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County Executive's Office

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi Announces Henry Vilas Zoo’s First Ever Zoo Camp

May 24, 2016
Stephanie Miller 608-267-8823
County Executive

                                                   Sign Up For Zoo Camp Today


Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Henry Vilas Zoo’s first Zoo Camp a new education and conservation awareness offering for the community, featuring in-depth exploration and connection with our animals, nature, and zoo staff. Campers will go behind the scenes and have unique once in a lifetime experiences with animals.


“There are still spots remaining for all ages,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This camp will allow kids to interact with animals and learn about conservation efforts. Sign up for zoo camp today!”


Zoo Camp is a full-day, week-long program geared toward working families. It is comparably priced to other childcare options, but with exciting and engaging activities for children such as exclusive animal encounters, trips behind the scenes with zoo staff, and FREE before and after care!  Camps are for K-12 students with different age groups featured throughout the summer. Learn more at


“We couldn’t be more excited to offer expanded programming where campers will be able to see our animals up close and personal,” said Zoo Director, Ronda Schwetz. “This first ever full week camp will provide unique experiences to meet animals that only those campers will be able to experience and we hope it provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for each child that they will always remember.”


Different programs for K-1 include: Animal Tales; Bugs; Play; Feathers, Fur, Shells, and Scales. For Grades 2-3 programs include: Animal Sense; Creatures of the Night; Animal Communication. For grades 4-5 programs include: Grrosss; Nature’s Gardeners. For grades 6 and up programs include: Animal Behavior; Conservation Connection.


Campers will get to experience the one year anniversary of the state of the art Arctic Passage. Arctic Passage is the largest expansion in the Zoo’s 105-year history, covering more than 1.7 acres.  It provides guests with beautiful new, naturalistic environments for polar bears, grizzly bears and harbor seals.  These exhibits enable zoo guests to see the seals swim underwater, the polar bears sleep in their den and a grizzly bear catch a fish from a stream.  The Arctic Passage also features special new education, conservation and sustainability features that continue the zoo’s leadership in these areas.


As part of Arctic Passage, the Zoo has its first-ever indoor restaurant called “Glacier Grille.”  It provides guests with stunning views of the polar bear yard and revenue from the restaurant directly supports the zoo.