NewsOmaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium


Zoo sees success with virtual day camps, opening in-person classes soon

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-20 03:11:57-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For several summers, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has invited children and teens to take part in its educational day camps.

This year because of the ongoing pandemic, the program is taking its lessons online.

“All the activities that we would normally do here at the zoo, we’re trying to replicate through the virtual programming," said Elizabeth Mulkerrin, Vice President of Education. "Even the tours on zoo grounds, we have our keepers that are coming in virtually and talking to the kids showing the kids the animals like how to maintain, and then we have them doing activities at home.”

And while they may be teaching through a screen, the educators work hard to keep students engaged.

Though they can’t be in the classroom just yet, the use of virtual classrooms is opening the day camps to people who may not be able to attend.

“Our virtual camps have gone international," Mulkerrin said. "So we’ve had students from England, we’ve had students from Puerto Rico Argentina, Canada and then all over the U.S.”

Because of the great response online, the zoo has decided to continue offering virtual programs beyond the pandemic for those who live far away or cannot be present because of medical conditions.

The zoo’s educational department is slowly opening up more in-person opportunities. On June 28 students will be able to come into the classroom once again.

“We will have live camps going on with students here at the zoo," Mulkerrin said. "Along with virtual camps for the families that still don’t feel comfortable with traveling and going outdoors.”

You can read more about the zoos programs on their website.