Fall Critter Camp

Hands-On Humane Education

October 23rd – 27th 2023

Kindergarten – 6th Grade. Daily sign ups available!

Campers learned reasons to fall in love with animals at Fall Critter Camp! Children experienced daily animal interactions that amazed them as they got up close and personal with a variety of species including birds, small mammals, reptiles, large mammals, and invertebrates. Campers also enjoyed animal themed games, crafts, songs, and more! Check back summer of 2024 for information on Fall Critter Camp 2024!

Looking for the next camps that are available?

Camp Times, Rates, Discounts and Details

Kindergarten – 6th Grade

  • $98 per child, per day.
  • 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Extended Care option: Early drop-off at 8:00am and/or extended day to 5:00pm available for an additional fee, per day.


  • 15% off camp tuition for active military. Call us at 858-756-4117 ext. 318 for the coupon code
  • Your child may be eligible for a scholarship! Please visit our website by clicking here to find out more. 

Your camp fee may provide a partial tax credit, check with your tax professional to see if you qualify!


  • All campers must be able to use the restroom confidently and on their own.
  • Must be at least 5 years old to pet reptiles.
  • Animals assigned to a theme may vary depending on animal health, safety, and availability.
  • Please provide your child with a snack and water bottle each day.
  • Lunch can be purchased for an additional fee, per child, per day, before 9:30am.
    It includes a main entrée and two sides. It is listed as a separate activity that you sign each child up for.
  • We know that camp sounds fun for kids and adults, but this camp is for kids only!
    • Aides are suggested for camp if your child regularly works with one. Camp has frequent transitions that may make an aide more necessary during camp than at school. All aides must be fingerprinted through Helen Woodward Animal Center in order to attend camp. Please call us at 858-756-4117 ext. 318 so that we can help them complete the fingerprint process. It may take up to 7 days to receive fingerprinting results.

Fall Critter Camp Themes

Monday - Survival of the Species

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Discover the awesome adaptations that allow each animal to survive and thrive! Whether behavioral or physical, animals have awesome abilities that help them do incredible things. Campers will meet a goat, chinchilla, medium parrot, blue tongue skink, and a frog.

Tuesday – Whose Lair is Over There?

Explore how an animal’s habitat influences certain adaptations. A desert animal and a jungle animal face very different challenges in their homes, so they need different ways to cope. Campers will meet an alpaca, large parrot, chicken, box turtle, and a hermit crab.

Wednesday – Howling & Growling

Even though animals don’t use words like we do, they definitely have various forms of communication! Learn how they get their message across. Campers will meet a miniature horse, guinea pig, small parrot, bearded dragon, and a leopard gecko.

Thursday – Pawtumn Harvest

There are many factors that distinguish an animal as predator or prey. Find out if the animals you’ll meet are more likely to hunt or hide, and if the cooler weather affects their appetite. Campers will meet a sheep, rabbit, dove, ball python snake, and a millipede.

Friday – Fall Together Now!

The evenings may be darker and the air is colder, but animals are still there to brighten our days and warm our hearts. Discover all of the ways that animals help people and how people can help animals. Campers will meet a dog, rat, mini donkey, California desert tortoise, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Critter Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

For safety purposes we do not release children at pick up time to anyone not listed on the “authorized to pick up” list. We check ID daily at checkout time.

  • To add someone to the authorized list, we must confirm you are one of the parents/guardians and then we can add any additional names, or you can log into your account and add more in yourself.

During registration there is a section for “my child would like to be in the same class as” and that is where you should add the first and last names of other children to group with, if any. We group children into classes by grade level first; if we have multiple classes of the same grade level then we’ll pair requests together.

  • We generally group classes as follows: PreK/Preschool, Kinder, 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, 7th-8th. Depending on registrations for each grade level we may combine nearby grade levels into one class, such as a Kinder-2nd class.
  • We only move older children down into the younger groups.
  • If you need your child with another child regardless of grade level, please contact the office by email or phone to escalate your request to a need. Please do this before the start of the camp week you’re attending so that it can be taken care of prior to the start of grouping for that week.

You can add early drop-off or extended day as late as day of by contacting the office about adding it at any time.
There is no extended day option for Preschool.

Early drop-off is 8:00-8:45am. Children will mostly free play with camp staff supervision. This is the only option
available to children younger than Kindergarten.

Extended day is 3:00-5:00pm. Children will do a craft or activity, have some guided games, help check on our
outdoor animals for the night’s close, and free play under the supervision of camp staff. It is advised to pack extra
snacks so your child has food for this time.

You can add lunch as late as morning of, as long as you do it before 9:30am when the lunch order is placed. Camp lunch includes an entrée and two sides.

  • You can contact the office about adding it day of or sign into your account and add it yourself (but please only add it yourself if its 24 hours’ notice otherwise it may be missed – we print rosters each morning at 8am).

Please stay home if a member of your household is sick. We can transfer registrations which haven’t started to another day if that day has room.

  • If you need to cancel and can provide more than 24 hours’ notice to the start of the camp day, we can refund you minus a $10 cancellation fee per day.
  • If you need to cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice to the start of the day you will not receive a refund.
  • -Carla M. “My son LOVED this camp!! He is in 1st grade and is often shy/scared to do camps and things. But he had so much fun and learned so many cool facts and loved petting all the animals. He didn't want the camp to end.”
  • -Nicole C. “Both of my boys ages 11 and 6 had a great time at critter camp. They enjoyed learning new things about all of the animals. They came home loaded with facts.”
  • -April B. “My daughter and her friend loved it. We appreciated that the program was outdoors [often] and seemed well run.”
  • -Pilar B. “My 4yo clearly understood key concepts such as adaptation and communication, was able to articulate them, and thoroughly enjoyed learning facts about all the different animals. The hands-on factor was key for her.”

Your program fee helps support all of our adoptable animals, as well as the many human and animal services Helen Woodward Animal Center provides.

For more information:
Please contact us at education@animalcenter.org or 858-756-4117 ext. 318


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Due to Hurricane Hilary, all  departments will be closing at 3pm today.  Stay safe!