Nature Day Camp
Kids don’t spend your summer indoors! Discover how much fun it is to get outside exploring, playing, and learning about nature!
The Yakima Area Arboretum is committed to offering first rate environmental education to people of all ages. We believe that facilitating positive outdoor experiences while developing an understanding of local ecology yields a powerful and lasting educational experience that helps to create a more informed, sensitive, and thoughtful citizen.
Through our Nature Day Camp Program we strive to provide a collaborative learning environment that blends the arts, sciences, and playfulness, that actively engages the hearts, hands, and minds of our students.
Campers will spend their days outdoors, exploring, conducting experiments, gathering and documenting information, listening to stories, playing games, climbing, walking, building, observing, collecting, getting dirty, wet, and so much more. At the end of the day your camper will arrive home tired, a little messy and full of stories about their adventures. Eager to do it all again the next day.
Our camp themes help guide the games, lessons, activities, and exploration of each camp week. Themes will also help focus the camp towards your child’s interest and add variety for our multi-week campers. However, nature being nature, we also reserve the right to switch it up a bit if a unique opportunity presents itself, i.e. taking the time to literally stop and smell the roses during Water Week, or sitting quietly and listening to the American bullfrog bellow his tune during Arts and Crafts week. As we like to say, “There is always something new to do and view at the Arboretum.”
Example Camp Themes
Explorers (1st-3rd) and Survivors (4th-7th)
Kids learn the basics of what it takes to explore and survive in the wilderness. Both groups will learn the basics of what to bring on a trip in the wilderness and what to do if you’re lost. Explorers will focus on what to look for while walking (plants, wildlife, safety, etc.) through games, creature features, and projects. Survivors will create a survival shelter, learn about ways to get clean water, learn what’s needed to build a fire, and how to identify native plants and animals. Survivors is our most popular camp!
Art and Nature (1st-3rd) and Creature Creations (4th-7th)
Campers will be inspired to create natural art and recreate engineering feats found in the natural world. Art and Nature campers will use natural materials for art projects which may include making their own creatures, wind chimes, and other fun projects that they will get to take home. Creature Creations campers will learn from lessons include making “owl pellets” to dissect at home, bird nest weaving, and more.
Creeks (1st-3rd) and Rivers (4th-7th)
Campers will get wet this summer with a week of water exploration. Discover the critters that live in our water, learn where our water comes from, and cool off with water inspired games. This was formerly our “Water World” camp.
Funky Forests (1st-3rd and 4th-7th)
Campers learn about what goes on in our forests. Both groups will learn the basics of what makes up forests and what the trees there can tell us! They’ll learn about how forest fires move through terrain, what you can find in the forest above and below ground, and the effects of removing too many trees from the landscape!
Leap, Slither, and Crawl (1st-3rd) and Call, Growl, and Howl (4th-7th)
Explore the creatures of the Yakima Area Arboretum. Younger campers spend their days looking for smaller creatures that might be leaping, slithering, or crawling through the grounds and trees. Older campers learn about larger and stealthier animals, focusing on their sounds and identifying their tracks.
Campers should come prepared each day with:
- Sunscreen already applied
- Water bottle
- Durable clothes and shoes that can get wet and dirty
Nature Day Camp is Proudly Sponsored by:
General Camp Details
Weekly, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 3 pm.*
*Camps run weekly except for the week of 4th of July which typically has a modified schedule.
Camp Fee: $180/week/child*
YAA Fir Members and Above Pay: $162/week/child*
Camp tuition includes one (1) T-shirt and twice daily snacks.
*Your child’s spot will not be held, or discounts applied, until full tuition is paid or you have made prior arrangements with Arboretum staff.
Age of Campers
Experience has shown us that Nature Day Camp can be very challenging for Kindergarten aged children and younger. That is why the Yakima Area Arboretum has moved to a school-grade limit to determine camp readiness for your child. We will only allow campers that have completed a full year of Kindergarten and are going into the 1st grade to attend camp. Campers can expect to walk 2+ miles a day during camp, in all kinds of weather.
Health and Registration Form
Each child is required to have a completed “Health and Registration Form” on file with Arboretum staff before starting camp. Download the 2020 Health and Registration form or pick one up in the Arboretum’s Jewett interpretive Center. Turning these forms in early will help us better serve your child/children.
Submit completed Health and Registration to the contact information below.
Every child deserves the opportunity to go to Nature Day Camp. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors the Yakima Area Arboretum is pleased to offer your family financial assistance as long as funds are available. To learn more about the Arboretum’s scholarship fund please download a 2020 Scholarship Application. Please return completed applications by May 24, 2020.
Scholarships are limited to one (1) week of camp per child and up to three (3) children per family.
Submit completed scholarship applications to the contact information listed below.
If you need to cancel your child’s Nature Day Camp session for any reason, please contact us immediately. If the session is cancelled with at least 21 days’ notice you will receive a full refund minus a $30 processing fee. If the session is cancelled with less than 21 days, no refund will be given.
After Camp Childcare
Pre-arranged after camp childcare is available from 3 pm – 5 pm ($15/child/hour). Call the Arboretum at 509-248-7337 to make arrangements.
ave more questions? Need to submit a completed Heath and Registration form and/or scholarship application?
Send completed forms via email, fax, mail, or in person to:
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Yakima Area Arboretum
1401 Arboretum Drive
Yakima, WA 98901
Hours: Mon – Sat, 9 am to 5 pm