Oklahoma City Zoo camps turn lazy summer days into knowledge, fun

The weeklong, half day camps at Oklahoma City began in early June and run through Aug. 9. Programs are geared toward toddlers all the way to middle school students.
by Matt Patterson Modified: July 6, 2013 at 12:30 am •  Published: July 7, 2013

A group of elementary school kids marches out of the Rosser Education Center at the Oklahoma City Zoo on a recent morning, ready to tackle the next item on their agenda.

As they happily march on talking about sea animals their excitement is obvious. The kids are just one class in the zoo's summer camp program that aims to teach kids about animals while also keeping them entertained.

That can be a delicate balance but most of the zoo's offerings fill up quickly. The weeklong, half day camps began in early June and run through Aug. 9. Each week campers learn about different subjects. There's a session about bugs and another with a tie-in to the popular Angry Birds game. Programs are geared toward toddlers all the way to middle school students.

Randall said most camps fill to 96 percent capacity, and some fill up completely well before their start date. The day begins with a warm-up activity on the animal that will be studied that day.

“For the most part we follow the same formula with all of them,” Oklahoma City Zoo education director Teresa Randall said. “They get some background on coral reefs for example along with an activity sheet and then they get to do a meet and greet with the animal they are studying and talk with their keeper. Snacks are also important.”

Zoo educator Todd Bridgewater has taught numerous camps during his time at the zoo. Educators come up with the curriculum themselves. Bridgewater has a camp called Everything But the Kitchen Sink where campers set out to see literally every attraction in the zoo over their session from carousels to elephants.

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by Matt Patterson
Reporter
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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About the camps

For more information on the Oklahoma City Zoo's summer camp program, go to www.okczoo.com or call 425-0218.

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