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Member Matters: Camp counts for little ones

Membership means a discount on the Zoo's popular summer camp

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Ready to get the kids out of the house yet? I am!

Don’t get me wrong, we love the winter. We ski, the boys sled at their elementary school and we take winter hikes at our local Metroparks. But by February, even the most cold-content family is dreaming of warm weather.

Before you know it, summer will be here, and now is the time to think about camps, clubs and activities that will help your little ones (or not-so-little ones) learn and explore during their time away from school. In fact many summer camps, including the Zoo’s, are already open for registration. Kids ages 5 to 14 can attend half or full day camp, which runs each week of the summer. The curriculum utilizes all areas of the Zoo, so be prepared for your child to be outside and on the move, seeing animals, playing games and learning.

With a focus on conservation, campers will come home with minds full of more than just how cool it is to see an elephant up close. (Although there are special get-close animal encounters and plenty of animal observations each day.)

Each week has a theme, and each theme drives home the need for us all to conserve and protect our natural world. This year’s themes include Conservation for ages 5 and 6, with lessons on why sustainability is important to animals in the wild and what we can do to live more responsibly. Ages 9 and 10 could attend a week on “Zoo Scene Investigators: Food Webs” that explore animal mysteries each day.

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“Experiences in early childhood begin to chart a path for an individual’s responses throughout life,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Education Manager Christine Korhnak. “Hearing about the Zoo's conservation work, early and often, in a fun setting makes that a more enduring message.”

And, of course, the Zoo works hard to achieve that “fun setting,” too. Teen camp counselors play games, sing and schedule free time throughout the day to keep the little ones engaged and laughing. The oldest campers – “Counselor in Training” ages 13 and 14 – do team-building exercises and challenge activities.

When winter weather gets too much, log on ClevelandMetroparks.com/Zoo/Learn and register for summer fun. Members receive a discount on all camps!

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