Nature Explorers Camps

Camps that connect kids to nature!

Through exploration, experimentation, and experiences outdoors the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History hopes to inspire future scientists. Join us to discover a passion for nature, learning, and community.

All Nature Explorers camps connect campers to their environment in fun and exciting ways that engage their natural sense of curiosity while supporting academic success.
We have opportunities for campers entering Kindergarten-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade


Spring Camp: Santa Cruz from Top to Bottom
April 3-7  |  
Grades 3-5
Santa Cruz from Top to Bottom explores the unique ecosystems of our region, focusing on how each connects to the others (and to us) through water! Hike through local redwood, wetland, and sandy beach habitats, develop the skills of a naturalist and connect to the natural world.    |    CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll!


Summer Camp: Winged and Wild
July 10-14  |  Grades K – 2  

July 31-August 4  | Grades 3 – 5

Fascinated by falcons? Psyched about Spiders? Grab your hand lenses and binoculars as we uncover the world of the winged and the wild! We will examine intriguing insects and discover a diversity of birds on a weeklong expedition through different local habitats. Everyone will make new friends (and discoveries) as they hike, investigate, build, and play games centered on the birds, bugs, and blossoms of Santa Cruz!    |    CLICK HERE to learn more and ENROLL!

Summer Camp: Can You Dig It?
July 17-21  |  Grades K – 2
July 24-28  | Grades 3 – 5

Are you a fossil forager, a dinosaur discoverer, or a rock wrangler?  Join the Museum as we unearth the fossils, rocks, and ancient history of Santa Cruz! We will spend a week exploring the many surprising things you can learn from digging into the ground. Campers will build friendships while investigating artifacts, dissecting fossils, playing games, and building awesome crafts!    |    CLICK HERE to learn more and ENROLL!

Cabrillo Extension Camp: Future Scientists
June 26-30 | Grades 3 – 5

Explore the interesting things you could study as a scientist! Campers spend five days immersed in the science of nature, developing the skills of a naturalist and building a connection to nature through scientific curiosity! Each day we explore different fields of science through investigations, hands-on learning experiences, games, and crafts. This week-long camp will be held at Cabrillo Extension in Watsonville for half-days each afternoon. MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON.

Camp Scholarships

The Scholarship Fund is made possible by generous donations by members of the community. We hope to reduce barriers to enriching experiences such as our science camps for families in our community who would otherwise not be able to afford such opportunities. CLICK HERE to apply for a camp scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What should my camper bring every day?
    Please send your camper with: LUNCH, layers, clothes that can get dirty during exploration, sturdy closed-toe shoes (no flip flops!), water bottle, hat/sun protection, medicine (see below). Please label your camper’s belongings so we can help them keep track of their things.
  2. Does the Museum provide lunch?
    The Museum DOES NOT provide lunch. We will offer a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. Please provide a snack if your child prefers something specific.
  3. Should my camper bring medicine?
    If your camper needs to take medication during the day, please make sure that they have it with them including instructions that they can follow. Alert staff that your child has these. The Museum does not provide or administer medication of any kind.
  4. What if my camper has allergies?
    Please indicate your camper’s allergies and their severity (touch, inhalation, ingestion) upon registration. Include in your child’s daily pack any emergency medication as needed (anti-histamine, epi-pen, etc.) with clear instructions detailing symptoms and your preferred plan of action and doctor’s contact information.

    We may ask that all campers and staff restrict what they bring to camp if we find that we are unable to otherwise provide a safe environment according to the severity of a camper’s allergy.
  5. How will campers get to the field trip sites?
    The Museum will provide safe transportation to each site. We are fully insured to transport students and our instructors have impeccable driving records. Campers will wear seat belts at all times.
  6. Who are the camp staff?
    This camp has been developed by the Museum’s education team. This includes Education Manager, Felicia Van Stolk, who has a decade of experience leading and managing educational programs, including science camps. The lead instructor,  Ariel Hunter, is an experienced educator, camp leader, and environmental scientist. She is accompanied by other education staff and volunteers. All staff and volunteers have passed background checks. Staff are all CPR and First Aid certified. 
  7. Is there as Scholarship Fund?
    Yes! We welcome donations to support the scholarship fund. We offer full and partial scholarships to support families with demonstrated financial need. CLICK HERE to apply for a scholarship

This is the first time that the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is offering camps of this kind. Your feedback about the website, registration system, and camp are greatly appreciated. The Museum’s education staff has years of experience in environmental education, outdoor learning, and running camps at various outfits across the state and are eager to share their passion for the environment with your family. Feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, or questions with education@santacruzmuseum.org