Zoo Camps

Zoo Camps

Join us at Turtle Back Zoo for some wild fun!

The mission of Turtle Back Zoo camp is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the natural world through fun and educational activities.

To further our mission of conservation, education, and stewardship, campers will be introduced to the extraordinary world of animals, nature, and science.  Children will enjoy age appropriate camp activities that include games, teacher-led lessons, behind-the-scenes visits, up-close animal encounters, hands-on science projects, and fun crafts.  Join us for a week during the summer or on a school holiday during the school year.

During the summer, we offer week long summer camps for children entering Kindergarten and grades 1-8.  Camp is 9am to 4pm, with extended care options available.  Camp fees are $425 to $450 per person per week.  We also offer mini-camps throughout the school year on days that coincide with many of the major school holidays.  Available for ages 5 to 10, our mini-camp days are from 9am to 4pm (no extended care option).  Mini-camps are $85 per person per day.  

To register, click on the following link:  Register Here

Upcoming Mini-Camp Sessions, Winter 2018-2019


All living things use senses to collect information about their respective environments; humans use five:  touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing.  Most animals share these same senses, but some have also evolved special senses that allow them to more deeply understand their environments.  Join us to learn about animal senses and how they’re used to navigate the world.  Camp is Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; December 26, 27, and 28, 2018, from 9am to 4pm.  Sign up for one day or all three.


From insects and spiders to fish and birds, there are many animals that are expert engineers and responsible for building breathtaking, complex structures.  Join us for a one-day camp in January where campers will explore the who, what, where, when, and why of animals that create.  Registration is open.  Camp is Monday, January 21, 2019 from 9am to 4pm.


There is so much more to caring for our Animal Ambassadors than just feeding and cleaning!  Join us for a one-day camp in February where campers will explore the art and science of animal care, create enrichment items, and learn about TBZ conservation initiatives and global stewardship.  Registration opens January 1, 2019.  Camp is Monday, February 18, 2019 from 9am to 4pm.

To register, click on the following link:  Register Here


TBZ Summer Camp Open House

It’s never too early to think of summer!  Turtle Back Zoo hosts weeklong, fun, science-based summer camps for ages 5 to 14. Teacher-guided lessons, behind-the-scenes experiences, up-close animal encounters, fun crafts, and time in the Zoo make this camp a must do on your summer fun list.

Join us for Essex County Turtle Back Zoo’s Annual Summer Camp Open House to check out what’s new and fun at camp for Summer 2019. On Saturday, March 9th from 11am to 2pm you can meet some of our camp counselors, learn about our science-based curriculum, try a camp-styled activity, and say hello to a few of our Camp Animal Ambassadors.  There will be several activity stations to visit and record on an Open House Passport.

This is a free event and we ask that you register in advance, but day-of walk ups will be welcome.  We are scheduling 1 hour time slots (11am, 12pm, 1pm) for tickets to ensure that we can accommodate the needs of our future campers and their families; please attend the ticket time for which you’ve registered.  Registered participants who complete all visitor activity stations before 2pm are eligible for same day zoo admission at the off-season group rate ($8/person – note that TBZ closes at 3:30pm in March).  The Open House is located at the Berson Education Center (adjacent to the TreeTop Adventure Course) on the east side of the Zoo complex.

Open House registration begins February 1; click here to register:  Register Here



Save the Date! Online registration for zoo summer camp opens to Zoo Members on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Registration for the general public opens two weeks later.

2019 Summer Camp Program

TBZ Summer Camp 2019
weekly public camp sessions from July 8 to August 23
ages 5 (and entering K) to 14

Age groups and camp themes

Zoo Tales

Stories, experiments, games, and crafts will make your camper an expert on all the “wild things” at the zoo.  For children age 5 and entering kindergarten.

Super Animals

Explore the wild and wonderful assortment of fascinating adaptations that help animals survive in their habitats.  For children entering 1st or 2nd grades.

Wild Designs

Discover the complex world of animals as expert engineers and builders.  For children entering 3rd or 4th grades.

Conservation Quest

From the role of zoos to invasive species, campers examine the world of conservation locally and beyond.  For children entering 5th or 6th grades.

Zoo Crew

Learn all about being a zoo keeper, from feeding the animals and creating enrichment activities, to building habitats.  For children entering 7th or 8th grades.


Last Hurrah Camp 2019
August 26 to August 30 (full week)
ages 5 (and entering K) to 10

Age groups and camp themes

Ages 5 to 7

Curriculum will be a mix of Zoo Tales and Super Animals activities and content.

Ages 8 to 10

Curriculum will be a mix of Wild Designs and Conservation Quest activities and content.


General Registration Information

*Please note, some sessions may already have sold out. You can sign up for the wait list through the registration link above.

Don’t have a CampDocs account yet? Read below to learn more about our new online registration system.

Payment must be made in full at the time of registration through CampDoc.com in order to secure your child’s place in camp.

Cancellation/Refund Policy
For mini-camps, cancellations with full refunds will only be accepted up to two weeks before the first day of your registered camp session.  Cancellations made within two weeks of the first day of your registered camp session are not guaranteed any refund.

For full-week summer camps, cancellations with full refunds will only be accepted up to three weeks before the first day of your registered camp session. Cancellations made within three weeks of the first day of your registered camp session are not guaranteed any refund. Cancellation requests can be submitted via your CampDoc.com account or emailed to mhunt@parks.essexcountynj.org.

Please Note

*New Jersey is considered a “no touch” animal state. Campers will get to see a variety of animals up close, but contact is limited to only domestic species.


We have a new system to register for zoo camps. All registration and forms can now be filled out online!

The first step is creating an account through the camp registration link found under the camp you want.

Have more than one child? All the information is kept under one account. Just add a new participant and enter in the information.

We know you might have questions with this new system, so feel free to reach out to us at #973-731-5800 (ex 103, 230, 275, or 236) or use some of the resources below to help answer some of your questions on the new system.

CampDoc has an extensive support page that you can access by clicking the Lifesaver Icon located in the top right corner. Here you will find many helpful documents that can help you use CampDoc to its full potential!

Here is a direct link to the support documents: https://support.docnetwork.org/hc/en-us/categories/115000363510-Participants.
If at any time you have questions that may not be in our support pages, you can contact our Help Desk at 734.636.1000 or you can email them at help@campdoc.com.[/minti_box]

Turtle Back Zoo

Please note the Train will be closed for our winter season. Carousel, Sting Ray Feeding and Pony Rides will be open weekends only.
+ +