Family Overnight Safari FAQs

Overnight Registration


What does the price of the overnight include?
The price of the overnight includes zoo admission, parking, camp site, educational activities, commemorative t-shirt, beverages, dessert, late-night snack and breakfast. IMPORTANT: The price listed is per person. ALL PARTICIPANTS (CHILDREN OR ADULTS) ARE THE SAME PRICE. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS. We will not accept payment for registration the day of the program, as many overnights sell out.

Why can’t children under 5 attend?
The Family Overnight Safari is designed for families with children 5 and older. Because of the program content and late activities, we cannot allow families with chidlren younger than 5 years old to attend.

I don’t have children. Can I still attend?
The Family Overnight Safari is designed for families with chidlren 5 and older, but we do allow adults (21 and older) to attend the event. Please note that overnights are alochol and drug-free events.

I don’t want to sleepover. Can the staff watch over my child so I do not have to attend?
The Family Overnight is designed as a family experience. Since staff will be busy leading activities, we cannot accommodate drop-off participants who are under 21 years of age.

What if I cannot arrive on time?
In order to pack as muhc fun as possible into one night, we must start on time! Check-in starts at 4:30pm and ends promptly at 5:30pm. If you aren’t able to arrive in that time slot, you need to contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the overnight to let us know. During the night of the overnight, if an emergency situtaion comes up and you’ll be arriving late, you need to call us no later than 5:30pm at 718-220-5132.

What if I need to leave early?
Please contact us no later than 2 weeks prior to the overnight if you need to leave early. This requires us to coordinate with Security since all parking lots will be closed. There will only be one opportunity to leave early on Saturday evening.

Can I get a refund if my child is sick and cannot attend the overnight?
Unfortunately, we cannot grant refunds if you or your child is not able to attend the overnight.

What are your cancellation, refund and dismissal policies?

  • There will be no refunds for withdrawals from programs made less than four weeks prior to the overnight start date. All cancellation requests must be made in writing either by email (bzeducation@wcs.org ) or fax (718-365-3300). A 50% refund will be provided upon receipt of a written cancellation if received 4 weeks in advance. There will be a $15 per person service charge for each change made to the original registration. Requests for changes to your registration cannot be made less than four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the program. If there is a wait list for the session that you are registered for and you’d like to cancel your spot, you are not guaranteed a 50% refund unless the spot can be filled.
  • There are no refunds if you or your child(ren) are sick and miss time during the program
  • If you are dismissed from overnight due to breaking any policies stated on the waiver, you will not be granted a refund and your family will not be allowed to participate in another overnight.
  • Parents and guardians are advised, prior to the overnight, to notify the Zoo if you need to leave early. Please call 718-220-5132 to do so.



Preparing for the Overnight


What do I need to do to prepare for the overnight?

  • Print out and complete the appropriate forms
    • Complete the Program Waiver
    • Print out the parking pass
  • Submit any requests to bzeducation@wcs.org.
    • If you will be attending late, leaving early or need to notify us of any special requests, please do so at least two weeks prior to the Overnight. We will not be able to accommodate requests received less than two weeks prior to the Overnight.
  • Practice setting up your tent – Since there will be limited time in which to set up tents, we recommend you practice before you arrive, especially if you have no previous experience setting up your tent.
  • Let us know about any special needs. If you or your child(ren) have special needs (dietary, allergy, behavioral, physical, etc) please notify us in advance. We want everyone to have the best experience possible and can only do so if we know the unique needs of our guests!

What should we bring?
Remember that you will need to transport your belongings between the parking lot and the entrance of the zoo, so please pack accordingly and label ALL gear.

  • Admission pass, parking pass and completed waiver.
  • Picnic dinner and utensils – we encourage you to bring food in reusable containers, but please note that we do not have facilities for washing dishes. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Do not bring hard-sided cooler or stoves. We will provide coffee, tea, soda and dessert at dinner, snacks later in the evening and breakfast on Sunday morning
  • Camping gear – Tent, hammer for stakes, sleeping bags, air mattress (with battery-run pump) or foam pad, pillow, flashlights with working batteries. Each family will need to fit their tent into a space of 12’ x 12’.
  • Basic Toiletries – Hand towels, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, comb, etc. Please pack in a carrying bag.
  • Clothing – rain gear, change of clothing (optional). Be advised that outside activities take place in any weather. Please dress accordingly.
  • Suggested Items – binoculars, camera, money for souvenirs, reusable water bottle, bug spray (seasonal)
  • Leave at Home – battery-operated games, radios, glowsticks and necklaces

Do you provide the camping equipment?
Participants are required to bring their own camping equipment.

Will the staff set up my tent for me?
Because of the large amount of overnight participants, staff cannot set up your gear for you. We strongly encourage practicing setting up your tent prior to the overnight.

How far do we have to carry our gear?
You’ll need to carry your gear to the Southern Blvd entrance. From that point, our staff will put your gear onto a cart and bring it to the camp site. Please make sure to label ALL gear with your first and last name so items aren’t mistaken by someone else. Make sure to keep it light. We suggest no more than one backpack and sleeping bag per guest.

Where will we be sleeping?
All program participants will be camping in Astor Court. Camp location sites are on a first come, first served basis.

What should we wear?
Comfortable clothes are a must. The program will run rain or shine, so make sure to bring a raincoat if rain is in the forecast. We also suggest warmer gear if needed for sleeping, as it gets cooler at night. Comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended since you will be doing a lot of walking as well.

What time does the program start?
Check-in begins at 4:30pm. Due to the zoo being open to the general public beforehand, we cannot permit access before that time. Check-in closes promptly at 5:30pm. It is essential that you let us know if you are going to be late, otherwise you will not be able to get into the zoo.

Which entrance should we use?
Guests must use the Southern Blvd entrance for the overnight.

  • If you are arriving by car, park in the north end of the Southern Boulevard parking lot and place enclosed parking permit on the driver’s side of the dashboard. Security will be provided for cars in this area. This will be the only parking lot available for overnight parking.
  • If you are arriving by public transportation, please enter through the Southern Boulevard pedestrian gate. For travel directions please visit: http://bronxzoo.com/plan-your-trip/directions.aspx.

What time does the overnight end?
By 7:15am on Sunday morning, all of your gear must be packed up and returned to your vehicle. You’ll be able to enjoy breakfast and some morning activities, and then we’ll say goodbye around 10am.




During the Program


What is the itinerary?
Below is a sample itinerary as activities and times are subject to change. When you check-in, you will receive a personal itinerary of all the activities planned. During dinner, you will be given additional information on how our family will proceed through the sequence of activities so you can get the most out of your experience.

Saturday Evening…
4:30-6:30pm Check-in , Tent Set-up, and Dinner
5:30pm Check-in Closes
6:30pm Welcome
6:45pm Station Activities Begin
9:45pm Snacks and Sing-Along
10:15pm Get ready for bed

Sunday Morning…
6:45am Wake up and Pack up*
7:15am Breakfast
8:00am Morning Activities
9:00am Select Exhibits Open
10:00am Goodbye!

*All gear must be loaded into your car before breakfast. Gear may not be stored in the Zoo after 7:15am and Zoo staff is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

How much time will we be spending at the camp site?
We will be spending a minimal amount of time at the camp site. Once your tent is set up, we’ll be going to the location for dinner, which will lead directly into activities until 9:45pm. Do not leave any valuables in your tent. The zoo is not responsible for any items that are lost or stolen during the overnight.

Are there showers? Will we have overnight access to a bathroom?
The closest bathrooms to the camp site are located at the Madagascar exhibit. There are toilets and sinks, but no showers available. The bathrooms will be open throughout the night.

Are there any outlets at the camp site?
There are not any outlets at the camp site. If you plan on bringing an air mattress, make sure to bring a battery-operated pump to inflate the mattress.

What about bad weather?
The overnight will take place rain or shine. Make sure to bring a tarp and rainfly for your tent if the forecast is for rain.

Are the zoo animals out for us to see?
Many animals go into their off-exhibit areas at night for their own comfort and safety. Some animals have the option of staying out or going inside their individual shelters for the same reason. We will schedule opportunities for animal encounters with our education collection, possibly an indoor exhibit visit, and don’t forget our local animals of the Bronx Zoo! Groups that remain quiet tend to see more animals. We guarantee that you won’t be able to miss our vocal sea lions near the camp site though!

It says we need to bring our own dinner. Is there a place to cook or heat things up?
You must provide your own food and utensils for your picnic dinner. Please bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked or heated. We encourage you to bring food in reusable containers, but please note that we do not have facilities for washing dishes. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Do not bring hard-sided cooler or stoves. We will provide coffee, tea, soda and dessert at dinner, snacks later in the evening and breakfast on Sunday morning.

Someone in my family has a food allergy. Should I let you know ahead of time?
Yes please. We make every effort to ensure that our snacks and breakfast do not contain nuts or nut products. However, if you have a child with severe allergies, we suggest that you bring a snack and breakfast item in a sealed lunch box or food container. Please let us know at least 2 weeks before the overnight if you have any other dietary needs, and we’ll do our best to accommodate the requests.

My friends have registered too. Can we be in a group together?
All families will be camping on Astor Court. You can also request that you be grouped with another family for station rotations. Such requests need to be made no later than 2 weeks in advance to bzeducation@wcs.org