Summer Animal Camp FAQ

1. Where is the Humane Education entrance?

The Humane Education entrance is located at 243 Alabama StreetThis is where camper drop-off and pick-up takes place. The San Francisco SPCA is located in the Mission District near the Potrero Shopping Center. Major cross-streets are 16th St and Alabama St.

2. What are the camp hours and camp fee?

Summer Animal Camp runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday and the camp fee is $425 per week. Extended care is available from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM for $75 per week.

3. What is the camper check-in process?

Parents/guardians are required to escort children into camp on Monday mornings. Please plan to arrive at 9:00 AM if you are not registered for extended care or 8:30 AM if you are registered for extended care.

If you are NOT already registered for extended care but wish to register on Monday morning, please bring payment (cash or check only) on Monday for us to process during check-in. We are not able to accommodate campers in the extended care program who are not registered for extended care.

We look forward to meeting you on the first morning to discuss how we can best support your child. We will also review who is authorized to pick your child up from camp, medication authorization and administration if applicable and answer any other questions you may have.

4. What is the process for picking up campers at the end of the day?

Note: Anyone who has not been authorized to pick up a camper will not be allowed to do so until we have cleared that person with the camper's parent or guardian. 

Camper pick-up takes place at the 243 Alabama Street entrance. Parents or guardians must sign each camper out at 4:00 PM. Campers registered for extended care must be signed out no later than 5:30 PM. Please note: No campers may be picked up between 3:30-4:00. This time is reserved for check-out preparation and accounting for all campers attending camp. If you need to pick up your camper(s) early, please communicate that to staff ahead of time and plan on picking up your camper(s) before we prepare for check-out at 3:30.

If you arrive late, you may call our camp cell phone at 415-760-2573. A penalty late fee may be assessed if you are late. Please ensure that your child has all of his or her belongings before leaving.

5. What items should campers bring to summer animal camp each day?

  • A large, labeled bottle of water
  • A hearty, nutritious lunch and morning snack 
  • Layers of clothing for indoor and outdoor activities or foggy/cold weather
  • Closed-toed shoes for walking and working with animals
  • Sunscreen and/or a hat
  • Medications (labeled, with a signed letter regarding how and when to dispense them)

6. What items should NOT be brought to summer animal camp?

  • Electronic toys, mp3 players or video game devices
  • Heely's (shoes with wheels on the sole)
  • Open-toed or slip-on shoes
  • Personal pets
  • Umbrellas
  • Knives or other weapons

7. What is the difference between RED and BLUE weeks?

This summer we are excited to offer dual curriculum to accommodate campers who may be joining us for more than one week of camp. The lessons, games, crafts, and activities included in the Summer Animal Camp curriculum will differ depending on the type of week you register for. Campers will be visiting all the same animals whether they are registered for a RED or BLUE week. Already signed up for a RED week? Why not join us for a BLUE week, too!

8. What is extended care?

Extended care is supervised play designed to accommodate working parents or guardians who need additional time to pick their children up from camp. Extended care is available between 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM for a weekly fee of $75 per child.

Extended care takes place in one of the Humane Education classrooms, where campers may watch movies, play games or draw and color. If your child is participating in extended care, please alert us when you have arrived by calling our cell phone number at the 243 Alabama Street entrance.

You may register for extended care when you register for summer animal camp online. You may also bring payment (cash or check only) for extended care on Monday morning when you drop off your child. We are not able to accommodate campers in the extended care program who are not registered for extended care.

9. Do you offer financial aid and scholarships?

Yes, financial aid and scholarships are available for qualified applicants. Please note that each child is eligible to receive financial aid for one session of camp per summer. The deadline for summer animal camp financial aid requests is May 1. Please click here for more information.

10. What is the cancellation and refund policy for Summer Animal Camp?

  • All cancellations must be in writing by email.
  • March 14th - April 30th a $25 administrative fee will be charged to any cancellations. 
  • After May 1st a $50 administrative fee will be charged to any cancellations.
  • Within 1 week of the start of the program, there will be NO REFUNDS for any cancellations or changes (extended care included).

11. My child has food allergies. What types of snacks and candy are provided at summer animal camp?

We are now a nut-free camp! We take food allergies very seriously and strive to serve healthy snacks that are free of the most common allergens (wheat gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish and shellfish). Snacks include baby carrots, oranges, apple slices, bananas and grapes. Water is available throughout the day.

12. What is included in the Summer Animal Camp curriculum?

The camp curriculum emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and the exchange of ideas with fellow campers. Campers are encouraged to find solutions to many of the challenges animals face. Animal camp sessions include age-appropriate animal care and behavior learning activities, team projects, games, physical activities, crafts and hands-on interactions with animals such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, reptiles, rabbits and more. The collaborative activities offered at animal camp are designed to encourage respect for all living things.

The Summer Animal Camp curriculum is designed as follows:


Grades 1-2: Kind Kids

This exciting camp teaches young children about pets and being responsible pet guardians. Campers learn about proper pet care, animal needs, dog bite prevention and kindness for all living things. Most importantly, Kind Kids Camp includes an abundance of interactions with a variety of animals. The interactive, activity-based learning process helps campers make connections between animals and their own life experiences.


Grades 3-4: Pet Pals

This camp celebrates our relationship with animals, with a focus on how we can make animals feel safe and comfortable. Students have ample hands-on learning opportunities and will work with a variety of animals. This camp also features lots of age-appropriate games, physical activities and fun projects. Pet Pals Camp encourages respect and empathy for all living things through fun activities and plenty of animal interactions.


Grades 5-6: Furry Friends

This camp involves extended hands-on opportunities and collaborative activities designed to promote the next generation of animal friends. Each day there will be games and activities that relate to the care and responsibility of having a pet, including veterinary services and training. With a variety of animals, Furry Friends campers learn behavior and training tips, animal care and proper handling techniques.


Grades 7-8: Animal Advocates

This camp is for young animal advocates who wish to build on their training skills and increase their knowledge of animal welfare. Through interactive, hands-on lessons, campers will have the opportunity to explore animal-related careers, learn about animal welfare issues and spend time with an array of animals. As an added highlight, campers work with staff members from our animal hospital and spay-neuter clinic to learn about providing medical care for animals, including an option to observe an animal surgery.

13. How much time is spent directly with animals each day?

Approximately two hours per day. We have a limited number of animals with which our campers may interact, and they need time to relax and recuperate from the excitement of our hands-on sessions. Camper interactions with animals may include feeding, grooming, walking and cuddling.

Because it is ideal for puppies and kittens to be placed in homes as soon as they are healthy enough to leave the shelter, we cannot guarantee that they will be included in your child's camp session. We understand how important it is for our campers to socialize with puppies and kittens and we make every effort to include them in camp.

A note about animal safety: Campers interact only with animals that have been approved by SF SPCA animal welfare professionals. Campers do not interact with adoptable adult dogs in the shelter due to safety and liability restrictions. Instead, campers interact with dogs belonging to staff and volunteers, many of which are certified animal-assisted therapy dogs.

14. What is the camp discipline policy?

Disciplinary action may be taken if a camper displays behavior that disrupts the camp program. Examples of this behavior include inappropriate language, making fun of or insulting others, bullying, using profanity, harming or frightening the animals, physically harming others, not following directions or actions that make other campers feel uncomfortable.

Consequences for undesirable behavior:

  • First offense: Verbal warning from staff

  • Second offense: 10-minute time out; follow-up call to parent/guardian

  • Third offense: Discipline report filed; meeting with parent/guardian

  • Fourth offense: Removal from camp; no refund given

In the event of extreme infractions, the SF SPCA reserves the right to remove a camper from the program immediately without prior warnings.

Every effort is made to accommodate campers with special needs, including those with behavioral challenges. Parents or guardians of children who need special attention or have behavioral challenges must notify us of the issue in the "additional notes" section of the online registration form. Camp staff is trained to manage many common health and behavioral disorders.  However, campers with severe behavioral disorders that may continuously interfere with the camp program must have an aide present.

15. How can I contact camp personnel with questions?