Wild Animal Science Camps

Students and Zoo staff participating in a Wild Science camp at the North Carolina Zoo
NC Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo’s Wild Animal Science Camps provide a fun and educational opportunity for young, budding scientists! The camp’s hand-on activities mimic the field work conservation scientists undertake in the wild and offer a realistic overview of what it might be like to follow in the footsteps of conservation heroes, like Jane Goodall or Dian Fossey.

Through carefully planned activities around the Zoo, campers will use various research methods used by our Zoo’s field biologists when working in the wild to save elephants, gorillas, vultures and more. Campers will use camera traps, solve human-wildlife conflict, identify footprints and bones, and study animal behavior. Campers will also have the unique and exciting experience of exploring the Zoo at night, where they will try out night-time research tools to observe and study Zoo animals and native wildlife.

All campers will have the opportunity to meet new friends, network with others who share their interests and experience the joys and challenges of working to help protect wildlife and their habitats.


A hands-on, unique learning experience: During their stay, campers practice state-of-the-art conservation research techniques under the tutelage of our Zoo’s scientists, including field biologists, animal behaviorists, and wildlife conservationists. Throughout the camp, animal keepers, education staff, and university students serve as mentors and counselors. The camp is limited to 16 young people to ensure that everyone has plenty of time to interact with our staff and experiment with our technical equipment. Campers will leave this special educational experience with new insights into studying animals.

A once-in-a-lifetime camping experience: Campers gain special, supervised access to more than 500 acres of wildlands and wildlife living at the North Carolina Zoo, during the day and night! We explore the Zoo after hours, learning about nighttime research methods, as we observe our Zoo-housed animals and local wildlife in the dark. Campers will sleep in zoo-provided tents, listening to the chimpanzee’s chatter and the lion’s roar.

Amazing memories: Campers will meet and create memories with other age-mates from across the state and country. Each camper will leave with a camp t-shirt, ID badge, and new set of animal-enthusiast friends!


We offer two age-specific camps: juniors (rising 6th-8th graders) and seniors (rising 9th-first year undergrads).

Curriculum for the camps are tailored to meet the needs of each age group, aimed to engage and incite interest in wildlife research.

We ask that all campers have previous experience sleeping away from home!

Camp space is limited to 16 campers where campers are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis


2022 Dates:

April 30 - May 1 (junior) Waitlist Room Only

June 11 - 12 (senior) Waitlist Room Only

September 10 -11 (junior) Waitlist Room Only

What to wear: Comfortable, weather appropriate clothes and closed-toed shoes . We will be outside for most of the camp.

What to bring: A sleeping bag, pillow, bug repellent, overnight toiletries, a change of clothes, a day pack, a bottle for water, at least two face coverings (masks) and a raincoat.

We provide the tent and all meals (lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday)!

Camp tuition: $449 for Zoo Society members and $499 for non-members. All fees cover food, lodging, and supplies. Non-members will receive a one-year membership upon purchase.

The estimated cost of goods and services for this camp is $30. All or nearly all of the remaining cost should be tax-deductible as a donation to the NC Zoo Society. Donations help support the Zoo’s wildlife conservation projects. All participating families will receive a 1-year membership with purchase.

Scholarship opportunities: We are offering full tuition support for those who qualify. Please complete our Scholarship Application Form to apply. 

If you are interested in supporting our scholarship program, please call: 336.879.7717 or email: sciencecamp@nczoo.org

Expectations from the families/campers:

  • Compliance with all safety guidelines (see following section)
  • If during the previous two weeks, the camper, or someone the camper has come into contact with, has: 1) been asked to self-quarantine, or 2) exhibited ANY COVID-19 related symptoms, we ask that the child not attend.
  • In the event of a thunderstorm, while most daytime activities will be safe to conduct, we will not be able to host the campers overnight. If necessary, an early pick up (Saturday evening) may be required.


For any questions: please email: sciencecamp@nczoo.org

To register: please call 336.879.7717.