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. While all of our Phoenix Zoo programs are inclusive, our Camp Zoo programs for children with special needs are specifically designed to accommodate children with orthopedic and sensory impairments. All of our lessons and activities are age-appropriate, designed for multiple learning styles, and flexible to meet the needs of individuals within the group.

While we do not have the staff to accommodate campers with significant 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 (who attend camp at no additional charge). Please contact the Camp Zoo supervisor to discuss your child’s needs and ensure that Camp Zoo is a good match as part of your child’s winter schedule.

Winter Camp Zoo 2015

Winter Camp Zoo 2015 Scholarship Application
Scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Children will have fascinating adventures with the natural world at Winter Camp Zoo at the Phoenix Zoo! We’ll take advantage of the cooler temperatures and participate in outdoor activities such as up-close animal encounters, hands-on activities, games, in depth investigations, and hikes around the Zoo. We’ll also spend time in the classroom making crafts, using scientific tools and meeting Animal Ambassadors up close.

Combining the best experiences from our weeklong camp curriculum, this one day camp experience is sure to be a memorable one! Children 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 Camp and Sense of Wonder Camp offer 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.

Winter Camp Zoo Sense of Wonder Camp and Wild Hearts Camp at the Phoenix Zoo are for students in kindergarten through eighth-grade. Camp runs from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. All camp participants receive a shirt, hat and water bottle with lanyard. Campers must wear their Camp Zoo shirt.

* 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. 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.

Sense of Wonder and Wild Hearts Camp Fees

Member – $50
General -$55
Includes one shirt, hat and water bottle with lanyard. Additional shirts may be purchased.

Wild Hearts Camp
Wednesday, December 30, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Register for Wild Hearts Winter Camp

Winter Camp Zoo 2015 Scholarship Application
Scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis.

IMPORTANT – After registering for Camp Zoo click here to fill out the required waivers, health forms and emergency contact information.

Winter Camp Zoo Wild Hearts Camp is for children with orthopedic impairments. Wild Hearts Camp has been developed with the assistance of a generous grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. The foundation also offers scholarships to allow a limited number of children to attend for free. (Scholarship application link below)

Many children have special needs and it is not possible for one program to meet the specific needs of all children. Wild Hearts Camp is designed specifically for children with sensory impairments. Terrain at the Zoo may be difficult for some, but we select activities and behind-the-scenes experiences to maximize accessibility for campers who manage physical impairment limitations and/or use mobility aides (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, braces, etc.). Those who need one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving are expected to provide their own guide (who attends 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 the campers can fully participate in, and benefit from, the whole camp experience. If campers have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on their behalf.

Sense of Wonder Camp
Thursday, December 31, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Register for Sense of Wonder Winter Camp

Winter Camp Zoo 2015 Scholarship Application
Scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis.

IMPORTANT – After registering for Camp Zoo click here to fill out the required waivers, health forms and emergency contact information.

Winter Camp Zoo Sense of Wonder Camp is for children with sensory impairments. Sense of Wonder has been developed with the assistance of a generous grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. The foundation also offers scholarships to allow a limited number of children with sensory impairments to attend for free. (Scholarship application link below)

Many children have special needs and it is not possible for one program to meet the specific needs of all children. Sense of Wonder is designed specifically for children with sensory impairments. Terrain at the Zoo may be difficult for some, but we select activities and behind-the-scenes experiences to maximize accessibility. Campers must be ambulatory or capable of using a walker or cane. Those who need one-on-one assistance whenever they are moving are expected to provide their own guide (who attends 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 the campers can fully participate in, and benefit from, the whole camp experience. If campers have communication impairments, they should be accompanied by someone who is able to facilitate communication on their behalf.