USD 457’s winter break is approaching, and what better way to keep the first- through fifth-grade students in your life active than by registering them for Lee Richardson Zoo’s Winter Edventures?

This year, we’re offering two sessions. The first will run Thursday, Dec. 27, and Friday, Dec. 28, and the theme is “Living at the Extremes!” Campers will discover how animals survive the extreme ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. The second session will be held on Thursday, Jan. 3, and Friday, Jan. 4; “Tundra-tastic!” will test campers' survival instincts and show them that only the toughest endure the frozen tundra.

Each camp day will run from 8 a.m. to noon; registered campers will meet up at the Finnup Center for Conservation Education to begin their morning full of fun. A typical camp day involves unique activities, such as face-to-face encounters with animal ambassadors, fun activities, educational programs, learning opportunities with animal care staff, games, crafts, and don’t forget the snacks! Campers will also receive official LRZ Winter Edventure “swag” items, such as an embroidered scarf or beanie hat. Each camp is $40, or $35 for those with Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo memberships.

Campers registered in the Living at the Extremes session will learn about the special adaptations animals have that help them to survive some of the coldest temps on our planet. Blubber, for example, is a benefit to many animals in the Arctic. A thick layer of fat under the skin helps some animals, such as the walrus, stay warm. Walrus can have blubber almost two feet thick for warmth! Campers will also have fun creating their own penguin crafts while learning about animals that call the Antarctic home. Students will also play fun themed games and meet zoo animals that are adapted to thrive in cold temperatures.

Tundra is a type of biome (a distinct biological community that is specific to a shared physical climate) where plant growth is hindered by low temperatures and permanently frozen soil known as permafrost. For January’s Tundra-tastic themed camp, students will learn about the plants and animals that can survive in temperatures that go as low as minus-58 degrees Fahrenheit. Campers will also learn about survival techniques for extreme temperatures and learn if they have what it takes to survive in the tundra.

If you’re struggling to come up with a great gift for a kiddo in your life, consider gifting them the experience of a Winter Edventure at the zoo. Toys and clothes come in and out of fashion, but experiences and memories last a lifetime! For questions, more information, or to register, visit our website at, visit the Finnup Center for Conservation Education at 312 E. Finnup Drive, or contact education staff at (620) 276-1250 or We look forward to the fun!


Emilly Sexson is an education specialist at Lee Richardson Zoo.