Summer Critter Camp 2022
A wonderful San Diego Summer Camp for kids!
Where kids connect with animals
We had a blast at Summer Critter Camp this summer! 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 early in 2023 for information on Summer Critter Camp 2023!
Looking for the next camps that are available?
Fall Critter Camp is available to register now!
June 6th – August 26th 2022
Preschool through 8th grade
Daily and weekly sign ups available
Summer Critter Camp is San Diego’s best animal camp for kids preschool through 8th grade! Children will experience daily animal interactions that will amaze them as they get up close and personal with a variety of species including birds, small mammals, reptiles, large mammals, and invertebrates. Our summer camp activities are different each day and include animal themed games, crafts, songs, and more! There’s something for everyone at Summer Critter Camp, and a great time for all!
Camp Times, Rates, Discounts, and Details
NEW this year! We heard your feedback so we are now offering registration in both a daily and a weekly form. Please play close attention to the text for the dates you sign up for to ensure you’re selecting the option you want.
- Daily registration: a single day and applies the daily rate, regardless of how many days you register for. Allows flexibility to fit your schedule needs!
- Weekly registration: a single week and applies the weekly rate, but we do not prorate or transfer credits if you don’t attend all the days of that week. Best value option and campers receive a free t-shirt!
RETURNING this year! We’re pleased to be able to bring back 7th-8th grade classes this year!
- Weekly registration on 6 select weeks only.
- Theme is the same each week and different from the weekly themes the other grades follow. Their themes focus on animal careers.
- 9:00am – 1:00pm
- Extended Care option: 8:00am drop off for $12 per day. No late pickup available for Preschool.
- Must be at least 4 years old and able to use the bathroom independently.
Kindergarten – 8th Grade
- 9:00am – 3:00pm
- Extended Care option: 8:00am – 5:00pm for $24 per day
- Be aware that camp has frequent transitions that can make an aide more necessary during camp than at school.
- 15% off camp tuition for active military. Call us at 858-756-4117 ext. 318 for the coupon code.
- Automatically receive $5 off the daily tuition/$25 off the weekly tuition when registering siblings. Must register siblings at the same time. Applies to the second or more siblings only.
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 at $10 per child, per day. It includes a main entrée and two sides.
- Hot Lunch option (Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays): cheese pizza
- Hot Lunch option (Tuesdays and Thursdays): grilled cheese
- Cold lunch option (Mondays-Fridays): turkey sandwich
- Sides: a piece of fresh fruit or applesauce and a cheese cracker variant
We know that camp sounds fun for kids and adults, but this camp is for kids only! If your child has an aide at school and you plan to have them come to camp with your child, please call us at 858-756-4117 ext. 318 so that we can help them complete the fingerprint process. All aides must be fingerprinted through us in order to attend camp. Be aware that camp has frequent transitions that can make an aide more necessary during camp than at school.
Summer Critter Camp 2022 Themes
Amazing Animal Athletes – Odd Weeks
Whether it’s the stunning speed of a rabbit or the brave balancing act of a bearded dragon, our animal athletes have abilities that are sure to amaze you. Do you think they have what it takes to land a spot on the podium?
Different days of the week follow different daily themes depending on grade. Below is a list of all the daily themes for the Amazing Animal Athletes weeks. All grades will also visit our Adoptions department, and some older grades will visit other departments of the Center on select days.
Animals have different adaptations that help them survive in their natural habitat, many of which surpass our senses and abilities, making them Olympic-level athletes in our world! Discover what these different skills are and how they compare to people, and understand why animals might need these qualities to thrive. Campers will meet a rabbit, box turtle, dove, Chinese water dragon or blue tongue skink, and hermit crab.
The surroundings we live and train in can shape our athletic potential. Similarly, an animal’s habitat in the wild or with people affect the adaptations they have or acquire. Consider how animals in deserts are different from those in mountains, and why. Campers will meet a guinea pig, alpaca, large parrot, California desert tortoise, and millipede.
Most athletes have to undergo rigorous training in order to compete at high levels, and that’s true for animals too, but some species have amazing abilities they are born with and know how to do so because it’s their instinct. Explore the differences between learned and innate behaviors and compare and contrast that with us. Campers will meet a dog, sheep, chicken, ball python snake, and leopard gecko.
You are what you eat, they say, and that’s because different foods have different nutrient values. When it comes to animal athletes, what do they need to have a balanced meal, and how does that impact their energy levels? Learn this and more about animal nutrition! Campers will meet a Flemish giant rabbit, goat, small parrot, rosy boa snake, and bearded dragon.
Although many animals are incredible in their own ways, many are misunderstood, or threatened in their natural habitats. There are many things all of us can do to make a positive impact and preserve the natural world for years to come. Campers will meet a chinchilla, miniature horse, pigeon, frog, and Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Technology Gone Wild – Even Weeks
Does your child have an incredibly inquisitive mind? This camp week delves into the seemingly distant worlds of nature and technology and we will find out why they’re closer than we may realize. Campers will uncover the ways that wildlife has influenced technology and our advancement as humans. Your kids won’t want to miss out on this exciting exploration!
Different days of the week follow different daily themes depending on grade. Below is a list of all the daily themes for the Technology Gone Wild weeks. All grades will also visit our Adoptions department, and some older grades will visit other departments of the Center on select days.
Many innovations throughout history have been helped along due to an animal. Dive into some past and current inventions that were either inspired by or directly contributed to by an animal partner. Campers will meet a guinea pig, sheep, dove, leopard gecko, and Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Animals come in all different shapes and sizes, and all for a reason! Learn why animals have the adaptations they do, and how that relates to their habitat, diet, movement, and how all of that compares with people and has inspired us. Campers will meet a rabbit, Chinese water dragon or blue tongue skink, small parrot, bearded dragon, and millipede.
People celebrate and tell stories in various ways, such as song, dance, art, literature, and media. Discover the different ways animals are portrayed in television, movies, video games, and other formats and how that can shape our opinions of them, and how animals can be safely used in these productions. Campers will meet a Flemish giant rabbit, miniature horse, pigeon, rosy boa snake, and box turtle.
Some animal prints are immediately recognizable to us. Animals will have different coverings and patterns that serve different roles for survival. This has inspired us through the ages and has led people to a greater understanding of signal-based communication. Explore this and more! Campers will meet a chinchilla, alpaca, chicken, ball python snake, and hermit crab.
Animals can be great allies to people in various ways, and there’s a lot we can do to make positive change for animals on a domestic and wild front. Learn the ways that animals help us, and how we can help them. Campers will meet a dog, goat, large parrot, California desert tortoise, and frog.
Critter Careers – 7th-8th grade (same each week)
Explore the different ways you can work with animals, some of which include direct care of the animals, while others mean supporting them through the work you do at a distance. Campers will earn an hour of community service each day of camp by assisting our animal care team, plus they will meet professionals in the animal industry, and develop lifelong leadership skills during their time here at Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego.
Monday – Veterinarian
Animals communicate in a variety of ways which can tell us if they’re happy and healthy, or need medical attention. Discover the different ways veterinarians work with different species and what the path towards that career looks like. Campers will meet a chinchilla, goat, duck, bearded dragon, frog, bathe a large mammal, and visit a different department at the Center.
Tuesday – Keeper
Animals and humans have a lot of different relationships worldwide but one that is always needed is a keeper to care for the daily needs of animals. Explore the variations of needs different animal species have and how that translates to caring properly for them. Campers will meet a rabbit, miniature horse, pigeon, leopard gecko and box turtle. They will also wash rabbit or bird enclosures and visit a different department at the Center.
Wednesday – Trainer
Because humans and animals don’t speak the same language, we can develop a way to communicate through a new language, training! Learn the fundamentals of shaping behaviors and pairing them with signals, and understand why this is so important for animal happiness and health. Campers will meet a dog, alpaca, small parrot, Chinese water dragon or blue tongue skink, and millipede. They will also clean out a large mammal pen and visit a different department at the Center.
Thursday – Research
To best understand animals and learn from them, we need to research them. Careers are widespread and varied with this need, and can include field work or lab work. Understand the important role animals play in science and how we can make ethical decisions when studying. Campers will meet a guinea pig, sheep, large parrot, California desert tortoise, and Madagascar hissing cockroach. They will also walk a large mammal, and visit a different department at the Center.
Friday – Influencer
Media and education are both crucial to supporting animals because they connect people and animals and the challenges they face, which generates better understanding and solutions based on positive change. Campers will meet a Flemish giant rabbit, dove, chicken, snake, and hermit crab. They will also socialize our chinchillas and visit a different department at the Center.
Critter Camp Frequently Asked QuestionsAuthorized Pick Up & ID Checking
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.
Making sure certain children are in the same group
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 extended care as late as day of by contacting the office about adding it at any time, or sign into your account and add it yourself. Extended care includes AM Care and PM Care (AM Care is the only option for Preschool).
- AM Care is 8:00-8:45am early drop off. Children will mostly free play with camp staff supervision. This is the only option available to children younger than Kindergarten.
- PM Care is 3:00-5:00pm late pick up. 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 PM Care.
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.