An Educational Adventure at Wild Wonders Camp

by Tonya Staab

Wild Wonders in Bonsall California is a wonderful rescue for animals where kids can attend camp to care for the animals and learn from biologists, animal trainers, and life scientists.

For the longest time Marisol has talked about wanting to be a vet when she’s older … or work with animals … or be a hairdresser. The possibilities at this age are endless, but she truly is the most kindhearted little girl and has such a love for animals big and small. She never forgets to feed her fish, reminds me if the tank needs to be cleaned, and is happiest when she’s laying on the floor surrounded by our four-legged pets.

So I surprised her with a Jr Zoologist Camp at Wild Wonders this summer, where kids work in small groups with biologists, life scientists, animal trainers, and zoo keepers to learn more about the animals that live there. This is a hands-on experience so there is no walking around for half a day and seeing animals like you would at the zoo.

desert tortoise

The first stop for the day was to visit the desert tortoise. The kids were shown how to change their food, clean their enclosures (including pulling weeds), give the tortoise a bath, and fill their watering hole.

girl feeding salad to a desert tortoise

Each child in the group was given an assignment, and then turns were taken so that everyone had a chance to participate and learn what the staff does every day.

children cleaning the shell of a desert tortoise

From there it was off to play with and feed the armadillo. Marisol was a little too scared to touch them, but did love watching them eat their mealworms.

person holding an armadillo

an armadillo eating mealworms

And they met (and touched) the sweetest little sugar gliders and an albino hedgehog.

person holding an albino hedgehog

And then it was onto the hissing cockroaches and reptiles to clean out enclosures, touch them, and learn all about them.

person holding a red black and white snake

girl touching a python while a zoo keeper holds it

After a picnic lunch, the kids got into pairs and made gift bags for the foxes. They decorated the bags with markers, sprayed them with perfume, and filled them with items like dog toys, craisins, acacia plants and empty boxes to play with.

girl making a treat bag for foxes

And the best part was watching the foxes tearing into their presents and playing with them.

white fox playing with a dog toy

And then it was time to go and meet the rest of the animals at Wild Wonders, have a meet and greet with the kinkajou, and talk to the parrot.

I highly recommend this half day camp if you live in driving distance to Bonsall. It’s hands-on, educational, and so much fun for the kids.

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