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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. Snacks will be provided.

Ages 6-7

Turtles & Tadpoles Camp

June 22 - 23, 2020

Session 1: 9-11:30am

Session 2: 1-3:30pm

We will explore the world of reptiles and amphibians while hiking the trails, playing games, making crafts and meeting special guests. Campers are sure to discover everything that makes these creatures ‘toad’ally cool!

  • Fee: $40
  • Registration deadline is June 8
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Wild Kratts Camp

June 29 - July 1, 2020

Session 1: 9-11:30am

Session 2: 1-3:30pm

Learn how different animals have adapted to survive in Iowa’s environment, catch prey or elude predators. Then we’ll use our creature power discs to take on those powers ourselves!

  • Fee: $60
  • Registration deadline is June 15
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Mammal Mania Camp

July 13 - 14, 2020

Session 1: 9-11:30am

Session 2: 1-3:30pm

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 June 29
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Ages 8-9

Water Wonders Camp

June 15 - 17, 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. Daily field trips will take us to various county parks.

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is June 1
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Astronomy Adventure Camp

June 24 - 25, 2020: 9am-3:30pm

Shoot for the stars in this camp as we learn about the planets, moons, stars and comets. Campers will make models, do science experiments, and play games to help us explore the wonderful world of space!

  • Fee: $90
  • Registration deadline is June 10
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Geology Camp

Session 1: July 8-10, 2020 - 9am-3:30pm

Session 2: August 3-5, 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, make crafts, and take daily field trips to various county parks.

  • Fee: $135
  • Registration deadline is June 24 and July 20
  • Limited to 12 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Ages 10-11

Junior Naturalist Camp

Session 1: June 8 -11, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Session 2: June 22-25, 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. Daily field trips may take us to other parks.

  • Fee: $180
  • Registration deadline is May 25 and June 8
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center
Fishing Camp

Session 1: June 18 - 19, 2019 - 9am - 3:30pm

Session 2: July 22-23, 2019 - 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 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Nature Center

Ages 12-16

Shooting Camp

Session 1: June 8 - 9, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Session 2: July 30 -31, 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 May 25 and July 16
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
Paddle Camp

Session 1: June 22-23, 2020 - 9am - 3:30pm

Session 2: 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 8 and June 22
  • Limited to 12 campers each session
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
Survival Camp

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

Session 2: 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. Campers will forage for and cook their own lunch.

  • Fee: $45
  • Registration deadline is May 28 and July 2
  • Limited to 18 campers
  • Meeting location: Jester Park Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center
Overnight Caving Camp

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

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

Parks, trails, and campgrounds are open! More information... COVID-19 Operations Update