Special Needs Field Trip Program

The Phoenix Zoo offers a 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 – students move between stations and are encouraged to touch, smell, and feel all appropriate items. This program can be geared towards students of all ages and functioning levels. The animal families discussed are: insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The “Animal Families” program is presented by Zoo Volunteers.

Programs are offered Mondays, October – April by reservation only and are free with paid admission to the Zoo. Call us at 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 at the Phoenix Zoo offers children ages kindergarten through 8th 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 care giving, 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 grade, 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

Sense of Wonder (for children with visual impairments)

This camp has been 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 will receive scholarships to attend for free.

Combining the best tactile and auditory experiences from our week long 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. Camp Zoo 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 our lessons are developed ahead of time, we do 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.*

So many children have special needs and it is not possible for one program to meet the specific needs of all children. This Camp Zoo experience is designed specifically for children with visual disabilities. Terrain at the Zoo may be difficult for some, but we have selected our activities and behind the scenes experiences to maximize accessibility to our campers with visual impairments. Campers must be ambulatory or capable of using a walker/cane.

Campers who need one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving are 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 while at camp and so the children can fully participate in, and benefit from, the whole camp experience. If campers do have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on behalf of the camper.

While we do not have the staff to accommodate campers with behavioral, emotional, or cognitive impairments, or who are extremely medically fragile, campers with these needs are welcome to attend when accompanied by their aide, caregiver, or respite provider (with no additional charge). Please contact the Camp Zoo Supervisor to discuss your child’s needs and ensure that Camp Zoo will be a good match as part of your child’s summer schedule.

Camp Zoo at the Phoenix Zoo is for students who are entering Kindergarten through 8th grade in the fall of 2014. The camp day begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 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 midmorning 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.

Wild Hearts (for children with orthopedic impairments)

This camp has been 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 week long 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. Camp Zoo 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 our lessons are developed ahead of time, we do 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.*

So many children have special needs and it is not possible for one program to meet the specific needs of all children. This Camp Zoo experience is designed specifically for children with physical disabilities. Terrain at the Zoo may be difficult for some, but we have selected our activities and behind the scenes experiences to maximize accessibility to our campers who manage physical impairment limitations and/or use of mobility aides (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.). Campers who need one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving are expected to provide their own aide, caregiver, or respite provider (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 while at camp and so the children can fully participate in, and benefit from, the whole camp experience. If campers do have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on behalf of the camper.

While we do not have the staff to accommodate campers with behavioral, emotional, or cognitive impairments, or who are extremely medically fragile, campers with these needs are welcome to attend when accompanied by their aide, caregiver, or respite provider. Please contact the Camp Zoo Supervisor to discuss your child’s needs and ensure that Camp Zoo will be a good match as part of your child’s summer schedule.

Camp Zoo at the Phoenix Zoo is for students who are entering Kindergarten through 8th grade in the fall of 2014. The camp day begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 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 midmorning 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.