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A camper interacts with a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the East Side Community Center in Portland Oregon Oregon Zoo/ photo by Carli Davidson

Beginning Feb. 11, kids ages 3 to 5 (and parents in some cases) can enjoy the Oregon Zoo’s newest camp offering: Critter Club.
“Preschoolers are natural explorers,” said Alison Heimowitz, the zoo’s school and teacher liaison. “And Critter Club taps into that proclivity in order to help cultivate the skills and passion that will shape tomorrow’s conservation leaders.”

Each three-day class — developed specifically for little ones and led by education professionals — features imaginative play, movement, storytelling and live animal interactions.

“What’s the Buzz?” focuses on bees, butterflies and other important pollinators. Kids explore the inside of a beehive (safely), build a “bee hotel,” dress up like bats, tour the zoo’s butterfly conservation lab, and plant native flowers for their own backyard or neighborhood.

For “Safari Adventure,” kids ride a magic Jeep to the savanna in search of African wildlife big and small. Campers can feed a giraffe, solve an animal mystery, touch a lion pelt, cast animal tracks and meet some African arthropods.
For more information or to register, visit oregonzoo.org/critter-club or call 503-220-5774.

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9:30 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit trimet.org for fare and route information.

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