Come explore the park and all its special places! Each day is filled with more advanced hands-on nature and science activities, crafts, and park hikes for the older explorer. Once again this year, all Nature Explorers camp days are 4 hours long and there are 3-day and 5-day camps to chose from. Children should bring a small morning snack, a nutritious lunch, and a child-size water bottle.
Camps are filling up quickly, so register soon to reserve a spot in your child’s favorite theme! Visit our Registration page for all the details!
Camp Director: Emily Bishton
Instructors: Emily Bishton and Magnuson Nature Docents
Sign-in Location: Magnuson Brig/Ravenna Room
6344 NE 74th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Mon. June 24th – Wed. June 26th (includes International Mud Day celebration!) THANKS TO ALL THE DETECTIVES FOR AN EXCELLENT 3 DAYS OF SOIL SLEUTHING!
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
The soil underneath our feet is an amazing and fascinating world to explore. Worms and other soil creatures are hard at work around the clock, decomposing the leaf litter and other organic matter into rich compost that feeds plant roots in every garden and field. The Magnuson Children’s Garden contains a working worm bin where our leftover lunch scraps and fallen leaves feed red wiggler worms, a yard waste bin where our garden trimmings turn into compost with the help of potato bugs and other decomposers, and a “fort zone” where decomposers are hard at work, slowly turning the tree stumps and branches into wood chips.
In this camp, children will use magnifiers and microscopes to learn identification skills for all the different “soil critters” they’ll see in this wonderful underground world, up close and in living color. They will build a soil/worm observation chamber, complete with earthworms, red wiggler worms, and worm cocoons, mulch our vegetable garden with freshly harvested worm bin compost, and re-bed the worm bin with fallen leaves and straw.
Besides learning and experiencing the who/what/why of decomposition, this camp is also filled with other adventures such as “snack walks” in our organic P-Patch which is chock-full of fresh vegetables and fruits, digging and planting new crops there, doing the “soil shake” and the “dirt dance”, and planting our Sunflower Forest in the Children’s Garden as part of the Himawari Project. Plus, they will take short hikes to other parts of the park, and make a different nature craft project each day to take home.
A special treat this year is our 2nd annual participation in the worldwide International Mud Day celebration on the last day of camp. Your children will come home with dirt on their knees each day of this camp, matched by giant smiles and interesting stories to share!
Wetlands Adventurers Camp (THANKS TO ALL THE AMAZING ADVENTURERS FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE WEEK OF CAMP!)
Mon. July 8th – Fri. July 12th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
Magnuson Park has a variety of wetland areas, each with its own interesting history and ecosystem, and we’ll explore them all in this adventuresome camp! The Wetlands Complex completed in 2009, the new Shore Ponds completed in late 2011, and older wetland areas such as the Frog Ponds that developed on their own after the Naval Air Station runways were demolished. The Children’s Garden is also bordered by a swale and pond system that absorbs and filters runoff from the entire 4-acre Community Garden! The hands-on exploration activities that fill each day of camp will teach children about how wetlands function and the vital role they play in the water cycle, and in the food chain of so many forms of wildlife. July is a fabulous month to see and hear frogs, dragonflies, songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and more in all of Magnuson Park’s wetland areas, and this camp is sure to make a splash!
Insect Investigators Camp (THANKS FOR A FULL CAMP AND AN EXPERT GROUP OF INVESTIGATORS!)
Mon. July 22nd – Wed. July 24th
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
The heat of summer brings all sorts of interesting insects into view at Magnuson Park: over 20 species of dragonfly are out on the prowl, ladybugs and other beetles can be seen in 3 of their life cycle stages, scores of grasshoppers and crickets are hopping down the trails, native butterflies and bees are drinking in a bounty of nectar, and much, much more! Children will learn to identify a wide variety of insects and understand their role in Magnuson’s ecosystems, as well as in their own back yard! Our hands-on activities in the Children’s Garden and natural areas of the park will include observing how beneficial insect species carry out “nature’s pest control”, and reinforce our “bee safe” rules on how to safely observe and interact with all insects. They will also have the chance to build beetle houses in the Children’s Garden, and learn insect songs and dances!
Plant Scientists Camp (THANKS FOR A FULL CAMP AND A SUPER GROUP OF SCIENTISTS!)
Mon. Aug. 5th – Fri. Aug. 9th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
In mid-summer, nature’s bounty is in full glory. It’s a great time to explore, examine, and experience all 6 plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds! Children will learn the important jobs of all 6 of these plant parts as well as simple plant identification skills, and use them on hikes through natural areas in the park as well in the Community Garden. Our hands-on activities will include digging roots, taking bark rubbings and leaf samples, observing the developing fruits in the nearby Demonstration Orchard, collecting seeds to plant in next year’s garden, and more. It’s also a fantastic time for “snack walks” in our organic p-patch, and our traditional “plant parts party” celebration!