2022 Wild Animal Science Camps

Camp Highlights

A hands-on, in-depth learning experience: During their stay, campers practice state-of-the-art conservation research techniques under the tutelage of the Zoo’s scientists, including field biologists, animal behaviorists, and wildlife conservationists. Throughout the camp, animal keepers, education staff, and university students serve as mentors and counselors.

The camp is limited to 16 young people to ensure that everyone has plenty of time to interact with staff and to experiment with technical equipment. Campers will leave this special educational experience with new insights about studying animals.

A once-in-a-lifetime camping experience: Campers gain special, supervised access—during the day and night—to more than 500 acres of wildlands and wildlife under the care of the North Carolina Zoo. During their after-hours exploration, campers use nighttime research methods to observe Zoo-housed animals and local wildlife. Campers sleep in zoo-provided tents where they are likely to hear the intermittent roars of lions and the chattering of chimpanzees.

Amazing memories: Campers meet and create memories with age-mates from across the state and country. Each camper leaves with a camp t-shirt, an ID badge, and a new set of animal-enthusiast friends!

What We Expect

Campers and their families are expected to fully comply with all safety guidelines (see details below).

If, during the previous two weeks, a camper or someone in contact with the camper has: (1) been asked to self-quarantine, or (2) exhibited ANY COVID-related symptoms, we would ask that child to withdraw from camp. (A full refund will be provided.)

In the event of a thunderstorm, while most daytime activities will be safe to conduct, we will not be able to host the campers overnight. If necessary, an early pick-up on Saturday evening may be required.

Support our Scholarship Fund

Whenever possible, the Zoo's Education Division tries to provide scholarships to deserving, underserved young people who are passionate about wildlife and nature. If you are interested in supporting our scholarship program, please call 336.879.7721 or email sciencecamp@nczoo.org.

Got Questions?

Please email sciencecamp@nczoo.org

Who Can Apply?*

We offer two age-specific camps:

  • For Junior Campers (rising 6th through 8th graders) and for Senior Campers (rising 9th through first-year undergrads).
  • Each camp's curriculum is tailored to meet each age group's needs and to engage and inspire interest in wildlife research.
  • Registration opens December 1, 2021. To register, please call 336.879.7717.

Camp Information

2022 Dates

  • April 30-May 1: Junior Camp
  • June 11-12: Senior Camp (wait list only)
  • September 10-11: Junior Camp

What to Wear

  • Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes (we will be outside during most of the camp) and closed-toed shoes

What to Bring

  • A sleeping bag, pillow, insect repellant, overnight toiletries, a change of clothes, a day pack, a bottle for carrying water, at least two face coverings (masks), and a raincoat.
  • We provide tents and meals (lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday).

Camp Tuition**

  • Tuition is $449 for Zoo Society members and $499 for non-members. (Non-member fees provide a one-year family membership to campers.) Fees cover food, lodging, and supplies.
  • Scholarship opportunities: Full tuition support is available to those who qualify. The deadlines for submitting scholarship applications are
    • March 19 for the April 30-May 1 Junior Camp
    • April 2 for the May 14-15 Senior Camp
    • April 30 for the June 11-12 Senior Camp
    • July 30 for the September 10-11 Junior Camp
  • To apply for a scholarship, download and complete the Wild Animal Science Camp Scholarship Application. Mail the completed form to Dr. Emily Lynch, Wild Animal Science Camp Director, Education Sections, North Carolina Zoo, 4403 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro NC 27205.
    • If you are interested in supporting our scholarship program, please call 336.879.7721 or email sciencecamp@nczoo.org.

Camp space is limited to 16 campers. We admit campers on a first-come/first-serve basis.

* We ask that all campers have previous experience sleeping away from home!

** The estimated cost of goods and services for this camp is $30. All or nearly all of the remaining costs should be tax-deductible as a donation to the NC Zoo Society. Donations help support the Zoo’s wildlife conservation projects.

For any questions about the camp, please email: sciencecamp@nczoo.org.

COVID-19 Precautions

The Zoo has structured camp protocols to reduce the chances of COVID-19 transmission. The following specifies the procedures the Zoo will follow to ensure the safety of all campers. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Emily Lynch with questions or concerns you may have about these protocols..

  • Participation is limited to 16 campers and sessions are structured to allow for social distancing throughout the duration of the camp.
  • Counselors and staff will encourage healthy hygiene practices by reminding campers to wash their hands and by allowing extra time for campers to wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • The Zoo will make alcohol-based sanitizers available to campers.
  • Cloth face coverings will be required when campers are indoors and when 6-feet of social distancing is not possible when the campers are indoors or outside.
  • Social distancing will be enforced during all camp activities, including the time spent performing camp activities and when walking to and from these activities. Social distancing will be maintained during meals (picnic tables will be set up 6 feet apart) and during rest periods (6 feet of separation between chairs). At night, social distancing will continue. Campers will sleep in individual, sanitized tents that the Zoo will distribute (campers must provide their own sleeping bags).
  • Cleaning and disinfecting will be monitored.
  • All activities are structured to minimize contact with frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Most activities will be held outside to ensure proper ventilation. (One class is scheduled to take place inside the Aviary.) Masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced during this session.
  • We will walk to all activities, rather than sit in an enclosed vehicle. The only exception will be during Zoofari where campers will ride in an open-air vehicle and be seated in compliance with social-distancing protocols.
  • Bathrooms will be frequently cleaned, with no touch garbage bins and open doors for no-touch access.
  • Individual water bottles will be offered (no water fountains).