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 “Diversity Detectives 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, other nature education staff, and Magnuson Nature Docents
Sign-in Location: Magnuson Brig/Hawthorne Hills Room
6344 NE 74th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Wetlands Adventurers Camp
Mon. July 3rd – Fri. July 7th
(no camp on July 4th)
9:30 am-1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #15968
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 24th – Fri. July 28th
9:30 am-1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #159866
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!
Bird Biologists Camp
Mon. August 7th – Fri. August 11th
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #159864
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!
NEW THEME! Diversity Detectives Camp
Mon. August 14th – Fri. August 18th
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #159865
Magnuson Park is filled with diversity in its plant, bird, insect, amphibian, reptile, and mammal species, and each occupies the park areas that provide the very best habitat for them. Each species also has its favorite “life layer” within their habitat: from the ground-dwelling insects that live among the ferns and other low plants to the Beavers and River Otters that live in the ponds and lake, and from the Tree Frogs in hollow logs to the Red-tailed Hawks and other raptors that hunt from the tallest trees.
In this camp, we’ll explore those life layers throughout Magnuson from “coast to coast”, and learn how they all fit together to create one of Seattle’s most diverse parks. Children will also learn to identify a variety of wildlife species, 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 will include enhancing its existing life layers to create more wildlife habitat there, the chance to envision and build a “life layer” mini-habitat to take home, and much much more. This is a camp that’s custom-made for children who love all kinds of nature, and will enjoy a glimpse into a “big picture” understanding of diversity and its benefits for wildlife and humans!
Plant Scientists Camp
Mon. August 28th – Fri. September 1st
9:30 am – 1:30 pm
SPARC camp code: #159867
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!