Mary Tran: Discovery Cube’s Zoo and You Camp Discovery at Santa Ana Zoo #discoverycubemoms
This is a sponsored post.
You may have noticed that I was shadowing the children at week-long summer camps offered at Discovery Cube OC. Usually parents are not allowed to observe, but as a one of the Discovery Cube Moms ambassadors, I made special arrangements to be able to do this, and I’m so glad that I did, because I was learning too. There are several summer camps offered at Discovery Cube for ages 5-10 broken into two age groups. The two that I will highlight are The Zoo & You at Santa Ana Zoo and Ultimate Explorations at the Discovery Cube OC.
The Zoo & You at Santa Ana Zoo
At The Zoo & You Camp, designed for ages 5-6, parents dropped off their children at the Santa Ana Zoo at 9 am to 12:30 pm. There is one instructor, an assistant, and several volunteers. This 5 Day Camp has a new theme every day. Every day the children toured the Zoo, read a themed book, sang songs, took 30 minute snack breaks, and worked on themed crafts in their air conditioned barnyard classroom. (The classroom is also handicap accessible.)
Monday – Farm Animals!
On Monday (the first day), children went over camp rules for touring at the Zoo, then they toured the Crean Family Farm and learned about the farm animals at the zoo. They read a book called, Click, Clack, Moo. Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, and had an open discussion about how farms provide us with many of the foods we eat. The children had fun making their own butter by shaking heavy whipping cream, learned about different wool textures, made a bracelet, fed goats, and milked a mechanical cow named Bessie. The campers also received their camp shirts that day, and a daily letter to take home to their parents. What a full morning of fun! Can you believe that was just day one?
Tuesday – Birds!
On Tuesday, it was all about the birds. The children learned about what makes a bird a bird. They compared feathers, wings, beaks, and bones. They toured the aviary, explored a variety of bird nests, then made their own edible bird nest to take home. They read, The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, and saw real samples of big and small bird eggs before they dissected a chicken egg. The instructor did a really good job explaining that we only “dissect with a purpose” before they opened the egg. They also received a visit from the Santa Ana Zoo members and residents. On Tuesdays, the campers also get to ride the train around the Zoo. What a treat!
Wednesday – Primates!
On Wednesday, the campers learned about mammals and the different types of primates. They sang songs and read a book called, Gladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson. What’s unique about Santa Ana Zoo is they have to keep a minimum of 50 monkeys on site at all times. Campers played Primate Bingo during their tour. Then they came back to create monkey art by painting with fruit monkeys like to eat like apples, pears, etc. One of the monkeys they saw during their tour was the Emperor Tamarin which has a distinguished mustache so the children made their own mustaches to wear.
Thursday – Animal Coverings!
On Thursday, campers learned about different animal coverings. They read “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly” Said the Sloth by Eric Carle. They not only toured the zoo, but had a visit from zoo staff which brought fun animals they can touch and feel like an armadillo, iguana, owl, bullfrog, and hedgehog. They compared feathers, wool, fur, reptile scale, and porcupine quills teaching them different coverings for survival. They played a fun game about how slowly Sloths move, and as a craft, they made their own paper Sloths to take home.
Friday – Bugs!
On Friday, they read a story book called Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen. One of the volunteers turned into a bee as they did bee anatomy. It was hilarious. Later, we walked around the zoo to look for bugs. The children also ran through the Amazon Maze. For crafts, they made several – a scorpion hat, a flower with colored tissue paper, and a bees wax candle. For their classroom observation, they saw those creepy bugs up close.
At the end of the day, they received certificates. Fridays are also Family Days. After camp, Campers invited their families to enjoy a personal tour of the zoo led by the campers themselves. It’s a really cute way to tie it all together, and let the child show their families what they learned all week.
It was my pleasure to follow The Zoo and You around all week. The camp instructor, the assistant instructor, and her volunteers were all great with the children. They made it really fun and interactive throughout the day, and I felt the children were well taken care of. I loved that they had a different theme every day, and it was certainly educational. For older kids ages 7-10, they offer another camp called Zoo Camp, and they’re there 9 am – 2:30 pm on alternating weeks. Zoo Camp will take them on an even closer look at the animals around the Zoo.
Both camps are offered through the Discovery Cube Orange County and are located at Santa Ana Zoo at 1801 East Chestnut Avenue in Santa Ana, CA. For more information or to see their other camps, please visit their website at www.oc.discoverycube.org/education/for-parents/summer-camps/.
Coming Soon – An inside look of Camp Discovery’s Ultimate Explorations at the Discovery Cube OC!
This blog post was written by and all the photos are by Mary Tran. You can read her blog, Let’s Play OC, here.