Special Needs Field Trip Program

The Phoenix Zoo offers the Animal Families program, developed specifically for students with special needs. Live animals, photographs, skull models, pelts, animal figures and more are used to engage students and demonstrate concepts. Our program utilizes a sensory motor approach where students move between stations and are encouraged to touch, smell and feel all appropriate items. The program can be geared towards students of any age and functioning level. The animal families discussed include insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Programs are offered Mondays in October – April by reservation only. Classes are presented by Zoo volunteers and are free with paid admission to the Zoo. Call 602.914.4333 for more information.

Special Needs Camp Zoo Program
Sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks

Kids can spend summer and winter breaks at the Zoo with Camp Zoo! Camp Zoo offers children in kindergarten through eighth grade an opportunity to explore nature and the Zoo in a fun, hands-on and exciting way. All of our lessons and activities are age-appropriate and designed for multiple learning styles. Young children will be introduced to nature with smaller animals, basic caregiving, art projects and very simple action projects. Each class progresses with the children’s level of understanding all the way up to seventh and eighth grades, during which participants will explore animal training, visitor education and Zoo careers.

Summer 2014 Forms

2014 Scholarship Application Form
Sense of Wonder Flyer & Registration Form
Wild Hearts Flyer & Registration Form

Camp Zoo Sense of Wonder (for Children with Visual Impairments)

Camp Zoo Sense of Wonder was developed with the assistance of a generous grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. As part of this grant, a limited number of children with visual impairments receive scholarships to attend the camp for free.

Combining the best tactile and auditory experiences from our weeklong camp curriculum, this one day camp experience is sure to be a memorable one! Children will have fascinating adventures with the natural world through up-close animal encounters, hands-on activities, games, in-depth investigations and organized free time. Sense of Wonder offers a safe yet challenging educational experience designed to build a camper’s independence, confidence and skills. Campers are encouraged to develop strong relationships with their peers and to appreciate individual connections with the natural world.

Although lessons are developed ahead of time, we leave room for individual self-expression and the program is flexible to meet the needs of individuals within the group. Our instructors possess respect and understanding for children and a deep passion for the natural world. They are well-trained in interpretive techniques, group management and activity facilitation.*

Many children have special needs. Unfortunately, one program cannot meet all the needs of all children. Sense of Wonder is designed specifically for children with visual disabilities.

Terrain at the Phoenix Zoo may be difficult for some, but we have selected our activities and behind-the-scenes experiences to maximize accessibility. Campers must be ambulatory or capable of using a walker or cane. Any camper who needs one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving is expected to provide their own guide (who will attend camp at no additional charge). Campers also need to be able to communicate consistently and reliably, in a verbal or non-verbal way, so camp instructors and peers can understand their needs and so they can fully participate in, and benefit from, the entire camp experience. If a camper does have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on their behalf.

While we do not have staff to individually accommodate a camper with behavioral, emotional or cognitive impairments or who is extremely medically fragile, they are welcome to attend camp when accompanied by their aide, caregiver or respite provider (at no additional charge). Please contact Camp Zoo to discuss your child’s needs and ensure that the program is a good match.

Sense of Wonder is for students who are entering kindergarten through eighth grade in fall 2014. The camp day runs from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

All camp participants will receive a shirt, hat, water bottle and strap. Campers must wear their Camp Zoo shirt. One shirt will be included with your registration and additional shirts are available for purchase. Camp fee includes a small mid-morning snack.

*Please note that the Zoo does not employ specific individuals certified or extensively trained in special education. However, our camp instructors do receive pre-camp training that includes basic skills for working with children who have special needs.

Camp Zoo Wild Hearts (for Children with Orthopedic Impairments)

Camp Zoo Wild Hearts was developed with the assistance of a generous grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. As part of this grant, a limited number of children with orthopedic impairments will receive scholarships to attend for free.

Highlighting the best activities and animal experiences from our weeklong camp curriculum, this one day camp experience is sure to be a memorable one! Children will have fascinating adventures with the natural world through up-close animal encounters, hands-on activities, games, in-depth investigations and organized free-time. Wild Hearts offers a safe yet challenging educational experience designed to build camper’s independence, confidence and skills. Campers are encouraged to develop strong relationships with their peers and to appreciate individual connections with the natural world.

Although lessons are developed ahead of time, we leave room for individual self-expression and the program is flexible to meet the needs of individuals within the group. Our instructors possess respect and understanding for children and a deep passion for the natural world. They are well-trained in interpretive techniques, group management and activity facilitation.*

Many children have special needs. Unfortunately, one program cannot meet all the needs of all children. Sense of Wonder is designed specifically for children with visual disabilities.

Terrain at the Phoenix Zoo may be difficult for some, but we have selected our activities and behind-the-scenes experiences to maximize accessibility. Campers must be ambulatory or capable of using a walker or cane. Any camper who needs one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving is expected to provide their own guide (who will attend camp at no additional charge). Campers also need to be able to communicate consistently and reliably, in a verbal or non-verbal way, so camp instructors and peers can understand their needs and so they can fully participate in, and benefit from, the entire camp experience. If a camper does have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on their behalf.

While we do not have staff to individually accommodate a camper with behavioral, emotional or cognitive impairments or who is extremely medically fragile, they are welcome to attend camp when accompanied by their aide, caregiver or respite provider (at no additional charge). Please contact Camp Zoo to discuss your child’s needs and ensure that the program is a good match.

Wild Hearts is for students who are entering kindergarten through eighth grade in fall 2014. The camp day runs from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

All camp participants will receive a shirt, hat, water bottle and strap. Campers must wear their Camp Zoo shirt. One shirt will be included with your registration and additional shirts are available for purchase. Camp fee includes a small mid-morning snack.

*Please note that the Zoo does not employ specific individuals certified or extensively trained in special education. However, our camp instructors do receive pre-camp training that includes basic skills for working with children who have special needs.