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.
Times: Drop-off 8:30-9:00 am | Pick-up 3:00-3:30 pm
Price: $345 | $20 Sibling Discount | $20 Discount for Museum members (family level and above)
*Please note: the cost of camp includes a $100 non-refundable deposit . See our cancellation policies at the bottom of this page
Spring Camp | Grades K-2 (ages 5-7)
Nature Detectives Camp
Are you a super sleuth when it comes to nature? Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History to solve the 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.
Summer Camp | Grades K-2 (ages 5-7)
Santa Cruz Safari
Calling young explorers and scientists curious about nature! This summer, young naturalists 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?
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. Campers entering K-2nd grade will build friendships while investigating artifacts, studying fossils, playing games, and building awesome crafts! *NO CAMP JULY 4, PRORATED COST $275
Wild World of Santa Cruz
Have you ever noticed how places in nature around Santa Cruz are different from each other? In this camp young adventurers can join us on a journey to study the many incredible and interesting habitats you can find here. Campers will become more observant of the connections in nature around them and deepen their appreciation for the natural world.
Art and Science in Nature
Calling young artists and scientists curious about nature! This summer, young explorers can 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.
Do you love flipping rocks and logs and studying our invertebrate friends? This summer, young naturalists join us on a journey to investigate the animals of Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay that do not have a backbone, ranging from tiny creatures to some of the biggest in the world! Campers spend the week exploring nearby beach, creek, and garden habitats, and learning about the wide world of invertebrates around us.
Summer Camp | Grades 3-4 (ages 8-9)
Are you curious about curating? Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History 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!
Surviving Santa Cruz
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be able to live here in Santa Cruz? This summer, young adventurers can 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. *NO CAMP JULY 4, PRORATED COST $275
Art and Science in Nature
Calling budding artists and scientists curious about nature! 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.
July 29 – Aug 2
Are you a green thumb or a budding botanist? Join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for Bodacious Botany camp this summer to learn about the natural world by studying plants, trees, and much more. Campers will build friendships while investigating nature, playing games, and creating awesome crafts!
Summer Camp | Grades 5-6 (ages 10-11)
Biomimicry is an engineering concept that uses ideas from nature to create sustainable solutions. We invite kids to 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. The week leads up to completing an engineering project and an Open House to showcase all the interesting discoveries made at camp.
Elements of Nature
Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. These “ancient elements” of nature affect our lives every day and we invite kids entering 5th-6th grade to join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for Elements of Nature camp. These forces of nature shape everything in the world around us and kids will participate in a wide variety of projects, science investigations, explorations, and games.
Experiments in Nature
July 29 – Aug 2
Are you a future scientist? We invite kids to join the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for Experiments in Nature camp to perform experiments and studies in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, ocean studies, and climate science. Explore nature while learning more about how scientists study the natural world that surrounds us.
We accept scholarship requests beginning 1 month prior to registration opening, and will notify you of your acceptance before registration begins. If you are awarded a scholarship, it is your responsibility to register your camper using the link provided. CLICK HERE to learn more about 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. If you would like to donate to the camp scholarship fund, CLICK HERE to donate.
To receive your Member Discount (Family-level and above) when registering, please sign in to the ticketing site. Use the discount code Sib2023 when registering a sibling to receive $20 off.
Cancellation Policy – Updated Fall 2023
Nature Explorers Camp registration fee now includes a $100 non-refundable deposit. Cancellation requests received at least 30 days prior to the start of camp will receive a full refund, minus the $100 deposit. Cancellations within 2-4 weeks of the start date will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations within 2 weeks are non-refundable. Please contact education@
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. Please provide your own snacks–there will be a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break every day. Ensure that you pack enough food to fuel a fun and very active 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 within walking distance.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com.
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