Counselor in Training
If you are looking for something fun to do this summer, that will provide you with valuable career experience, then the Busch Gardens Counselor in Training program (CIT) is the summer camp program for you. This week-long program offers you a real opportunity to learn from the best. Our expert educators will share their experience and knowledge with you on topics from child development to zoo careers and environmental awareness. You’ll complete a specialized orientation and participate side by side with our camp counselors during our summer day camp programs. Application required.
After signing up for camp, you will receive an email from CampDoc.com within 48 hours. CampDoc.com is the leading electronic health record system for camps, where you can now complete your camper’s health information electronically.
For full details on CampDoc.com, please click here.
Day Camps Frequently Asked QuestionsExpand All
What do the camps include?
Day Camps include the following amenities:
- Daily lunches, snacks & drinks
- A Camp T-shirt and a water bottle
- A complimentary photo with a Busch Gardens animal ambassador
- Complimentary admission to Busch Gardens following camp each day for camper
Resident Camps include the following amenities:
- Transportation between Busch Gardens and Tampa International Airport (TPA)
- All meals and snacks
- Two camp t-shirts and a water bottle
- Housing at our secure, onsite dormitory, Mzinga Lodge
Who are the Busch Gardens Day and Resident Camp team members?
The Education Department at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has a year-round team of experienced camp personnel. The senior camp team has years of experience teaching students of all ages.
Our seasonal camp counselors are highly motivated, experienced college students that are carefully selected and background screened. Day camp counselors spend a full week training at Busch Gardens prior to campers’ arrival. Resident camp counselors spend two full weeks training at the zoo facility prior to campers’ arrival.
Our entire camp team trains and possesses First Aid, CPR, AED, Medication Administration, and reviews safe driving practices in the camp vehicles once they arrive at Busch Gardens.
The American Camp Association (ACA) accredits Busch Gardens Day Camp and Resident Camp, which exceeds ACA standards to ensure a safe and enjoyable camp experience for all. Busch Gardens follows ACA’s suggested guidelines for establishing the number of counselors necessary to oversee a day and resident camp groups. Camps for elementary, secondary, and college students are often on the premises at the same time and our properly trained team allow for a well-managed atmosphere when conducting these camps simultaneously.
Do campers have to participate in all activities?
We design events to be enjoyable and realize that sometimes the schedule includes something new for some participants. Everyone is encouraged to participate to the best of their ability during group activities.
Do I need to sign and send back all the registration forms and releases?
Yes. After registering for camp, you will receive an email from CampDoc.com within 48 hours where you can complete your camper's health forms electronically.
Note: Resident camps require a physical exam within 12 months of the camp start date. If you are utilizing a school or camp physical to meet the physical exam requirement, you will still need to have your physician sign the physical exam release that will be available for download on CampDoc.com
You will receive a vehicle pass which allows a chosen adult to both drop off and pick up your camper(s) from Busch Gardens. Be prepared for a random vehicle search when entering park premises. NO PETS are allowed on property, so please leave your pets at home.
What are some possible health concerns of the program and how can they be prevented?
Some participants will have the opportunity to ride roller coasters and other theme park rides on which they may experience high speeds and zero gravity. Campers will also be in close proximity to many species of animals where they may encounter the animals and associated dander, feathers, or food items. It is imperative to note any health issues or known food, animal or insect, and plant allergies on the Health History Form, and to elaborate on the severity of any condition or reaction on the Health History Form on your CampDoc.com profile.
NOTE: Some available food products may contain or have been processed in proximity to peanut and/or other allergenic ingredients. Please specify any dietary preferences, allergies and/or restrictions on the Health History Form on your CampDoc.com profile, and elaborate on the possible reaction if consumed or touched. While Day and Resident Camps can accommodate a simple vegetarian diet, please provide non-perishable supplements for more complex dietary needs or dietary restrictions.
While every zoo encounter is a controlled experience, the animal world is not totally predictable and a quill prick or unexpected nip is possible, although unlikely. Off-site, campers may accidentally contact jellyfish or stingrays if at the beach, or fall victim to mosquitoes, wasps, or fire ants almost anywhere. These Florida inhabitants can inflict bites or stings that are readily treatable with Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications. Be sure to review and sign the OTC Medications Release Form on your CampDoc.com profile. Busch Gardens staff CANNOT DISPENSE ANY MEDICATIONS WITHOUT PARENT/GUARDIAN PERMISSION.
Sun, heat, and humidity can be a dangerous mix in Florida. Participants should wear sunscreen (not provided) and protective clothing (e.g. light, cotton clothing, a hat, and sunglasses) and drink plenty of water to prevent sunburn and overheating.
Are there health concerns for which my child may be sent home?
Some skin conditions, respiratory ailments, and other diseases are highly contagious for people and animals. If a Health Services team member identifies your camper as being infectious, that he/she has an elevated temperature upon arrival, or exhibits signs of head lice, it will be necessary to send him/her home. Please evaluate any skin irritations or itching, or general health problems before coming to camp in order to avoid any inconvenience, expense, or disappointment.
Do I need to send over-the-counter medications
Health Services keeps the most common over-the-counter (OTC) medications on-hand for all of our park guests, including campers. It is not necessary to send any of these medicines to camp! Because we cannot dispense any medication without parental and/or physician authorization, please be sure to sign the OTC Medication Release Form on your CampDoc.com profile and note the available OTC medicines. For the safety of all campers, all medicines, OTC and/or prescription, are collected by Health Services upon arrival and dispensed as required.
What is the procedure in a medical emergency?
For all minor injuries and illnesses that occur at any of the parks, the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Health Services team is available. For minor injuries that occur off-site, counselors carry a first aid kit and AED, and are trained in basic First Aid, CPR, AED and Medication Administration.
For serious injuries and illnesses, participants will be transported to the closest hospital. The Florida Hospital Tampa is within two miles of Busch Gardens or Adventure Island, and Sand Lake Hospital is within three miles of SeaWorld Orlando. A Busch Gardens representative will contact you in case of an emergency. For your child’s safekeeping, it is required that all your medical consent to treat, medical history forms, and insurance information are complete and signed before registration is considered complete.
A Health Services team member stays onsite overnight throughout resident camps, and also travels offsite with the Wild Florida camp.
What happens during inclement weather?
Safety is a top priority at Busch Gardens. Camp management and counselors will balance the components of the program with the current weather conditions. Weather conditions are monitored closely by our Security Department and our enjoyment of the park elements is contingent upon the proximity and nature of weather factors such as lightning or high winds.
Rain and afternoon thunderstorms are common in Florida and may affect some camp activities. Our park observes strict weather protocols. When lightning has been spotted within 3 miles of our park, for everyone’s safety, guests and team members are required to seek shelter. Campers will be moved to the closest indoor location until the threat has passed.
If park security has called the severe weather code before or during camp dismissal, dismissal must be temporarily halted until the weather passes. This is for everyone’s safety. We ask that should you arrive at camp dismissal during bad weather and it appears that no staff is on hand immediately, we are following our security procedures and have everyone safely inside our classroom. We will resume check out once we are given the “all clear” from our security team.
During more severe weather, such as a hurricane, camp management will make a decision about canceling a Day Camp on a case-by-case basis. Camps are not canceled for rain. Once a Day Camp is canceled, it cannot be rescheduled for the original date even if the weather clears or other factors change. You will NOT receive a refund for missed days due to inclement weather. Parents/guardians will be contacted in a timely manner should such an event occur.
Most Resident Camp program components are not affected by wet weather. A camp supervisor will determine if any activities need to be postponed or canceled, and we may reschedule an event if the camp schedule allows. Indoor activities are planned if thunderstorms prevail.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are possible threats in Florida during June - November. If the Weather Service forecasts a potential threat to the Tampa Bay area, we will advise parents to begin seeking alternative transportation for participants to leave early. Camp staff will prepare stranded campers to ride out the storm. Attending counselors will stay at the Outpost Classroom, an on-site secure facility that is rated to withstand hurricane forces and is fitted with an emergency power generator. Camp staff will accompany any stranded special needs campers to the University of South Florida evacuation shelter designated by the Emergency Operations Center as a “special needs” facility.
What type of food is served during the program?
Busch Gardens provides all lunches throughout the course of the program with foods ranging from burgers to spaghetti. For our camps that include a sleepover, pizza is delivered in the evening and breakfast is continental style and includes juice, milk, cold cereals, bagels, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Busch Gardens provides all meals throughout the course of the program. Breakfast is continental style and includes juice, milk, cold cereals, bagels, yogurt, and fresh fruit. Most other meals are eaten at the park restaurants, with foods ranging from burgers to spaghetti to fajitas, and pizza is delivered one evening.
You may send non-perishable, individually sealed snacks such as cookies, crackers and granola bars. Counselors collect and store all food items upon arrival. To avoid attracting pests into the living areas of the dorm, campers may not store or eat foods in the bunk or locker room areas. Refrigerators are not available for personal food items unless you are providing special dietary needs for your child that need refrigeration.
NOTE: Some available food products may contain or have been processed in proximity to peanut and/or other allergenic ingredients. Please specify any dietary preferences, allergies and/or restrictions on the Health History Form on your CampDoc.com profile, and elaborate on the possible reaction if consumed. While camps can accommodate a simple vegetarian diet, please provide non-perishable supplements for more complex dietary needs.
May I pack a lunch for my child if he/she doesn’t like the daily menu selection?
Parents are free to pack a lunch for their camper(s) in day camps. Please leave the clearly labeled lunch container with a camp supervisor in the morning and we will deliver homemade lunches to campers at lunchtime. Do not pack perishable items as refrigeration is not available. Camp fees are not discounted if a camper brings his or her own lunch.
For resident campers, you may send non-perishable, individually sealed snacks such as cookies, crackers and granola bars. Counselors collect and store all food items upon arrival. To avoid attracting pests into the living areas of the dorm, campers may not store or eat foods in the bunk or locker room areas. Refrigerators are not available for personal food items unless you are providing special dietary needs for your child that need refrigeration.
Does Busch Gardens provide transportation throughout the program?
Busch Gardens provides transportation throughout the program in vans or chartered buses. Every day, camp team members review safe driving practices before driving any vehicle for camp and practice skills in the vehicles provided for camp.
What is the Busch Gardens Camps refund policy?
If written notice of cancellation is received more than SIX WEEKS prior to the session, 100% of the camp fee will be returned.
If written notice of cancellation is received between FOUR (4) TO SIX (6) WEEKS prior to the session, 50% of the camp fee will be returned.
If written notice of cancellation is received FOUR (4) WEEKS OR LESS prior to camp, the entire camp fee will be forfeit.
Rebooking into an open session within the same calendar year is an option. If a participant leaves camp early, or is dismissed, no refund will be given.
What photo opportunities will campers have?
Campers will have the ability to take photos park wide as a park guest, and in a few behind the scenes areas. We suggest they bring a camera to take their own photos throughout the week. For resident campers, we suggest they bring a camera, since cell phones are stored back at the dorm for safekeeping and to prevent any disruption of programming. There are certain ride and zoo back areas where cameras are prohibited and counselors will inform campers where they may or may not use cameras.
Additionally, Busch Gardens provides campers with an individual photo with an animal and a group photo as part of the camping experience.
How do I add the extended care add-on option for my camper(s)?
You may contact Education Reservations at 813-884-4FUN (4386) to add this option at any time. If your child is signed up for Extended Care, please pick them up for the Education Classroom located adjacent to the main pick-up area, before 6:00p.m.
Can my child stay in the park after camp unattended?
At the end of camp each day, we will only admit campers 14 years of age or older with written permission from a parent or legal guardian into the park. This benefit is provided at no extra charge, and does not include admission to other theme parks, or extend to other family members. Please provide a signed, dated note for each day you wish your 14-year-old or older child to enter the park after camp.
For those with younger campers, each day we will hand-stamp any day camper who plans on staying at Busch Gardens, so that they may re-enter the park with an adult who has purchased a park ticket after camp. This benefit is provided at no extra charge, and does not include admission to other theme parks, or extend to other family members.
When does my child get his/her t-shirt?
Campers receive their t-shirt during check-in on the first day of camp. Additional t-shirts are available for purchase during your child’s camp week for $10/each.
Will my child be able to shop?
Campers are provided with everything needed during their day at camp, including food and drinks. There will be no time to shop, so please do not send your child to camp with money. Busch Gardens is not responsible for lost money or valuables.
For more information about Busch Gardens Camps, please contact us at (813)884-4FUN (4386), Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If calling after hours, please leave a message and someone will return your call the next morning.