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Summer Nature Camp

2016 Summer Nature Camp

The ENC has offered Summer Nature Camps since 1977! Nature Camp provides quality science education in an outdoor, hands-on setting.  ENC Nature Camp emphasizes experiential learning. Campers spend most of their time outside, having a great time observing nature up close using tools like binoculars, magnifying lenses and microscopes. Science concepts are introduced in a fun environment, with crafts, games and hands-on activities.

Read the Nature Camp Newsletter prior to your first day of camp!


If you do not see your questions answered on this page, feel free to call us at 949-645-8489 or email the Camp Director!

How old does my child have to be to go to Nature Camp?  Kindergarten through 6th grade.

My children are a few years apart, can they be in the same group? Our Campers are divided into groups by grade level. Curricula and activities are designed for these different age groups, which are developmentally distinct from each other.

What is the registration deadline? All camps are open until full. An additional fee ($60 per camper) applies for late registration (less than 96 hours before the first day of a camp session). Please realize that Camp Staff does not work between 5PM on Friday and 8AM on Monday, so contacting us about late registration over the weekend may not guarantee a spot in camp for your child.

How many campers are in each group?  Enrollment is limited to small classes of 10 students per teacher (15 in After Camp) with a high school assistant.

Who are the Camp Teachers?  Most of the Camp Teachers are our Naturalists who teach here throughout the school year.  A few exceptional individuals join us to compliment our amazing team (they also work year round in the outdoor environmental education field).  All of our teachers are exceptionally qualified in elementary science education and represent a wide range of expertise in the Orange County educational community.

What is your withdrawal policy? Any time up to 2 weeks before the start of a session: $25 processing fee, balance refunded. 1-2 weeks notice: 50% refund. Less than 1 week notice: NO REFUND.


Full Day Nature Camp (9AM to 3PM) costs $265/student per session ($238.50 for members).
Half Day Nature Camp (9AM to 1PM) costs $180/student per session ($162 for members).

Fees include all costs of instruction, laboratory and art supplies, and an organic cotton camp T-shirt.

Nature Camp is held Monday – Thursday.  There is no camp on Fridays.


Camp Themes



Lori_Camp Director
Check out this interview with ENC Camp Director Lori Whalen on Camp Navigator for more info about our Summer Nature Camp!

Session 1:
Nature Detectives – CLOSED.

June 27 – June 30

Nature detectives will dig into the mysteries of nature and science first-hand. They will unravel some of nature’s secrets, separating fact from fiction. While sleuthing, they will come to understand more about nature and the science of mystery itself. Send your own Sherlock Holmes to get dirty and sticky and perhaps even wet in the pursuit of the truth and how the world works!

Session 2:
Weird Science – FULL

July 5-8

Campers will learn about crazy critters and perform exceptional experiments, exploring everything from crabby crustaceans to gooey ooblek. Scientists will investigate the strange, learning not only how things happen, but more importantly why. Your camper will test the strange during this week of experimentation, outdoor inquiry, and play. Remember—it’s not magic, it’s science!

Session 3:
Amazing Animals – FULL

July 11-14

If your camper loves animals, they will love this camp. Animal lovers will get a closer look at the animals that inhabit our world through games, hands-on activities, and crafts. Campers will get some up-close and personal time with some of the native animals that live in and around the ENC. Whether your child is just beginning to burrow into the world of animals or is an animal expert, this is the purr-fect camp for them.

Session 4:
Journey through Time – FULL

July 18-21

Campers will travel through a tremendous timeline, experiencing what it was like to live in times gone by as well as those yet to be. Time Travelers will also make sure to stop along the way to learn to enjoy the present as much as the past or future! Campers will meet a living dinosaur, and travel back in time to learn about the tools, trade, and customs of Native Americans. They make string out of plants, use “rabbit sticks” to “hunt,” and more!

Session 5:
Outdoor Explorers – FULL

July 25-28

Exploration has always fascinated and intrigued the human race. With such a wonderful world, there is so much to explore—from the tiniest molecules to the furthest reaches of space. Explorers will immerse themselves in our amazing planet, one leaf, animal, or pile of dirt at a time. While discovering, campers will play and explore the unique environments here at the nature center. Along the way, adventurers will also learn some skills to keep us safe and happy when we’re outdoors.

Session 6:
Nature Play – FULL

August 1-4

Children are built to play, especially in nature! Campers will participate in activities that create joyful memories, drive the development of creativity, problem solving skills, self-confidence, and leadership ability. The ENC provides the opportunities to play and have fun in a one-of-a-kind area with peers. Give your camper the chance to connect with nature and peers in a very real and memorable way. Playing isn’t everything— it’s the only thing.

Session 7:
Outdoor Creativity – FULL

August 8-11

Nature has inspired talented artists since people lived in caves!  Campers will draw inspiration from the Nature Center to create amazing masterpieces across multiple modes. Artists will tap into their creative genius with guided curriculum and help from the great outdoors. The natural world offers the opportunity for children to return to their roots as they draw, design, paint, and create their way toward beautiful works of art. This camp will culminate in an all-camp art show on the final day of this week of camp.

Session 8:
Tail Tales – FULL

August 15-18

Everyone loves a great story! And there is no better place to spin a yarn than in the shade of a tree by the trickling stream. Campers will hear some great tales and maybe even create some stories of their own! Crafts, hands-on activities, games and more will follow the themes set by the stories we tell. If life is a legend, let your storyteller delve into his or her own story as they immerse themselves in camp, nature, and friendship. Every child deserves a chance to live his or her own “Once upon a time…”, and the ENC is the perfect place for it!


You must complete a separate registration form for each child enrolled. Please note our policies regarding late pick-up, registration and withdrawals (below). You may register using the online registration form.

Nature Camp News

Approximately one week prior to the start of each Camp session, you will receive a Camp email newsletter with specifics about the session including: daily schedule, appropriate clothing, parking/drop-off info, etc.  If you do not receive the newsletter because your email is blocking us, the information is available HERE.


The ENC provides a limited number of partial (1/2 the camp fee) scholarships each year. Limit one per family.  Sessions are determined based on availability.  Campers are eligible for a scholarship based on financial need and interest in nature and science.  Parents must submit a completed Scholarship Application Form, and a letter of recommendation from a current teacher. Students whose families are eligible for the school lunch program receive priority.

Scholarship recipients are required to write a thank you letter to the scholarship provider, within one week of the completion of the session.  Scholarship applications must be submitted by May 27, 2016 by 5PM.  Scholarship recipients will be notified on May 30, 2016 by 5PM. Questions?  Call Lori at 949-645-8489.

Camp T-Shirts

Campers will receive an organic cotton ENC Camp shirt!  Daily wear of camp t-shirts is encouraged, but not required. Additional shirts may be purchased in the ENC Store.

Late Pick-Up

Full Day Camp ends promptly at 3:00 PM each day. Half Day Camp ends promptly at 1:00 PM.  Please be on time.

If you know you are going to be late please notify us.  A $5 fee for each 15 minutes late will be charged.

Change in Session Choice

Be sure you sign up for the correct session(s)! There is a $10 session change fee PER CAMPER PER SESSION. (i.e. if you have two kids and want to switch them from session 1 to session 2 it will cost you $20.)

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