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 age 5) and grades 1-8.  Camp is 9am to 4pm, with extended care options available.  Extended care drop-off is no earlier than 8am, extended care pick-up is no later than 5pm; availability is limited.  Camp fees are $450 to $475 per person per week. We provide a fresh fruit or veggie snack for all camp sessions; campers bring their own lunches or additional snacks.  We do our best to host a tree nut-free environment for our campers.  The curriculum is repeated every week throughout the summer.  Most campers only sign up for one week, but you are welcome to sign up for multiple weeks if you wish.  Face coverings are highly recommended for indoor activities.  See below for COVID-19 mandates; mandates will be updated as we receive further guidance from our local heath agencies.

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 $90 per person per day.  We provide a fresh fruit or veggie snack for all camp sessions; campers bring their own lunches or additional snacks.  We do our best to host a tree nut-free environment for our campers.  Face coverings are highly recommended for indoor activities.  See below for COVID-19 mandates; mandates will be updated as we receive further guidance from our local heath agencies.

2022 – 2023 Mini-Camps Dates and Themes

For ages 5-10.  Mini-Camp is 9am to 4pm and takes place in the Berson Ed Center.  There is a unique curriculum for each mini-camp day.  Campers should wear their camp shirts if they joined us for summer camp, otherwise, we’ll supply a camp shirt for new campers.  Snack is provided; campers should bring lunch from home.

Fall and Early Winter 2022 mini-camp sessions now open for registration:  Mini-Camp Registration Click Here.  Mini-Camp sessions in 2023 will open January 1, 2023.  For ages 5-10.

Monday, September 26:  Clever Coverings – Lumpy, Fuzzy, Prickly and More

Wednesday, October 5:  Animal Habitats

Thursday and Friday, November 10 & 11:  Mysteries at the Zoo (curriculum is different for each day)

Tuesday – Thursday, December 27 – 29:  Animal Myths and Legends (curriculum is different for each day)

Monday, January 16:  Predator VS Prey – Survival of the Fittest

Monday and Tuesday, February 20 & 21:  Animal Acrobats – Frequent Fliers, Cool Climbers, and Rapid Runners (curriculum is different for each day)

Tuesday – Thursday, April 4 – April 6, Spring Break 1:  Creature Features – Exotic Animals from Around the World (curriculum is different for each day)

Tuesday – Thursday, April 11 – April 13, Spring Break 2:  Creature Features – Exotic Animals from Around the World (curriculum is different for each day)

Registrations are made through TBZ’s online system; payment must be made at the time of registration in order to secure the camp spot.  Click on the registration button below to register for upcoming sessions.  Once you’ve registered for a mini-camp session, you will be required to complete a health profile for your campers on the CampDoc camp management platform.  Information will be sent to you from mhunt@parks.essexcountynj.org.

Fall and Early Winter 2022 mini-camp sessions now open for registration:  Mini-Camp Registration Click Here.  Mini-Camp sessions in 2023 will open January 1, 2023.  For ages 5-10.

 

Summer Camp 2023

Summer Camp registration opens on March 11 for Zoo Members.  If you are a current Zoo Member, the Zoological Society will email you a registration link a few days in advance.  The link will take you to the registration website where you will create a user profile and account for each camper.  To ensure that you receive the registration email, please contact the Zoological Society of NJ at 973-731-5800 ext 241.  They can check if your membership is current and confirm your preferred email.

Summer Camp registration opens on March 25 for the Public.

 

Summer Camp Open House 2023

TBZ’s Summer Camp Open House now open for registration:  Summer Camp Open House Registration.

Are you new to our camp program or just want to learn more about it?  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 2023. On Saturday, February 25 from 11am to 2pm you can meet camp counselors, learn about our science-based curriculum, try a camp 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.  This is not a drop-off program for children; all attendees should register.  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 (last entry into the zoo is at 3pm; the zoo closes at 4pm).  The Open House is located at the Berson Education Center (adjacent to the TreeTop Adventure Course) on the east side of the Zoo complex.

TBZ’s Summer Camp Open House now open for registration:  Summer Camp Open House Registration.

 

General Camp Information for All Camp Sessions (in-person)

  • Camp hours are 9am to 4pm (give or take 5-10 mins)
  • Extended care drop-off is no earlier than 8am, extended care pick-up is no later than 5pm (no extended care is available for Mini-Camps or for the last week of summer camp)
  • Drop-off and pick-up are at the Berson Education Center, located on the east side of the zoo complex (there’s a large giraffe statue in front of the building) unless you are directed to a different location in advance; transportation to and from the zoo is not provided
  • All campers must be signed-in and -out by the accompanying parent/chaperone; adults must present a valid photo ID to sign-out
  • Campers must bring their own lunches; major allergen-free foods are very appreciated
  • Campers must be dressed to go outside; camp is rain, or shine, or snow, or cold
  • Please label any medications; check-in medications with the counselors
  • If there is a major weather event, you will be notified via an email from CampDoc if there is a delay or cancellation
  • You can receive a full refund if you cancel at least 3 weeks before the start of your registered camp week
  • The curriculum is repeated every week throughout the summer.  Most campers only sign up for one week, but you are welcome to sign up for multiple weeks if you wish.
  • General daily schedule; varies per camper’s age group, animal availability, weather, etc.
    • check-in
    • discovery activity/game
    • lesson
    • snack
    • zoo visit
    • lunch
    • animal presentation
    • lesson
    • zoo visit
    • craft/scientific experiment/take-home activity/game

Please Note

*New Jersey is considered a “no-touch” animal state. Campers will see a variety of animals up close, but contact is limited to only domestic species, touch tank, aviary, butterflies, and giraffe feeds.

COVID-19 Mandates

We have received directives from the Essex County Parks Department, Essex County Health Department, and State of NJ regarding the safe implementation of our Camp Program during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  We are working hard to create a safe camp experience and will be implementing many policies to safeguard campers and staff.  There may be further changes as the situation evolves in this region.  Measures include, but are not limited to (or may be discontinued under guidance):

  • You can receive a full refund if you cancel at least 3 weeks before the start of your registered camp week
  • Temperature checks and health surveys will be required of staff and campers before reporting to work/camp
  • Camp will have its own dedicated custodial staff to sanitize camp spaces and bathrooms multiple times a day
  • The HVAC system in our building will be serviced before and during camp to ensure fresh air intake and proper function
  • A regular schedule of handwashing will be maintained
  • Best personal hygiene practices will be maintained
  • Parents/chaperones will not be permitted in the camp classrooms
  • The water fountain that is used for camp will be for filling bottles only (no drinking from the fountain)
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases will be separated and sent home (campers and staff)
  • Mixing of camp groups will be limited; mixing of camp groups with zoo visitors will be as limited as possible
  • Staff, VolunTEENs, and Campers are encouraged to wear face masks as a personal preference
  • Campers spend time outside in the zoo

 

General Registration Information

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

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

Payment
Payment must be made in full at the time of registration through CampDoc.com in order to secure your child’s place in camp.  Camp tuition for single day camps is $90/camper.  Summer camp tuition is $450 for ages 5 through grade 6; $475 for campers entering grades 7 and 8.

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.

 

ONLINE REGISTRATION INFORMATION

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

Zoo Open Daily 10am to 3pmPURCHASE TICKETS