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

“We get a lot of feedback from them,” Bridgewater said of the campers. “You'd be surprised how many 12 to 15 year-olds want to ride a carousel. That camp is an opportunity to do all of those things. We all have a little bit of nostalgia so it's OK if they have it too.”

Technology camp

The camps also implement technology whenever possible. Campers download apps to their phones that help them identify a particular animal or plant species. The information is at their fingertips as they see different exhibits at the zoo.

“There are different apps that are very useful in identifying animals and plants and sometimes I get asked questions that I might not know the answer to so I pull out my phone and we quickly identify the species,” Bridgewater said. “It's an arsenal of knowledge they can tap in to and it doesn't have to be just while they're at the zoo. The hope is they explore these things on their own time too. This is where technology and the wild can meet.”

Randall said one of the goals of the camps is to help participants be better stewards of the world around them. Knowledge is a big part of that.

“Getting kids outside and aware is the most important thing we do,” she said. “We give them some behind the scenes experiences that they will hopefully take with them. You hope it has an impact. And it's done in small groups which adds to the experience.”

by Matt Patterson
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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