Become a Zoo Science Investigator

April 16, 2021

Become a Zoo Science Investigator

Does your child love animals? Nature? Science? Do they want to learn where the legends of mythical creatures came from? Join us this summer and become a Zoo Science Investigator. Campers will learn to be wildlife heroes and be ‘otter-ly’ amazed by the hidden secrets of nature! Virtual and in-person options are available for our 1-day camps while our 1-week camp offerings are in-person only. Each camp theme is offered once for rising 1st-3rd graders and once for rising 4th-6th graders. Explore the themes below to see which ones might interest your future Zoo Science Investigator.

ZSI Camp Series

This 3-part series, trains campers to become ZSI agents! Although the series builds on knowledge and skills gained across each camp, each camp can stand alone. Join us for one or all three.

  • ZSI Animal Identification - Agents will learn to identify animal species and individuals by using techniques such as camera traps and photography. This skill is important for researchers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. 
  • ZSI Animal Behavior - Agents will use their knowledge of animal identification to observe animal behaviors and interactions. Do big cats really sleep all day, and do giraffes or elephants ever lay down? Find out with ZSI Part 2. 
  • ZSI Crime Scene - Campers will use their identification and observation skills to investigate wildlife “crime” scenes! Reason through the facts and find out what types of animals were involved.


Living Legends

Investigate the tales of ancient times and how legendary creatures live on today in the wildlife we know and love. Find out how much truth is in these tales and where you can find living dragons and unicorns! 


See the world through the eyes of an animal! Investigate just what makes a bird’s vision so special, or why some animals have spots and not stripes. We will compare our human vision with that of other animals to see how colors work together for camouflage to help animals survive. 

Creature Challenge - Campers vs. Critters (In-person only)

This weeklong camp will have our agents doing scientific investigations into the many strengths and skills found in the animal kingdom! Bring your running shoes and make sure to stretch as we test your speed, agility, and many other traits to see if you have what it takes to compete with animals in the wild. Who knows we may even have a chess or puzzle competition to test your mind against that of an elephant! 

Keeper for a Week (In-person only)

A good keeper knows there are many parts to making sure animals are well cared for. Come investigate the differences and similarities of pet ownership and zookeeping. Size is not as important as you might think! 

In addition, to our day camps we offer our Wild Animal Science camp, an overnight experience, for middle and high school students. To learn more about any of our camps visit - We hope to see you this summer at the North Carolina Zoo.

Making Camp More Accessible

Many people don’t realize that the North Carolina Zoo is a part of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. We are a state agency. As a state agency we are here to serve everyone in North Carolina. This includes people who are not able to visit the Zoo for a variety of reasons (e.g., distance, medical, expense, and many others). Over the past year we have made an effort to reach new audiences by offering a variety of free and virtual programs. We were astounded to see the impact we could have 

One of the positive outcomes for the North Carolina Zoo last summer during COVID-19 was learning how to reach new summer camp audiences. The Zoo has offered in-person camps for a number of years, but we are not in the easiest of locations for many people to get to for a traditional weeklong or multi-week camp. Which is why we have a more non-traditional model of 1-day camps offered throughout the summer. This allows campers to come in from further away and experience the fun and excitement of camp at the Zoo.