Parents of school-aged children (and younger) have a big job to do this rainy time of year. It’s summer camp planning time! And, with the later school start date, we have even more time to fill! We’re here to help inspire your search with suggestions for some great camps and classes for all types and tastes. Today we’re focusing on camps and classes for kids that love nature and animals.
Animal Rescue League of Iowa
Summer Rescuers Day Camp is for kids entering first through sixth grades. Campers learn about pet care and responsibility, respect for animals and careers with animals while enjoying animal related activities, special guest presentations, animal interactions, crafts, games and more. They will also be learning about barn animals by spending time the Second Chance Ranch.
Location: 5452 NE 22nd Street, Des Moines, IA.
Details: First and second graders attend camp Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 11:30 am or 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm for $115.00 per week. Third to sixth graders attend Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm for $230.00 per week. Visit ARL’s website to register.
Blank Park Zoo
The Blank Park Zoo offers a number of camps throughout the summer for kids ages three to sixth grade. The zoo’s weekly Safari Camps are a great way to experience animals and all the Zoo has to offer including science experiments, crafts, and so much more. Kids in seventh grade can attend a Junior Zookeeper or Animal Careers camp. Pre-registration is required for all classes and must be received at least seven days before class starts.
Location: 7401 SW 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50315
Details: Safaris Camps are offered June through August. Camps for three to six year olds are from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm. Five & Six year olds can also attend full day camp. Cost is $90.00 for members and $130 for non-members per week. Kids in first through seventh grade attend all day camp from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and the cost of the camps is $180.00 for members and $260.00 for non-members per week. Find more info. on the Zoo’s website.
Brenton Arboretum offers a wide variety of youth and family classes and expeditions. Their classes have a focus on wildlife and nature. Experience the great outdoors during a stream hike, observing pond life or taking a closer look at bugs and insects. Classes are offered throughout the summer and children of all ages are welcome.
Location: 25141 260th Street, Dallas Center, Iowa 50063
Details: All participants need to register on the Arboretum’s website. Classes are FREE for members and range from $5.00 to $30.00 per class for non-members.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Iowa DNR offers overnight summer camps for 12 to 15 year olds: Hunting and Conservation Camp for Boys and Outdoor Journey for Girls. Both are offered multiple times June through August. The boys’ camp is sponsored by Pheasants Forever. To register, contact your local Pheasants Forever chapter or the Springbrook Conservation Education Center. The girls’ camp is sponsored by Iowa Women in Natural Resources for registration information and materials visit www.iwinr.com.
Location: Springbrook State Park and Hickory Hills State Park
Details: Camps are for three-days and two-nights and cost $150.00.
Polk County Conservation
Polk County Conservation offers a variety of programs for youth throughout the summer and the rest of the year. Programs include: Junior Naturalist, Nature Friends for preschoolers, day camps, Story Hour, Princess Adventures and Nature Playdate. Classes focus on nature, outdoor activities, and basic animal groups native to the area.
Location: Programs are offered at various locations. For details and dates, see the website.
Details: Programs have varying costs and hours. Several classes and camps require registration.
The City of West Des Moines
West Des Moines Parks and Recreation offers camps and classes to give children opportunities to learn about Iowa’s natural resources, environment and outdoor recreation. Offered throughout the summer to kids ages three and up Nature Friends, Nature Explorers, Creepy Crawlers Camp, Camp Fish and Explorers teach them about native insects and animals.
Locations: Programs are offered at various locations. For details and dates, see the website.
Details: Registration is required for all classes and camps. Costs vary by program and event.
Vet Camp at the Iowa State Fair
Vet Camp is one of the most popular programs at the Iowa State Fair and is an educational, exciting, hands-on learning program aimed at encouraging children ages ten to 18 to learn about animal health, welfare and what it is like to be an animal doctor. This two-hour program focuses on both large and small animal veterinary medicine.
Locations: E. 30th Street & E. University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317
Details: Vet Camp is FREE with paid Fair admission. Only 30 spots are available per session and sessions will be assigned according to the date registration is received.
Warren County Conservation Board
Warren County Conservation Board Naturalists provide quality outdoor recreation, conservation and environmental education programs throughout the year. They also offer Summer Nature Day Camps that allow children to explore and enjoy nature up close. The camps are a week-long and are for four to 15 year olds. You can register at the Annett Nature Center or by calling (515) 961-6169. Space is limited.
Location: Camp location will be provided at time of registration.
Details: Camps are offered in June and July. Hours vary depending on the age of child. Registration cost is $45 for ages 4 to 5, $65 for ages 6 to 7 and $70 for ages 8 and up.
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Will you be signing your little nature or animal lover up for a camp or class this summer? Let us know which ones are your favorite in the comments section below.