Summer Safari Schedules 2021

Denver Zoo Summer Safari Bird Logo

Animal Care 101

8th Grade

Camp Description

In this special week of camp, students entering 8th grade will interact directly with Denver Zoo’s animal care staff.  Our team of Animal Ambassador zookeepers will teach campers the ins and outs of how they care for and train (small) animals.  Campers will discover how keepers set goals for their animals, and how to create fun enrichment that helps our animals show off their impressive, natural behaviors.  If your soon-to-be 8th-grader is hoping to work at a zoo some day, this camp will demonstrate what it’s all about!

Week Overview

Daily Schedule Subject to Change

**Ask your camper the questions below to learn about their day!


  • Question of the Day: How do animals basic needs affect how zookeepers care for them? 
  • Zoo Exploration: Toyota Elephant Passage, explore basic needs of elephants, gibbons, tapirs, otters, and rhinos
  • Keeper Mentoring: Monitoring, recording, and keeping animals healthy! Which animals did our group work with? What basic animal care did we help with?


  • Question of the Day:
    • How does training animals help animals and zookeepers communicate with each other? 
    • How does animal training help keepers take better care of their animals? 
  • Zoo Exploration: Predator Ridge and Sea Lions. How do animals participate in their own husbandry?
  • Keeper Mentoring: Positive reinforcement! Which animals did our group work with? What was the training game?


  • Question of the Day:
    • What is the science behind enrichment (creation, delivery), and why is it an important part of animal care? 
    • How can enrichment elicit natural behavioral responses in zoo animals? 
  • Zoo Exploration: Primate Panorama. Look for clues about enrichment that helps animals physically and mentally exercise, but also exercise their species-specific adaptations.
  • Keeper Mentoring: Enrichment. Which animals did our group work with? What goal did we set for our animal? Were we successful?


  • Question of the Day: How do keepers work with other zoo departments to care for zoo animals? 
  • Zoo Exploration: Pachyderm Building and Outdoor Bird Exhibits, or camper choice. Keep an eye out for staff from different departments working together - why is this important?
  • Keeper Mentoring: Cross-department communication. What did we learn from the Veterinary Team? What activities did we do?


  • Question of the Day: Why are zoo animals’ individual stories important both for taking care of them, and for connecting audiences to them? 
  • Zoo Exploration: Tropical Discovery. Which animals did we learn about today? Can you share their stories? Why are these important?
  • Keeper Mentoring: Individualization and Empathy. Which animals did our group work with? Why is empathy important for both zookeepers and zoo audiences?

Taking It Home

What do we need to know to take the best care of zoo animals?  What are some ways that keepers and other staff are able to connect visitors to the animals in our care?  Why is it important to do so?


  • Camp runs in rain or shine. Make sure your camper is dressed for the weather.
  • Campers are required to bring:
    • Backpack
    • Sack lunch + 2 snacks
    • Face Mask (cloth or disposable)
    • Water bottle
    • Craft Supplies: Scissors, colors, glue
  • Drop-off and Pick-up occurs at the Special Programs Entrance (Gate 1), according to their designated time window. 
    • Drop-off:
      • 8:30-8:45 AM -- 6-8th Grade + 4-5th Grade 
      • 8:45-9:00 AM – K-1st Grade 
      • 9:00-9:15 AM – 2-3rd Grade 
    • Pick-up:
      • 3:45-4:00 PM -- 6-8th Grade + 4-5th Grade 
      • 4:00-4:15 PM – K-1st Grade 
      • 4:15-4:30 PM – 2-3rd Grade 
  • You will need to bring an ID every day for pick-up.

Contact Us

If your camper liked Summer Safari, they will LOVE Fall, Winter, and Spring Safari Mini-Camps! When school is out, Safari Camp is in! These camps run from November through March. There’s a Safari for every season!