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.
**Nature Explorers camps will run in compliance with state and county guidance for health and safety. See below for more details.**
Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades: Campers entering K-6th grade
Prices (includes materials and daily snacks): $295* non-members | $275 Family membership and up | Siblings get $20 off
Ratio: 10 : 2
Entering grades K-2 (age 5-7)
“Santa Cruz Safari” June 29 – July 3
Young naturalists join us on a journey to investigate the wildlife and habitats of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Coast. Spend the week exploring nearby beach, creek, and garden habitats, and learning about the wild world around us. CLICK HERE to learn more and to enroll.
“Magnificent Museum” July 6-10
Are you curious about collecting? We invite you to join us this summer to learn about the natural world by studying museum specimens, exploring outdoors, and building a museum exhibit of your own. CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll.
“Nature Detectives” July 13-17 – Capacity FULL
Are you a super sleuth when it comes to nature? Join us this summer to solve puzzles and mysteries of the natural world. Campers will investigate phenomena and collect evidence to draw conclusions about the natural world around us while playing fun games and making great crafts and friends. CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll.
Entering grades 3-4 (age 8-9)
“Surviving Santa Cruz” July 20-24
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be able to live here in Santa Cruz? Join us as we investigate the plants and animals that call Santa Cruz home and learn how they manage to survive and thrive here. Campers will go on walking field trips to explore nearby habitats, build crafts, play games, and make new friends. CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll.
“Budding Naturalists” August 3-7
Have you ever wondered how some people know so much about nature? The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History presents Budding Naturalists camp, a camp where young adventurers (entering 3rd-4th Grade) can join us on a journey to learn the skills that naturalists use to study plants, animals, rocks, fossils, and more. Campers will become more observant of the processes of nature around them and deepen their appreciation for the natural world. CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll.
Entering grades 5-6 (Age 10-11)
“Biomimicry Camp” July 27 – 31
Explore sustainable solutions by finding inspiration in nature! Campers will spend the week navigating challenges and engineering solutions that promote sustainable living. We’ll build connections to nature and practice stewardship for our future! This camp will include walking field trips to nearby natural spaces! CLICK HERE to learn more and enroll.
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.
The health and safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance. We have made adjustments to camp activities and procedures to meet or exceed guidelines by the county and state, including but not limited to:
- The Museum will remain closed to the public for the duration of camp.
- Only camp staff will be on site during camp (two instructors plus an additional supervisor).
- Groups are limited to 10 campers.
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted daily.
- Campers will have their own set of “exploration tools”, including art supplies, binoculars, hand lenses, bug boxes and other supplies that will be used exclusively by them for the whole week.
- Any shared items will be sanitized between use.
- Staff will wear facial masks at all times.
- Additional guidelines for drop-off and pick-up will be outlined for camp families.
All cancellations will incur a $15 processing fee. We recognize the unprecedented challenges to families at this time, and are waiving our policy that cancellations within 2 weeks of camp are non-refundable. If your child must stop attendance because they or someone that they have come into contact with feels ill, you will be refunded a pro-rated amount. We do not want financial considerations to interfere with making healthy decisions for your family.
If the Museum cancels camp before it begins, you will receive a full refund. If camp must be cancelled after beginning, you will receive a pro-rated refund.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What should my camper bring every day? Please send your camper with: LUNCH AND SNACKS, 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.
- Does the Museum provide lunch? The Museum DOES NOT provide lunch. To reduce unnecessary exposure we will no longer offer snacks. Please provide your own snacks–there will be a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break every day.
- 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.
- 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.
- How will campers get to the field trip sites? All field trips are all within walking distance. Previous field trips have been modified to eliminate the need for transportation.
- Who are the camp staff? This camp has been developed by the Museum’s education team. The lead instructor is an experienced educator, camp leader, and environmental scientist. He is accompanied by other education staff and volunteers. All staff and volunteers have passed background checks. Staff are all CPR and First Aid certified.
- Is there a 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org The artwork on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.