Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are not only home to over 400 species, both endangered and thriving, but they are a home to an important tool that also keeps human life growing – the powerful tools of learning and education. A zoo’s most fundamental and precious purpose is to preserve and promote the conservation of wildlife. When a child’s nose is pressed against the glass and they are able to see an animals scenic habitat, they realize that this exists somewhere in this world – somewhere beyond One Wild Place. In these moments, the intent to learn captivates minds of all ages to want learn more and understand: where? what? how? and why?
The educational potential at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium reaches beyond the confines of four walls of a classroom in the way that it promotes active and interactive learning experiences. More so, experiences with real life animals (typically, animals you may not find Schenley Park; if you do, please report back!).
These real-world opportunities to see an 18 foot, 13,000 pound animal can help make crucial connections within the developing minds of young children – ones that go beyond reading a textbook or watching a documentary. It is in these powerful moments that a moment of learning and enlightenment really sticks in the young, curious mind of a growing child.
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium offers Animal Adventures Summer Zoo Camps that satisfy and expand the natural curiosities children have, and safely provide the human to animal interaction experience.
Their programs range from a wide variety of educational activities pertaining to animals quite literally right at hand. Animal Adventures Summer Zoo Camps cater towards children ages 2-13, with programs designed for various age groups. As described from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s website:
Cub Club and Zoo Tots (Ages 2 – 3 ): Children can engage in wildlife-themed crafts and learn about nature through songs and stories. At this young age, parents are invited to accompany their child (let’s face it: animals excite you, too).
Amazing Animals (Ages 4 – 5): Campers are welcomed to the wonderful world of Amazing Animals through lessons, animal encounters, tours, songs, and crafts. Daily themes focus on animal movements, patterns, textures, and diets.
Wild Destinations (Ages 6 – 7): Campers will explore some of the most unique habitats on the Earth and the animals that call them home – whether it’s a sloth in the South American rainforest, a cheetah in the African savanna, or a polar bear in the Arctic tundra. (Please note, five year olds are not permitted to attend full day camps).
Families Untamed (Ages 8 – 9): Campers will be on location, piecing together clues to figure out who belongs with whom in the animal kingdom. Their explorations will take them on an up close journey to the Zoo’s most popular residents. They will search for the traits that make each Zoo resident special, while discovering that very different animals often have a lot in common.
Creating Wild Spaces (Ages 10 – 11): During the week, campers will learn what goes into creating wild spaces for animals at the zoo. Special tours and animal encounters will offer the campers a unique view of Zoo exhibits that will come in handy as they work together to build their own zoo. Each camper will design and create an innovative animal exhibit of their choice. The week will culminate with campers unveiling and sharing their one-of-a-kind zoo with family and friends.
Photos for Conservation (Ages 12 – 13): Explore the conservation issues facing many of the world’s most endangered animals while experiencing the excitement of capturing a once-in-a-lifetime photograph. Campers will get closer than ever to their favorite zoo animals while having the opportunity to meet the keepers taking care of them. Campers will be responsible for providing their own digital (non-cell phone) camera. A family and friends viewing party will be held on Friday afternoon to highlight the favorite photos of each camper. Each camper will take home a flash drive containing all of their photographs.
With a world of species located right in Highland Park, your travel budget to see the animals world may significantly decrease. In addition to unlimited access 362 days a year, these wonderful classes for children at Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium are offered at a lowered price for members. Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium memberships for families start at $95.00.
See http://www.pittsburghzoo.org/Membership/BuyMemberships to purchase and renew online. More information regarding registration, dates, fees and descriptions about the fabulous educational journeys the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium have to offer can be found at http://www.pittsburghzoo.org/Education/ZooCamp.