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Summer Camps

These day camps are designed to encourage hands-on learning through outdoor explorations, activities, games, crafts, and more. Camps will be led by naturalists. Campers are asked to bring a water bottle and sack lunch for day long camps. Prepackaged snacks will be provided.

Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the public and the staff. In response to the ongoing development of COVID-19, Polk County Conservation programs will adhere to social distancing, smaller group size, increased sanitation and facemasks mandatory while indoors.

Ages 6-7

Mammal Mania Camp - FULL

July 13 - 14, 2020 - 9-11:30am

Learn what animals like rabbits, squirrels, and foxes have in common and what makes animals with fur unique. We'll take a look at their homes, tracks and more!

  • Fee: $40
  • Registration deadline is July 6th
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5

Ages 8-9

Water Wonders Camp

July 20-21, 2020 - 9am-3:30pm

Come get your feet wet as we discover all we can about water. We’ll compare ponds, rivers, lakes, and wetlands plus the animals that live in them. 

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is July 13
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Thomas Mitchell Park, Shelter #2
Geology Camp

Session 1: July 9-10, 2020 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: August 3-4, 2020 - 9am-3:30pm

Come learn all about geology; it rocks! We will explore how geology is all around you, how rocks form, and how it has changed Iowa for millions of years. Campers will go rock and fossil hunting, play games, and make crafts.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is July 2 and July 27
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
  • Day 2 Meetign location: Yellow Banks Park, Tent Camping Area

Ages 10-11

Junior Naturalist Camp

July 28-30, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Do you know a child who loves the outdoors? Campers will spend the week fishing, canoeing, hiking, geocaching, building campfires and more while exploring the outdoors. On the last day of camp, campers will receive a badge and certificate.

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is July 21
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
Fishing Camp

July 22-23, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

This camp is all about fishing! We will spend time learning about different fish and how to catch them. We will then go try our luck at a couple different fishing spots in Polk County. Other activities may include knot tying, fish cleaning/cooking, and exploring a creek.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is June 4 and July 8
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park, Shelter #5
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Thomas Mitchell Park, Shelter #1

Ages 12-16

Shooting Camp

July 27-28, 2020 -9am - 3:30pm

This camp will introduce participants to the lifelong sport of target shooting. We'll learn the basics of archery, air rifle and even throw Atlatls. The experience continues with a visit to the Butch Olofson Shooting Range where we'll practice our skills using .22 rifles and 20 gauge shotguns. All equipment, ammo, targets, ear and eye protection provided. All shooting activities led by certified trained range instructors.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is July 20
  • Limited to 10 campers each session
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Olofson Shooting Range, Polk City
Paddle Camp - FULL

July 6-7, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Learn the basics of both canoeing and kayaking, including self and assisted rescues. Then try out your new skills on an adventurous river trip. Bring a sack lunch, filled water bottle, towel, sturdy water shoes and dress to get wet each day. Camp/trip led by American Canoe and Kayak Certified instructors, all equipment and PFD’s provided.

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is June 29
  • Limited to 10 campers
  • Day 1 Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
  • Day 2 Meeting location: Chichaqua Bottom Greenbelt
Survival Camp

July 16, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Set your kid’s imagination and adventurous spirit free as they learn about the natural environment and important survival skills. Activities range from plant identification, animal tracking study, and survival skills like fire and shelter building. Kids will gain confidence and comfort in being outdoors, while have a great time and staying active.

  • Fee: $45
  • Registration deadline is July 9
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
Overnight Caving Camp - CANCELLED

July 27-28, 2020

Let's explore Iowa underground! Go caving, climbing, and hiking on an overnight trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park in Northeast, Iowa. We'll provide the gear and campers must provide sleeping bag and personal items. Please note caving involves crawling through small dark places. Depart Jester Park at 8am on July 27 and return by 5pm on July 28.

  • Fee: $100
  • Registration deadline is July 11
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
Upper Iowa River Youth Kayaking Trip - CANCELLED

August 6-7, 2020

Float past beautiful limestone bluffs along a crystal clear river as your child takes a kayak trip down this scenic waterway. We will depart Jester Park and head for Chimney Rock Campground, set camp and eat lunch before taking on the river. Experienced and trained naturalists will lead your child on a 3-4 hour paddling trip before returning to camp to share our adventures around the campfire, eat dinner and finish the evening with some tasty S ‘mores. The next morning we’ll continue our adventure with a short 2 hour float to Bluffton. Camping, kayaks, paddles, life jackets and most meals provided. Youth will need to provide tent, sleeping bag, personal items, and cash for meals while traveling. Prior paddling experienced required and must have attended a Polk County Conservation sponsored paddling program or camp within the last two years.

  • Fee: $150
  • Registration deadline is July 31
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center