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Summer Camp at the Zoo

When you think of summer and kids the first thing that comes to mind for some people is summer camp. There are all types of camps available, but are they as hands on as what you’ll find at the Houston Zoo? Bill Stamps has more.


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(sounds of kids playing)

Seven-year-old Anjali Talpallikar learned how to spell her name in school.


School is out, but she’s still learning each day. Anjali goes to camp at the Houston Zoo and gets an up close lesson in animal biology.

“They tell us about the animals and sometimes they show us how the animals do tricks, and then feed the animals.” 

(sound of loudspeaker at zoo)

The zoo offers camps for kids of all ages, including the little tots. Keeping their attention isn’t always easy, so one of their main topics believe it or not…is animal poop. Counselor Nicole Carr says it takes some of the kids a while to get used to things.

“At first they’re scared. The first hour or so of camp, they’re very scared. But once you get involved the kids are very open about poop…their poop, animal poop.”

“It’s awesome!”

During the week animal handlers bring different mammals, reptiles and birds to share with the campers… and anyone who’s worked with kids know they ask lots of questions. This is animal handler Karly Bishop.

“You get everything from: How many babies do they have? Is it full grown? What do they eat? You get the gambit, so you definitely have to be prepared before you go in there. You have to know your stuff.  I think their goal is to stump the animal handler.”

Victoria Sokol is also a counselor. She loves working with kids and seeing the looks on their faces as they explore and learn new things.

“Camp is an awesome experience, it’s a really good opportunity for kids to learn not just about the animals but about people who take care of the animals everyday, and kind of get an inside glimpse of the zoo.”

(sounds of counselor and kids… how many fingers…this is good )

For some of the campers, it’s like being on a class field trip every day.

“What are you doing?”
“We’re dissecting alchi.”

The camps are so popular many of them are already sold out for the month of August, but there is still some space available.

Bill Stamps, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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