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Camps that connect kids to nature!

Through exploration, experimentation, and experiences outdoors the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History hopes to inspire future scientists during our weekly day camps. 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.


Summer Camp:

$275 General 
$25 Off for Museum Members (Family and above)
$20 Off for Multiple Registrations

Price includes materials

**Nature Explorers camps will run in compliance with state and county guidance for health and safety. Registration will close 2 weeks prior to each camp for health screenings**

Jump To: Ages 5-7 | Ages 8-9 | Ages 10-11 | FAQs

Summer Camp: Ages 5-7

Santa Cruz Safari
June 21 – 25

CAMP FULL

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering K – 2nd Grade (ages 5-7)

Description:
Calling young explorers and scientists curious about nature! The Museum invites you to join us for Santa Cruz Safari camp. This summer, young naturalists will join us on a journey to investigate the wildlife of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Coast. Campers spend the week exploring nearby beach, creek, and garden habitats, and learning about the wild world of animals around us.

Can You Dig It?
June 28 – July 2

CAMP FULL

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering K – 2nd Grade (ages 5-7)

Description:
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 by exploring the many surprising things you can learn from digging into the ground. Our experienced staff will promote meaningful experiences in nature and positive social interactions as we set out on exploratory expeditions. Each day will involve outdoor nature exploration, hands on learning, and related games and crafts.

Wild World of Santa Cruz
July 5 – 9

CAMP FULL

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering K – 2nd Grade (ages 5-7)

Description:
Have you ever noticed how places in nature around Santa Cruz are different from each other? This summer, young adventurers can join us to explore the habitats of Santa Cruz. Campers will go on walking field trips to explore nearby river and beach habitats, learn about how living things survive, build crafts, play games, and make new friends.

Summer Camp: Ages 8-9

Magnificent Museum
July 12 – 16

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering 3rd – 4th Grade (ages 8-9)

Description:
Are you curious about curating? Join the Museum this summer to learn about the natural world by studying museum specimens, exploring outdoors, and building a museum collection of your own. Campers will build friendships while investigating nature, playing games, and creating awesome crafts! The week will lead up to an Open House to showcase all the interesting discoveries made at camp with museum displays and art made by all of the campers.

Art and Science in Nature
July 19 – 23

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering 3rd – 4th Grade (ages 8-9)

Description:
Calling budding artists and scientists curious about nature! The Museum is proud to present this camp all about the connections between nature and art. Join us on a journey to investigate symmetries, patterns, and curiosities in the natural world. Spend the week exploring nearby beach, creek, and garden habitats, and making all sorts of art inspired by what we discover. Observe, explore, and appreciate the wonders of the natural world here in our backyard as well as in the Museum’s collection. 

CAMP FULL

Summer Camp: Ages 10-11

Biomimicry
July 26 – 30

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering 5th – 6th Grade (ages 10-11)

Description:
Biomimicry is an engineering concept that uses ideas from nature to create sustainable solutions. Spend the week exploring and drawing inspiration from nature to solve design challenges and engineer their own solutions to help humans live more sustainably on Earth. Each day will focus on a different theme that will guide a variety of projects, science investigations, explorations, and games. The week leads up to completing an engineering project and an Open House to showcase all the interesting discoveries made at camp.

Budding Naturalists
Aug 2 – 6

Times: Drop-off 8:30 – 9 am | Pick-up 3 – 3:30 pm
Grades:
Entering 5th – 6th Grade (ages 10-11)

Description:
Have you ever wondered how some people know so much about nature? The Museum presents this camp where young adventurers 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.

Camp Details

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.

Discounts

To receive your Member Discount when registering, please sign in to the ticketing site. After registering for your first camp you will receive a discount code via email which you can apply to another registration.

Special Precautions

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: 

  • Campers will be outdoors for activities during the Museum’s open hours from 11-3. Our Friday Open House will only be open to campers and one of their adults.
  • Groups are limited to 10 campers, 2 instructors and an additional supervisor.
  • 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 and campers are required to wear facial masks.
  • Additional guidelines for drop-off and pick-up will be outlined for camp families. 
  • Campers will need to complete at-home health screenings two weeks prior to the start of their camp.

Cancellation Policy

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  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? All field trips are all within walking distance. Previous field trips have been modified to eliminate the need for transportation. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. How can I learn more details about the camp schedule? You will receive your “Camp Handbook” two weeks in advance of camp with more detailed information about field trips, daily themes, and what to bring.

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.

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