For Some, Summer Camp Is a Real Zoo

For kids enrolled in Los Angeles Zoo Camp this summer, visiting the tortoises, birds and gorillas is just one part of their busy schedule. Songs, arts and crafts, games--all with wildlife themes--also are on the agenda.

This is the second summer that the zoo is running its camp, which accepts 55 children each week for a program that mixes African safari and South American theme adventures with introductory lessons on world wildlife and the environment.

“It’s a combination of camp and zoo activities,” said Cindy Richardson, a zoo spokeswoman. “The program takes kids beyond just looking at animals in a zoo setting to really having a better understanding of animals in the wild, their habitat, interrelationships between animals and the impact people have on animals.”

The camp has two sessions: one in July for children ages 8 and 9 and the second in August for children 10 and 11 and “graduates” of the first session. Both sessions feature animal-keeper talks and a behind-the-scenes tour of a special animal exhibit.


“They don’t become junior keepers, but they do gain an appreciation for animals and a chance to look behind (the) scenes,” Richardson said. Zoo Camp is a project of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn., a nonprofit support group.