Virtual Summer Safari

Program Description


This exciting new program brings the Zoo right into your living room! Join us for a virtual safari where we will sing silly songs, play games, make crafts, meet live animals, do some wild experiments and so much more. Along with our daily animal visitors, each week includes a visit from one extra special animal and their keeper. Virtual Summer Safari also provides opportunities to explore areas of the Zoo we can’t normally access as a guest. Safari groups are limited to just 15 participants each! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for your child(ren) to be actively engaged in fun and learning and make some new friends this summer!

Don’t forget! Since our Summer Safari is virtual, that means kids can join us from anywhere in the country! Do you have special friends or cousins who live out-of-state? Now you can take a virtual safari together!

Program Details


AM Sessions (9-11 a.m. ET): ages 5-8
PM Sessions (1-3 p.m. ET): ages 9-12


Days: Monday through Friday
Dates: July 6 – August 21, 2020
Times: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (ET) OR 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Options to sign up by the day or by the week!


Members: $22/day or $100/week
Non-Members: $24/day or $110/week
Group Size: 15 children in each session.

We require a minimum of 5 participants in order to run a Safari group. If group registration is less than 5, families will be contacted and given the opportunity to either switch to a different group or receive a full refund.

Complete the online registration application indicating whether you are registering for one week or more. Be sure to indicate all of your choices.

CANCELLATION – requests must be made in writing at least three (3) weeks prior to the start of Virtual Summer Safari in order to receive a refund. All refunds will be assessed one administrative charge of $25.00. Fees will NOT be refunded for any reason after the first day of Virtual Summer Safari.


Big Blue Planet
Week 1: July 6-10 and Week 4: July 27-31
Whether as oceans, lakes, rivers, or just a backyard pond, water is everywhere and with it we find an amazing array of water-loving animals. Spend a wild and wet week exploring the watery habitats that many of our Zoo animals call home.

Amazing Race
Week 2: July 13-17 and Week 5: August 3-7
Each day we will delve into the world of animals from a specific country or habitat and then complete a special challenge in order to move on with the rest of the day’s activities.

You Run the Zoo
Week 3: July 20-24 and Week 6: August 10-14
Taking care of the animals at the Zoo doesn’t just mean feeding and watering them. Discover what it takes to recreate the habitats of some of our favorite animals and learn how to keep your animals at home (inside or out) happy and healthy by creating special toys and treats to give them.

Week 7 only: August 17-21
This week we are mixing things up and exploring a different topic each day!

Monday: Put Your Best Foot Forward We’ll keep you on your toes as we explore spectacular animal feet made for running, climbing, swimming, jumping and staying atop the snow.

Tuesday: Climb Every Mountain Discover some of the common and not-so-common creatures that call the rocky terrain of the world’s mountains their home.

Wednesday: Repeat After Me These animals make a real impression! Meet talented mimics who fool the world into thinking they are someone or something else through clever camouflage, sounds, and movement.

Thursday: Winging It Take to the skies with animals that fly and glide through life on wings large and small. We’ll examine flying birds, insects, and mammals as well as a few surprising airborne friends from the aquatic world.

Friday: Actual Size Ever wonder how you measure up to the animals at the Zoo? During this workshop we’ll get the chance to compare ourselves to some of the Zoo’s most popular residents.

To provide a stimulating environment for participants, we recommend that children avoid repeating weeks. The curriculum and activities for those weeks will be identical.


Can siblings attend together even if they are different ages?
Yes! Explorer groups at Virtual Summer Safari are based on the age your child will be while attending. You are welcome to register your child(ren) for either session, just know that the material will be gauged for the age groups listed and will not be modified for children who are either older or younger than the group they have registered for.

What will be new and different in this program?
Having small groups for the summer and working virtually gives us the opportunity to take kids to areas of the Zoo they can’t see as a guest. We will also be doing experiments and activities specifically designed to use items commonly found in your home. (Supply lists will be sent out in advance of Safari weeks so families can make sure they have everything they need.) Participants will have optional activities to work on outside of the online Safari hours and opportunities to share what they have done with each other within the virtual program space.

Sample schedule for a session of Virtual Summer Safari:

9:00 Welcome/Greetings
9:05 Sing Silly Songs
9:15 Lesson of the Day
9:35 Games – Get up and move!
9:50 Snack Time (Social time)
10:05 Real-time Zoo tour
10:20 Craft/Experiment time
10:40 Live animal guests
11:00 Goodbye! See you tomorrow!

One of the great things about our new Virtual Summer Safari is that we have a lot of flexibility with our daily schedules. If kids are really invested in a particular activity it may last longer and others may be shortened, and vice versa. Plus, we have lots of opportunities to add things to the schedule if/when special opportunities with animals and other activities arise.

How big are the groups? What about teachers?
Groups will be a maximum of 15 children each with only one morning group and one afternoon group each day. Each group will have two main teachers – two of our full-time educators – plus one additional staff member to jump in for special activities and run the technical side of our safari.

Do I need to be in the room with my child while they are on Safari?
No. Parents/Guardians will need to be there at the beginning of each session to virtually check-in participants and make sure they are set for the day. Once the safari begins parents don’t need to hang around, but should remain in the vicinity for general supervision.

Will my child just be sitting for the two hours every day?
Absolutely not! We will start each day by getting out of our seats and singing our favorite (active) silly songs. During each session we will also play games, do experiments, and have other activities that get your kids up and out of their chairs.

Will you send us craft materials, or do we have to go out and buy them?
We are working to enable everyone to make the program crafts from everyday objects and items found within their homes. For many of the crafts, different craft elements will have supply options depending on what you have available in your house. When you register you will receive a list of craft supplies with your confirmation, but if you want to start gathering things now or even just make a great box of craft supplies to experiment with at home, we’ve prepared a list for you HERE.

How will you make sure my children are safe in the virtual environment?
Along with our two dedicated teachers we will always have a third staff member who helps monitor the sessions and can act quickly if any inappropriate situations arise within the virtual environment. Parents should also read the internet safety tips which will be included with their confirmation, and make sure their children are aware of how to protect their privacy when online and understand proper online etiquette for virtual programs.

Are scholarships available for Virtual Summer Safari?
Yes! We have scholarships available for this great new program. The Children’s Foundation of Erie County has been very generous in supplying scholarship funds for the summer. We will be accepting applications for scholarships for the duration of the summer, or until the funds are depleted. To apply for a scholarship simply click the SCHOLARSHIP button (above right) to access the application. You can mail or fax the application by following the included instructions.

Any additional questions or information should be directed to the Education Department at (716) 995-6128.




Registration Info

  • $22 per child One Day Enrollment (Member)
  • $24 per child One Day Enrollment (Non-member)
  • $100 per child One Week Enrollment (Member)
  • $110 per child One Week Enrollment (Non-member)