Thanksgiving Critter Camp

Thanksgiving Critter Camp

November 20-22 2023

Preschool – 6th Grade

Daily sign ups available!

There is a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season! Come join us and our animal ambassadors as we learn about how animals help us and the ways we can help animals. Through hands-on interactions with a variety of species, as well as crafts, games, and activities, campers will discover compassion for various animal types and build amazing memories.

Camp Times, Rates, Discounts and Details


  • $75 per child, per day
  • 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– 6th Grade

  • $95 per child, per day
  • 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Extended Care option: 8:00am – 5:00pm for $24 per day


  • 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 when registering siblings. Must register siblings at the same time. Applies to the second or more siblings only.
  • 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 at $10 per child, per day. It includes a main entrée and two sides.
    • Hot Lunch option (same each day): cheese pizza.
    • Sides: applesauce and a cheese cracker variant.
  • 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.

Thanksgiving Critter Camp Themes

Monday – Family Furst

Monday – Family Furst

The holiday season draws families together from near and far. Find out if animals value relationships in the same ways that we do. Campers will meet a miniature horse, rabbit, parrot, bearded dragon, and hermit crab.

Tuesday – Animal Appreciation

Tuesday – Animal Appreciation

Learn about the various reasons why we should appreciate all animals, not just the cute and cuddly ones! Campers will meet a sheep, dog, dove, tortoise, and Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Wednesday - Gobble ‘til You Wobble

Wednesday - Gobble ‘til You Wobble

Do the seasons affect what critters consume? How are their eating habits unique? Campers will meet a goat, guinea pig, chicken, millipede, and snake.

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 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 8:00-8:45 am early drop off. Children will mostly free play with camp staff supervision. 
  • PM Care is 3:00-5:00 pm 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 it’s 24 hours’ notice otherwise it may be missed – we print rosters each morning at 8 am).

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.
  • -Jean M. “It's so nice to be exposed to different animals that the kids don't usually have access to. I love that the animals are more varied than just "cats or dogs".
  • -Kirstie D. “Only camp he asks to go back to!”
  • -Lindsay B. “My 5yo says she wishes she could quit school and just go to animal camp every day instead!”
  • -Kristin G. “My daughter was so happy at the end of each day. She loved the animals.”

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

Follow us online to get more humane education virtually including animal facts, cute animal photos and videos, and notifications about upcoming programs!

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