start date. 

How do you accommodate allergies?

After registration, you will receive an invitation to input your camper’s health information on CampDoc. This allows us to make a plan for any medical or allergy-related support your child might need.

What is the team member to camper ratio?

Ratios range from 1 team member to 6 campers (kindergarten) to 1 team member to 10 campers (middle school).

How many campers are in each group?

The number of campers varies by age, but it is generally 24 to 30 campers per group. 

How do you handle behavioral issues?

Camp team members are trained in behavior management strategies that focus on positive redirection and social-emotional based responses. We strive to ensure all campers have a fulfilling experience, so please feel free to reach out, should you have any questions or have strategies to help provide the best experience for your camper.

What is health care like at camp?

All health-related matters that require adult assistance are handled through the San Diego Zoo’s on-site medical team. Please include any medicine your child can manage independently in your camper’s backpack or lunch box and note this medication in the CampDoc form. We ask that all EpiPens, inhalers, and any other emergency response medications are packed in a small backpack or fanny pack that the camper can carry with them throughout the day.

How are team members prepared and trained?

Unlike many camps, most team members are year-round educators who have a variety of experience working with all ages. All camp team members complete an application process that includes background checks, fingerprinting, and personal interviews. Team members are also trained in child protection and safety protocols.

What is security like at camp?

All camp team members complete training in the Zoo’s emergency protocols. Zoo Security and the San Diego Police Department are available to assist in the case of emergencies.

Camp Basics

How does the Zoo utilize photos taken of the campers?

If you provide consent, photos are shared through the San Diego Zoo Education app during the weeks your child is at camp. These are for personal use, and are not shared with the general public.

Is there an opportunity to meet Summer Camp team members?

Camp team members will be present at pickup and drop-off, and are available for a quick check-in. If anything comes up during the camp week, feel free to reach out to us so we can provide the best experience for your camper.

What should my child bring?

Campers should bring a lunch and snacks. Standard-size backpacks and reusable water bottles are required. For safety purposes, backpacks on wheels are not allowed. Campers are responsible for keeping their valuable items safe, including cameras and phones. Please label the items your camper will be bringing with them with the child’s name.

What should my child wear?

Campers will be outdoors, so be mindful of daily weather reports and dress appropriately. Comfortable layered clothing, sunscreen, and closed-toe shoes with socks are required. Hats are highly encouraged.

What food should I pack for my child?

Please pack a light morning snack, a lunch, and a reusable water bottle. Campers
must be able to open and maneuver all lunch and snack items independently. If participating in the Extended Fun program, please include additional snack items. Avoid items with nuts, when possible.

Are drinks or water made available for my child during the day?

Camp team members will refill camper water bottles throughout the day. If your camper forgets their water bottle at home, we will provide a reusable container for them to use.

Can I give my child money to purchase snacks, lunch, or souvenirs at the Zoo?

No. Campers receive a souvenir T-shirt during camp. Please visit the Zoo with your child after camp to purchase any additional items. The Zoo offers a Shopper’s Pass, which allows you to enter the Zoo and shop. At any ticketing window, purchase a 1-Day Pass at the regular price and shop for 30 minutes. If you need more time, you can extend your pass up to 60 minutes total; just inform any shop employees that more time is needed. Return before your time is up, and your 1-Day Pass purchase price will be refunded.

What are the late drop-off and early pickup protocols?

If you arrive after 9:10 a.m., please report to the Education Office at the Dickinson
Family Center for Lifelong Learning to connect your camper with their group. If you need to pick up your camper early, please coordinate ahead of time with your camper’s assigned team member and arrange a time that works well with the daily schedule (lunchtime is best). Your camper will be brought to the Dickinson Family Center and will be waiting for you in the Education Office.

Will there be a lot of walking?

The Zoo is a large space, and there will be a lot of walking! Make sure your child wears comfortable, closed-toe and closed-heel shoes with socks.

Will my camper spend a lot of time in the sun?

Much of campers' time is spent outdoors, so please prepare for this by applying sunscreen in the morning and providing your child with a hat. Our camp team members cannot apply sunscreen, but your camper is welcome to bring their own to reapply later.

What will my camper do all day at camp?

Your camper will visit wildlife habitats, view private wildlife presentations, play games, create crafts, and make new friends! Check the San Diego Zoo Education app for detailed information on what your child will do each day.

Will my child interact with any wildlife at the Zoo?

Camp provides opportunities for campers to observe Zoo wildlife daily. If it is safe for both campers and wildlife, interactions may take place; however, this is not guaranteed.

Do you have a lost and found?

Lost items are posted to the San Diego Zoo Education app each week. Items left for more than 10 days will be donated. Please label all of your camper’s belongings with their name.

How do I inform Summer Camp staff of a change in pickup?

Keep your Trusted Contacts list in CampDoc up to date, so our team knows who is picking up your camper.


How do I apply to work at San Diego Zoo Summer Camp?

Visit to track job openings with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

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