Camp counselors and Junior Zookeepers like these at Chehaw’s Jumanji Camp will also be assisting at the park’s new Night Crawlers Camp which starts next week. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
Jumanji Camp at Chehaw
As part of Jumanji Camp, happening this week at Chehaw, Education Assistant Morgan Phillips talks with a group of campers about Jabba, an African Bullfrog that lives at the park.
ALBANY — This summer educators and counselors at Albany’s Chehaw animal park are hoping to give area kids a glimpse into the park’s nightlife at this year’s new Night Crawlers Camp.
Each summer the park hosts a variety of camps designed to give area children something educational and fun to do while out for summer break.
This year, folks at Chehaw are offering the Night Crawlers Camp in hopes of adding yet another wrinkle to the park’s extensive camp programs.
“We try to offer different things that kids can enjoy,” said Jackie Entz, Education Coordinator for the park. “There’s so many animals at the park that are nocturnal and this camp gives kids a chance to see what those animals are up to after the park closes for the day.”
The camp runs from Monday, July 21, through Thursday, July 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Participants will get the opportunity to learn about the habits and diets of nocturnal animals and see what goes on behind the scenes when the park closes for the day.
Entz said each night of the camp will feature something different and campers who attend will also be treated to fun meals based on themes related to what they are learning about.
For example, one night campers will picnic by the wolf exhibit and have a “Howl at the Moonpie” meal while learning about what wolves eat and what they do during the night hours when they are typically more active.
Entz said another night the campers will get to enjoy “gator nuggets” (really chicken) while learning about alligators and watching a night time feeding, which is when the amphibians usually eat when in the wild.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Entz. “I went to night camps when I was a kid and I thought since we had the facilities to handle it we should do that here. There’s so much to learn about nocturnal animals.
“The first night we’re going to learn about bio-luminesence so we’ll talk about jelly fish and fire flies and play with glow sticks. Another night we’ll do “Howl at the Moon” night and learn about wolves. There will also be night time alligator feedings, which should be really cool. We’ll learn about frog calls and owls and use our senses, like the senses the animals use.”
Throughout the summer Chehaw hosts nine weeks of different camp experiences for kids of all ages through a variety of different camps such as the Zoo Keepers 101 Camp for kids 13 and up who want to become junior zookeepers, the Little Buggers Camp for pre-school aged kids that runs for half days, and the new Night Crawlers Camp.
“It’s neat to see all these kids come through the camps,” said Entz. “We host about 230 campers every year and about 20 kids on a daily basis. Some of the kids come every year, so I’ve enjoyed watching them come back through and kind of grow up and become Junior Zookeepers and help run the camps.”
The Junior Zookeeper volunteers and park staffers run each camp and make sure all the kids are learning, having fun and staying safe.
Anyone interesting in signing up for the Night Crawlers Camp can do so through Chehaw’s website www.chehaw.org or by calling the education office at (229) 430-3012. The cost for the four-night camp is $70 and members will receive a $10 discount. Dinner is also included.
Chewhaw is also hosting the final week of its Jumanji Camp, its Reptile Camp and its Zoo Keepers 101 Camp the final week of July. Anyone interested in those camps can also visit the park’s website or call the education office.