Zoo Atlanta extends Safari Camp into community
Zoo Atlanta is expanding the outreach of its Safari Camp experience this summer with the first-ever Summer Safari Camp Takeover Program sponsored by Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. In partnership with the City of Atlanta’s Camp Best Friends, Zoo Atlanta educators are visiting seven Camp Best Friends locations, providing four hours of programming at each site. Programs are designed to introduce Camp Best Friends participants to the vital roles and mission of accredited zoological organizations and to spark excitement and curiosity about wildlife and wild places.
“In a time when the connections between people and nature are more fragile than ever, it has never been more important for our children to have access to experiences that promote the appreciation of animals that inspires conservation action,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We are grateful to our partners at Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority for their commitment to our community.”
Safari Camp educators visited Camp Best Friends’ Zaban, Perkerson, Anthony Flanagan and South Bend sites on June 12, 19, 25 and 26. Upcoming site visits include Arthur Langford Jr. (July 10); William Walker (July 16 and 18); and Coan Park (July 23 and 25).
Campers will explore the roles of animal care professionals, field researchers and conservationists; use technology to discover the ways scientists conduct research; and create connections to native and exotic wildlife that will help them feel empowered to save species.
“The City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation’s Camp Best Friends Summer Camp is celebrating its 38th year, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Zoo Atlanta in the first season of the Safari Camp Takeover,” said John Dargle, City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “Each summer we strive to offer our campers a wide array of educational, athletic and cultural experiences, and this partnership accomplishes that. We are looking forward to another successful Camp Best Friends this summer.”
The Summer Safari Camp Takeover Program is the Zoo’s second effort this summer to broaden community access to its educational experiences. In May 2019, Zoo Atlanta awarded scholarships to 64 children in the fourth year of the Safari Camp Scholarship Program presented by Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. The scholarships provide children ages 5 to 11 from Title I Schools in the City of Atlanta and Fulton County with a week of Camp tuition; daily lunch and snacks; a Camp T-shirt; and extended care options for guardians.
Zoo Atlanta is a statewide resource for both formal and informal education in Georgia, serving more than 91,200 students and more than 27,000 program participants in 2018. In addition to Safari Camp, which takes place year-round during school breaks, education programs include but are not limited to Adventure Cubs, Nature Play Club, Keeper for a Day, NightCrawler overnights, Twilight Trek and ZooMobile outreach. The Zoo also offers inquiry-based classroom programs and field trips, professional learning opportunities for educators and a wealth of other resources that support STEM curriculum at all grade levels.
Safari Camp: Summer Session runs weekly through August 2, 2019. Programs offer an immersive experience that builds lasting connections between campers and the natural world with Zoo tours, science-based explorations, animal encounters, educational games and more. Themes change weekly and are structured by age group for 4-year-olds to 14-year-olds. Visit zooatlanta.org to learn more about Safari Camp and other education programs at Zoo Atlanta.