Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Summer Experience Day Camp Parent Guide & FAQs

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1 Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Summer Experience Day Camp Parent Guide & FAQs Main Education Office: (614) Camp Supervisor: (614) Camp Coordinator: (614) Thank you for registering for Summer Experience (SE)! We are so excited to get to know your child. Together we will explore the Zoo and build many happy memories. In order to ensure you have an amazing experience, we have provided some information that should help you prepare for camp and answer any of your questions. But if after you read this, you still have questions, just give us a call! General Information: Hours: SE takes place 9:00AM-4:00PM Mondays-Thursdays and 9:00AM-Noon on Fridays. The 5th-7th Grade groups spend the night at the Zoo on Thursday nights as part of the Summer Experience and Zoo Olympics camps. Check-In: Every camper must be checked-in from their parents or guardian to their camp instructors. We generally try to begin checking in a little early each morning at around 8:45AM. For liability reasons, no child should be dropped-off in the parking lot and allowed to walk up to Check-In by themselves. Check-In will take place in the Summer Experience tents located to the right of the Zoo main gate. You will not need to go through the Zoo s main gate for check-in. Look for camp staff and signs to the right of the main gate. We will open our gate at 8:45AM every morning. Camp staff will be present to direct you to the correct line for check-in. Please form a line and have all forms ready for a speedy check-in. Camp instructors will go over all forms and double-check for any special needs or allergies as well as making sure that all adults authorized for pick-up are listed. Your child will be given a name button that must be worn at all times. The person dropping off will receive a pick-up card that must be shown at check-out. The person dropping off will also need to sign-in their child before leaving. Check-Out: Every camper will be checked-out from their camp instructors to their parents or guardians. The person picking-up each camper will need to have that child s pick-up card. If the person picking-up does not have the pick-up card, we will ask to see a picture id and check to make sure they are listed as someone authorized for pick-up. No child will be permitted to leave with an adult unless they have a pick-up card or picture id. Check-Out will take place in the Summer Experience tents located to the right of the Zoo main gate. You will not need to go through the Zoo s main gate for check-out. Look for camp staff and signs to the right of the main gate. We will open our gate at

2 3:45PM Monday-Thursday and at 11:45AM on Friday. Camp staff will be present to direct you to the correct line for check-out. Please form a line and have pick-up cards or picture ids ready for a speedy check-out. No child will be permitted to leave with an adult unless they have a pick-up card or picture id. Camp instructors will check pick-up cards or picture ids and then call your child up for check-out. They will remove their button and hand it back to the camp instructors. The adult picking up will need to sign-out the child and then they will receive a letter describing what their child did during their day of camp. Picking Up Your Child Early: To minimize disruptions, we ask that if you need to pick-up your child early that you inform the camp instructors so that special arrangements can be made. Before and After Care: We do offer before and after care for select weeks of camp. Please consult the program listing on the website for specific details including what weeks this service is available and also the cost. Camp T-Shirts: Every camper will receive a specially designed camp t-shirt for their week of camp. They will be required to wear their camp t-shirt every day of camp. Extra t-shirts can be purchased during registration for the cost of $10 per shirt. Campers will receive their camp t-shirt Monday morning and will be asked to change into them after check-in. The campers will receive any additional t-shirts that were ordered at check-out. Registration: Grade Requirements: Registered children must be entering one of the appropriate grade ranges in the fall. If your child will not be entering 1st grade in the fall, then they are too young for camp. If your child will be entering 8th grade in fall, then they are too old for camp and should check out the Zoo s website for the new Adventure Camp listing. Cancellation Policy: All refunds are subject to processing fees. Cancellations must be made at least 2 weeks in advance to receive an 80% refund. If less than a two-week notice is given, a refund will not be issued. Registration Limits: Topics are repeated week to week in the Summer Experience and Zoo Olympics camps, so please keep in mind that if your child is registered for the same topic on multiple weeks, they will hear the same programming for those weeks. Flexible Spending Accounts: Our office staff will be more than happy to fill out any paperwork that will allow you to get reimbursed from your Flexible Spending Account for childcare. Registering with Friends: If you would like to have your child attend camp with a friend, make sure that you register for the same section of the same week of camp. 2

3 Safety & Health (Medications / Allergies): Special Needs: It is important that you notify us of any special needs or medical conditions that your child may have. Fill this information out on your child s Emergency Release & Health History form. We also encourage you to discuss these matters with the camp coordinators and instructors. In most cases we are able to accommodate these needs and will do so to the best of our ability. Confidentiality will be maintained with your child s medical information. Medications: Our policy is that our camp staff does not administer medications to your child. If your child will be taking any medication during their time at camp, please fill out the Request for Administration of Medication form prior to checking in. If your child is unable to administer their own medication, please contact the Camp Supervisor or Coordinator to make special arrangements. If you know this is a possibility we encourage you to contact us before your child s week of camp at our main office (614) Your child s confidentiality will be maintained. Epi-Pens: All of our camp instructors are CPR & First Aid Certified and can administer an Epipen in an emergency. Our instructors will carry the Epi-pen with the group throughout the day. If your child has any severe allergies that may require the use of an Epi-pen, please inform their camp instructors. You will need to fill out the Request for Administration of Medication form. If you know this is a possibility we encourage you to contact us before your child s week of camp at our main office (614) Your child s confidentiality will be maintained. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also employs an EMS staff that can assist in the event of an emergency. Contact in an Emergency: In an emergency situation where you need to speak to someone immediately, please contact our Security Department at (614) and they will radio our Camp Coordinator. For all other calls, please leave a message with our main education office. Those messages are checked regularly throughout the day. Sick Policy: If your child becomes sick during camp, we may call you to come and pick up your child depending upon the severity of the illness. If your child is feverish and/or vomiting you will be asked to pick up your child immediately. There are no refunds or make-ups for days missed due to illness. My child has special needs; can an aide attend camp with my child? Absolutely! We only ask that you make us aware that there will be a certified aide attending with your child. Please contact the Camp Supervisor or Camp Coordinator with any concerns. Because of the potential for homesickness with other children, we do not recommend that parents be the aide accompanying the child. 3

4 Lunch, Snacks, Dinner, Water & Bathroom Breaks: Lunch: We ask that all campers bring a peanut-free lunch. We break for lunch at 11:30AM each day of camp. In the event that your child forgets their lunch, we ask that you make arrangements to purchase a lunch and bring it back to the Zoo by 11:30AM. There are several grocery stores in close proximity to the Zoo. Campers may not purchase food from the Zoo s food areas. Camp staff does not have the opportunity to leave the groups and purchase food for campers. We are also encourage green lunches, meaning using containers that reduce the amount of waste thrown in the trash. Snacks: We do provide peanut-free snacks in the afternoon for each full-day of camp. Snack items may include pretzels, popcorn, fruit, marshmallows, and various other snack options. If your child has food allergies, please include this information when registering and also on their Emergency Release & Health History form. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is not a peanut-free facility, but we do avoid serving products that may contain peanuts to our campers. What do I do with my child s lunch? You will drop off your child s lunch during check-in. We ask that your child s name be on their lunch to avoid confusion amongst the campers. Water Breaks: We make sure that water is available to the campers at all times. We will provide every camper with a Summer Experience Water bottle for them to use while they are at camp. We also stop several times for water breaks while on Zoo grounds to make sure that everyone stays hydrated. Bathroom Breaks: We take restroom breaks before and after Zoo walks and whenever a camper requests to use the restroom. Summer Experience Instructors: Qualifications: Summer Experience instructors are college age or older. All instructors must pass a criminal background check and also currently be certified in CPR & First Aid. Summer Experience assistants are teen volunteers in our ZooAide program. These teen assistants are there to help the instructors, but they do not supervise the campers. Camper Supervision: Campers are supervised at all times by camp staff and are escorted on restroom breaks while on Zoo grounds. Instructor to camper ratio is 1:7. ZooAides provide additional help in the classroom and while on Zoo walks. Animal Visitors: 4

5 We have a variety of animals that our camp instructors bring into the classroom for an up-close visit. Campers will have the opportunity to interact with many of them throughout the week. Behind-the-Scenes: For the safety of our campers and our animals, most behind-the-scenes tours and activities are limited to our oldest groups. Severe Weather: Summer Experience will take place rain or shine, so dress appropriately. Rain coats or ponchos and hats are recommended. Umbrellas are discouraged! In the event of severe weather, campers will be brought indoors to a secure area until the severe weather has passed. Camp: Orientation: There is not an orientation for parents, but camp staff will be available to answer any questions or address any concerns. Camp instructors will review the camp rules and safety procedures with the campers after check-in. Frequently Asked Questions: How early can I drop-off for camp? We begin checking campers in at 8:45AM each morning. If you need to drop-off earlier than that, please consult the camp listings on the Zoo s website for weeks that Before & After Care is offered. What if I m late dropping off my child for camp? We generally wait until 9:15AM for late campers to arrive. If you arrive and check-in has ended please bring your camper into the main education office located in the Conservation Education Building and we will get them checked-in and take them to their group. What if I m late picking-up? If you know that you will be more than 15 minutes late for pick-up we ask that you contact the main education office so that we can make the group aware of the situation. If you will be consistently late picking up your child, then you should consult the camp listings on the Zoo s website for weeks that we offer Before & After Care. What should my child wear to camp? We will provide one camp t-shirt with registration and ask that campers wear their camp t-shirt each day of camp. You can purchase extra t-shirts when you register for camp or by contacting the main education office. We will have camp rain or shine, so please dress your child appropriately. We will also get messy with crafts and activities, so you should dress your child in comfortable play clothes. We also recommend having your child wear comfortable shoes. For safety reasons please no flip-flops. 5

6 Can my child bring a camera? Yes, your child may bring a camera to camp. However, they will be responsible for making sure that they do not lose the camera. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is not responsible for lost or damaged cameras. Can my child bring a cell phone? As they can be disruptive and are easily lost or damaged, we would prefer that your child leave their cell phone at home. If you need to reach your child during the day, we ask that you contact the main education office. Can I walk my dog in while I drop-off or pick-up my child? No, due to USDA regulations pets are not allowed on Zoo grounds unless they are a working animal. Pets may not be left in vehicles in the Zoo s parking areas as this is unsafe for the animals. Your child may not bring in family pets to show to the class. Can my child bring a backpack, purse or their own water bottle? Yes, they may bring in these items but they will be responsible to carry everything they bring with them. We will provide a camp water bottle for your child to use while at camp. Campers should not bring in any music players, hand-held video games or anything else not appropriate for camp. Please leave all valuable items at home. Can I stay with my child s class and observe? No, for the safety of all campers, the camp is a camper-only experience. You will be provided with a letter at the end of the day telling you what your child did that day at camp. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to talk to your child s instructors, camp coordinator, or camp supervisor. My child made a new friend at camp and we wanted to know if you can tell me their contact information? Unfortunately because of privacy laws we are unable to provide that information upon request. However you are welcome to meet other parents at drop off or pick up times. Can I sign-up my younger child with their older sibling? Yes, as long as they are both in the appropriate grade range. However, if one child is in 1st grade and another is in 3rd grade we can not accommodate those requests. They must both be within the same grade range: 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th & 5th-7th. We will allow older campers to be moved down to a younger group to be with a younger sibling, but we will not move any younger campers into an older group. Can my child only come for a few days of camp? If you do not want your child to attend the full week of camp, that is your choice. We do not prorate the cost of camp for days missed. We re registered for camp, but how can we make changes? You should contact the main education office and they will be able to assist you in making these changes in there are spaces available. 6

7 Can you move my child s friend into their group so that they can attend camp together? We can usually accommodate these requests as long as there are spaces available. The only way to make sure that your child attends camp with their friend is if you register for the same section of the same week of camp. 7

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