Come explore the park and all its special places! Each day is filled with 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 five different camps to chose from, including our brand new “Bird Biologists Camp” theme! Children should bring a small morning snack, a nutritious lunch, and a child-size water bottle. Please view our Nature Explorers Camp Letter for all the details on camp location what to expect, what to bring to camp, and more!
Visit our Registration page for details on how to sign up for a camp.
Nature Educators: Emily Bishton and Magnuson Nature Docents
Sign-in Location: Magnuson Brig/Hawthorne Hills Room
6344 NE 74th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Soil Detectives Camp
Mon. June 27th – Fri. July 1st 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #145682
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 log pile where “soil critters” are hard at work, slowly turning the tree stumps and branches into wood chips and soil.
In this 5-day camp, children will use magnifiers and microscopes to learn identification skills for all the different creatures they’ll see in this wonderful underground world, up close and in living color. They will also 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”. Plus, they will take short hikes to other parts of the park, and make a different nature craft project each day to take home.
Last but not least is our 4th annual participation in the worldwide International Mud Day celebration. Your children will come home with dirt on their knees each day of this camp, and it will be matched by giant smiles and exciting stories to share!
Wetlands Adventurers Camp
Mon. July 11th – Fri. July 15th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #145684
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! From the trails of the brand new Headwaters Wetlands and the Central Wetlands Complex to the Shore Ponds and the older wetland areas such as the Frog Ponds, it will be an exciting week of discoveries.
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.
One of the most-favorite hands-on activities for kids is working together to build an elaborate model watershed in the Children’s Garden, with lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. Playing “musical frogs” in our steppingstone path is a big hit too!
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
Mon. July 25th – Fri. July 29th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #145686
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, caterpillars are eating their way through leaves, and native butterflies and bees are drinking in a bounty of nectar! 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 create their own insect ID guide, build beetle houses in the Children’s Garden, learn insect songs and dances, and much much more!
NEW THEME! Bird Biologists Camp
Mon. August 15th – Fri. August 19th
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #145688
Magnuson has around 200 species of resident and migratory birds, from Eagles to Hummingbirds and everything in between! In this brand new camp, we will explore the “birdiest” places in the park, from the Promontory Point forest to the open grasslands, to the wetlands complex and lake shore, and other natural areas. We’ll get to know a variety of birds and their favorite habitats by using identification guides and binoculars all along the park trails, by using natural materials to create a bird-watching blind and other bird-friendly features in the Children’s Garden, and more.
Each day, we will focus on a different group of birds that live in the park, and that you might see in their own back yard too, giving campers a well-rounded understanding of our avian “neighbors”.
We’ll also play “bird nest bounty”, “fill your bill” and other games, dissect pellets from Magnuson’s resident Barn Owls, and build a giant Eagle’s nest in the log pile!
Plant Scientists Camp
Mon. August 29th – Fri. September 2nd
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #145455
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 these plant parts as well as simple plant identification skills, and use them on hikes through the natural areas in the park as well in the Community Garden. Our hands-on activities will increase their understanding by digging up roots, taking bark rubbings and leaf samples, observing the developing fruits in the nearby Demonstration Orchard, collecting seeds, picking blackberries, playing games, and more.
August is also prime time for “snack walks” in our organic p-patch, putting edible flowers and herbs inside salad green “garden wraps” for a tasty treat! We’ll also plant new crops and do other fun and educational explorations, and end the camp week with a garden harvest celebration!