Minnesota Zoo starts camp for autistic teens

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Zoo is offering a new summer camp program for teenagers with autism.

The St. Louis Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1sMztF5 ) the state-funded zoo partnered with the Autism Society of Minnesota to create the week-long camp. It’s one of 87 zoo programs offered during the summer.

The camp gives autistic teens a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo. They learn about animals’ environments and various zoo jobs by exploring enclosures and interacting with zookeepers.

An education and training specialist for the society says the camp gives teens a chance to practice social skills in a public setting. She says the camp drew students from across Minnesota and as far as Sweden.

About 4,000 people participate in zoo programs each summer.

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