Camps

Kids playing in creek during DMCC summer camp.

Registration for all camps at Starr’s Cave Nature Center (SCNC) will be held online through CampDoc.com

All camps are designed to be fun and active and to provide high quality environmental learning experiences through games, crafts, stories, and in-depth exploration. Kids love coming to our camps and look forward to them each summer. Parents love our camps too because they know their kids are having fun AND are learning at the same time! All camps include a mid-morning snack.

Camps usually begin the first full week in of June but may vary depending on the last day of school and run through the first week of August. We have camps for 3 year olds all the way up to 15 year olds.

2022 registration is scheduled to open Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00 AM.

2022 Summer Camp Schedule  

  • Discovery 1: June 13-17
  • Caterpillar 1: June 20-23
  • Firefly 1: June 20-23
  • Caterpillar 2: June 27-30
  • Firefly 2: June 27-30
  • River Raiders: July 6-8
    • Mandatory River Raiders Skills Day: June 8
  • Polliwog 1: July 12-13
  • Top Shot 1: July 13
  • Polliwog 2: July 14-15
  • Top Shot 2: July 15
  • Discovery 2: July 18-22
  • DarkWings 1: July 18-21
  • Adventure Camp: July 25-29
  • Young Naturalist: August 1-5

SCNC Camp Descriptions  

Polliwog Camp 

Ages 3-4; 9:30-11:30am at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 2 days with adult accompaniment- $25.00

Parents can introduce their child to the wonders of nature during this camp. Each day may feature a nature hike, craft, or story, as well as hands-on nature learning that parents or guardians will get to experience along with their children.

Caterpillar Camp

Ages 5-6; 9:00am-Noon at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 4 days. $50.00

In this fun camp, young children explore the outdoor world. Activities may include different art projects, stories, hiking, games in the woods, catching bugs, going on bird hunts and much more!

Discovery Camp

Ages 7-9; 9:00am-Noon at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 5 days. $60.00

Campers explore the prairie, forest, and creek around the nature center with a focus on ecosystems, habitat, and nature discovery. They look closely at where things live and what they need to survive. They use dip nets to catch aquatic critters; learn about amazing birds and mighty mammals. They play camouflage games to discover how animals survive; discover animal trails, tracks, and signs; and learn about the predators who hunt and the prey that escapes.

Firefly Camp

Ages 7-9; Night camp; 7:00-10:00pm at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 4 nights. $50.00

Campers learn about what comes out in nature during the night. As the sun sets, they will see bugs that light up, bats that eat them, and extraordinary birds with night vision. They will learn about the stars that light up the night sky and play games in the dark.

DarkWings Camp

Ages 10-13; Night camp; 7:00-10:00pm at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 4 nights. $50.00

Campers learn what goes on in the natural world at night. They go hooting for owls, canoe with head lamps, listen for bats, and peer through a telescope at the night skies. This camp includes one or more evenings at Big Hollow Recreation Area.

Adventure Camp

Ages 10-13; 9:00am-Noon at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 5 days. $60.00

Students learn about the natural and human history of the land and acquire valuable outdoor living and safety skills. Shelters, knots, rope making, fires without matches and reading the wild are all part of this outdoor experience. Campers may learn to use a bows and atlatl; they’ll improve and develop navigation, canoeing, and climbing skills. Campers will also learn to work together to accomplish goals and challenges, building confidence and trust both in themselves and in others. This camp includes one or more days at Big Hollow Recreation Area near Sperry.

Young Naturalist Camp

Ages 10-13; 9:00am-Noon at Starr’s Cave Nature Center; 5 days. $75.00

Learn what it takes to be a naturalist by investigating the different biotic communities of the creek, cave, prairie, and forest. Band songbirds, ID plants, and conduct citizen science projects at Starr’s Cave Park and Preserve.

Top Shot 1 

Ages 12-15; 9:00am-2:00pm at Big Hollow’s Shooting Range; 1 day. $30

Introduction to shooting sports and a little healthy competition. Learn about firearm safety and test your skills on the range with shotguns and rifles. 9:00am-2:00pm at Big Hollow Shooting Range.

Top Shot 2

Ages 12-15; 9:00am-2:00pm at Big Hollow’s Shooting Range; 1 day. $30

Experience the more traditional side of shooting sports. After a safety lesson, campers will learn how to use bow and arrow, atlatl, throwing knives, and tomahawks. Campers will test their aim on the 3D archery range. 9:00am-2:00pm at Big Hollow Shooting Range.

River Raiders

Ages 13-15; all-day off-site camp; 4 days with two overnights. $100.00

Campers must attend a mandatory skills day on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Langwood Education Center from 1:00pm-4:30pm. Campers will canoe the Iowa River and camp in Louisa County. We will spend one day in orientation reviewing equipment, safety, and team building in preparation for a three-day, two-night canoe-camping experience. Campers will explore, fish, forage, and have fun. Students will learn about natural and human history while acquiring valuable outdoor-living and safety skills. Campers will learn to work together to accomplish goals and challenges, building confidence and trust, both in themselves and in others. This camp includes three days and two overnights on the Iowa River in Louisa County at Virginia Grove the first night and Snively Campground or Flaming Prairie Park the second (depending on river level). Campers who do not attend the skills day on June 8 will not be able to join the canoe trip.