School Safari Camps

All Kindergarten through 5th graders can now join Sunset Zoo for unique animal experiences all school year when USD 383 is not in session. Campers will embark on journeys that will keep them engaged, both physically and mentally, while their teachers at school take time to plan for future lessons and grow professionally.  Journeys will include explorations into animal groups, individual species, ecosystems, and how they can help the natural world around them. Two age-specific classrooms are available during School Safari Camps, one for grades K-2, the Pelican Pod, and another for grades 3-5, the Chimp Troop.

Times & Fees

Parents can drop participants off as early as 7:30am and pick them up as late as 5:30pm.  Snacks are provided but participants must bring a sack lunch if they are participating in the all day session.

FOSZ Member Rate$29.00 per session
Non-Member Rate$33.00 per session

Registration Information

Enrollment will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. Enrolled students will receive a confirmation packet discussing schedule, dress code and camp checklist. Registration will open Monday, August 15 at 8:00 a.m..

  • Online Registration 
    Register online from anywhere at anytime until classes fill.  Click here to register.
  • Phone or In-Person
    You can also register by phone at 785.587.2737 or in person during regular operating hours. 

Permission Forms & Parent Handbook

Sunset Zoo's School Safari Camps are licensed through the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) and require a specific set of permission forms to be completed for each camper. Permission forms only need to be completed once, and updated if information, like address or emergency contact information, changes. We did change permission forms in 2021. Thus, anyone who hasn't attended a camp at Sunset Zoo since summer 2021, will need to complete permission forms.

All families are encouraged to read through Sunset Zoo's School Safari Camp Handbook.  This outlines specific procedures, like drop off and pick up, as well as behavior expectations.  Not following the policies, procedures, and expectations outlined in the Handbook, may result in a camper being removed from camp.  The Handbook can be found here.

Current COVID-19 Related Information

The health and safety of your child is extremely important to us.  We are currently enacting enhanced cleaning protocols and using HEPA air purifiers to ensure the camp environment is as safe and clean as possible. While we are maintaining our capacity at 24 as in past years, we will utilize two classroom spaces to allow for extra distancing between campers and staff.

Face coverings in all City of Manhattan facilities, including Sunset Zoo, are currently optional regardless of vaccination status. This includes all Adventure Camp participants, and it includes adults picking up and dropping off. Any changes to this policy will be communicated to parents prior to any camp day through email and this webpage.

We do ask all families to help protect all campers and staff so we can continue offering this program by following CDC recommendations regarding isolation and other mitigation factors should a family member test positive or become identified as a close contact.  Please contact Riley County Health Department if you have questions about current recommendations.

Refund Policy

A full refund is provided if registration is canceled prior to one week (7 days) of start date. Partial refund given if registration is canceled between one week (7 days) and 48 hours prior to start date. No refund given if canceled within 48 hours.  A full refund will be provided is Sunset Zoo cancels a camp.

Overview of Camps

Each camp is themed around a specific topic, and activities include live animal interactions, themed tours of the Zoo, crafts, games and nature hikes.  Depending on the camp classroom, special activities may be planned regularly with the pelicans, chimpanzees, and their zookeepers for the respective groups.  See below for more details about each camp classroom and the current session topics.

  1. The Pelican Pod
  2. The Chimp Troop

The Pelican Pod is a School Safari Camp classroom at Sunset Zoo with day-long activities specifically designed for youth enrolled kindergarten through 2nd grade.  Pelican Pod campers will meet zoo animals throughout each day camp, explore numerous outdoor spaces in and around the Zoo, and engage in crafts and games connected to the day's theme.

The Pelican Pod will also interact with Sunset Zoo's pelican zookeeper, Trevor, as time and conditions allow.  The will meet Sunset Zoo's resident pelicans, learn all about their amazing classroom mascot, and might even get a chance to see the pelican eat.

Below are the themes for the upcoming school semester:

DateSession TopicDescription
Sept. 23Moving MammalsTo escape the cold, the heat, or lack of food, animals move from one area to another.  Typically, we think about birds doing this over winter, but the Pelican Pod will explore the other animals that move great distances.
Oct. 10Fur vs HairDo humans have hair or fur?  What about dogs?  Cats?  Bats?  Sunset Zoo staff will help the Pelican Pod discover which is correct while exploring numerous examples.
Oct. 14Horned AnimalsOn the side, in front or on top, horns can come in lots of different shapes and sizes and in different locations.  This session will explore what horns are, who has them, and what they are used for. 
Oct. 20Arthro What?Arthropods are one of the largest families of animals including insects, spiders, millipedes, lobsters, and shrimp.  The Pelican Pod will discover all the beauty, scary, and uniqueness within this group of animals.
Oct. 21Animals in the DarkHalloween is right around the corner and full of nighttime celebrations.  Around the globe, there are animals that enjoy the nightime year-round.  The Pelican Pod will meet some nocturnal animals and learn how these animals thrive in the dark.
Nov. 21Mini MammalsThe sea otter might be the biggest type of otter around, the Asian small clawed otter at Sunset Zoo is the smallest otter.  The Pelican Pod will discover other examples of mini mammals, and the benefits of being small.
Nov. 22Mammals Big & TallMaking the biggest splash, peering over tall, tall trees, and much more.  The Pelican Pod will explore what it means to the biggest and tallest of the animal kingdom on this zoo adventure.
Nov. 23PredatorsNot all animals eat turkey, but many do eat meat.  It's not just the lions and tigers, it's the pelicans and ferrets, too.  The Pelican Pod will explore how predators find their next meal.
Dec. 19Slimy AnimalsSlick, shiny, and slimy are the characteristics of some animals.  The Pelican Pod will figure out which ones those are and why their skin is that way.
Dec. 20Animal GroupsFamily and friends are important to many animals, not just humans.  The Pelican Pod will learn about the various animal groupings and how they benefit the animals.
Dec. 21Unwelcome InvadersWith the help of the cane toads and Puerto Rican crested toads at Sunset Zoo, the Pelican Pod will learn just how important it is to help protect an animal's home from invaders.
Dec. 22Animals Helping AnimalsAnimals can be helpful to people, and people can help animals.  However, did you know animals can help other animals?  The Pelican Pod will explore these important interactions.
Dec. 23Dusk to DawnWaking up starts the day, or night.  It all depends on your perspective.  In this session, the Pelican Pod will explore the actions of animals based on the time of day.  Are they resting, eating, playing, or doing something else?  We'll work to figure it all out.
Dec. 26From the Sky to the Ocean FloorAre you curious who is the highest flying animal?  What about the fish that can swim the deepest?  The Pelican Pod will explore these feats and many more.
Dec. 27Surviving the Changing SeasonsIn June, July, and August, we experienced 100+ degree temperatures.  This winter will be much different.  We can go inside, jump in a pool, bundle up, or sit by a fire to deal with the different seasons.  Join Sunset Zoo and the Pelican Pod to figure out how animals do it.
Dec. 28Animals Here & ThereAnimals are found across the world.  Some are very different from the ones in our backyard, but some are not so different.  The Pelican Pod will spend the day examining this diversity of life across Earth.
Dec. 29The Fastest Animals AroundAre you faster than a cheetah?  Can you jump like a leap like a leopard?  What about jump like a monkey?  Animals move in lots of different ways, so join the Pelican Pod to figure out which method and which animals are the fastest!
Dec. 30A Pelican Pod PartyIt's almost 2023!  How are you going to ring in the new year?  Why not start your celebration with your Pelican Pod friends at Sunset Zoo?  We'll celebrate the new year and help the animals celebrate all day long!
Jan. 2Sea CreaturesWhales, sharks, dolphins, fish and more.  Join Sunset Zoo staff and the Pelican Pod to explore these distant animals and how they survive in such a unique part of the world.
Jan. 3Extreme HabitatsExtreme habitats are found around the world.  Not just the bottom of the ocean, the deserts of the world, or the north and south poles.  The Pelican Pod will begin an exploration in how animals can survive in these various places.
Jan. 16Backyard CreaturesBackyards are full of areas where animals can live and meet their needs.  We can also do simple things to help.  The Pelican Pod will investigate backyard creatures and how we can help them thrive.