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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

General Information

Connect to nature with Environmental Education

Ecology-based day camps for preschool, elementary, older youth, and teen volunteers 

Children and youth ages 3½ - 17 can find all find a place in Environmental Education's Summer Nature Day Camp program. Grab your backpack, a lunch, a water bottle, a sweatshirt, and head out into Portland's Natural Areas to learn about ecology, play imaginative games, tell stories, and make memories! Each day of Nature Day Camp starts and ends as one group with all ages together. About half the day is structured with nature-themed games, skits, crafts, scavenger hunts, and science investigations. The other half of the day is spent playing, hiking, and exploring in small traveling groups, divided by age. Our programs cater to children as young as 3½ up to age 12. If you are looking for options for youth 13 and up, check out our Nature Day Camp Volunteer program (ages 13-17) or apply to be on our paid summer staff (ages 16+)! 

We hire staff who have an interest in children, ecology, and play. Our summer staff naturalists are trained for over 45 hours in risk management, youth development, dealing with challenging behaviors, communication skills, group facilitation, Leave No Trace principles, science and inquiry, stewardship, and the benefits of unstructured play. Our goals are to connect children to nature through experiential ecology, to model curiosity and wonder, and to be positive role models toward youth of all ages.

Summer Schedule of Camps

Summer 2018 - nine
weeks of nature camps
for ages 3½-12!
Location(s) Weekly Theme Where to find more information
June 25-29 Mt Tabor Park Backbone Not
July 2-6
(no camps July 4)
Mt Tabor Park Rock and Roll
July 9-13 Hoyt Arboretum
Whitaker Ponds Natural Area
Habitats are
July 16-20 Mt Tabor Park Let's Wing It! SCHEDULETHEMESVOLUNTEERING 
July 23-27 Mt Tabor Park Buzz and Flutter SCHEDULETHEMESVOLUNTEERING 
July 30-Aug 3 Hoyt Arboretum
Sellwood Park/Oaks Bottom
Aug 6-10 Mt Tabor Park Marvelous Mammals SCHEDULETHEMESVOLUNTEERING 
Aug 13-17 Hoyt Arboretum
Whitaker Ponds Natural Area
Aug 20-24 Mt Tabor Park Havin a Blast with Chloroplasts! SCHEDULETHEMESVOLUNTEERING 

Camp Days and Hours

All camps run Monday through Friday (except for the week of July 4 - No Camps on July 4)

Drop-off time for ALL camps in any time between 8:45-9:00am. Campers under the ages of 13 MUST be signed in by an adult each morning. On Monday morning, if you arrive and have not already filled out the Camper Intake Form & Medical Waiver, hard copies will be available for you to fill out. CAMPER INTAKE FORMS, MEDICATION FORMS, AND ANY AFTER-CARE FORMS MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE GETTING IN LINE TO CHECK YOUR CHILD IN FOR CAMP! No exceptions! This helps keep the line moving at an acceptable pace. Thanks for understanding.

Opening activities begin each day at 9:00am. In fairness to our staff and to your child, please be on time so your child does not miss out! 

Camper pick-up times are listed below:

Rockin Robins Nature Camp (ages 3 1/2 - 6)  |   1:30pm  (Sorry, after-care is not available for this program.)

Nature Day Camp (ages 4 - 10)  |   3:30pm 

True Nature Summer Camps (ages 10-12)  |   3:30pm  

After-Care is available for campers at Nature Day Camp and True Nature Summer Camp from 3:30-5:30pm at all locations for an additional fee. If you are picking up your child earlier than 5:30, we must know this information ahead of time. Read more about after-care options.

After-care Options

Supervised after-care is offered from 3:30-5:30pm at all 2018 locations for an additional fee. After-care is set up in our Flexible Registration system, meaning you can choose any days during your week of camp, and if you are doing multiple weeks during the summer, you can sign up all at once! To read more about signing up for after-care, CLICK HERE!

Weekly Cost for Camps (unless otherwise noted)

Rockin Robins Nature Camp   |   $158 (Resident), $221 (Non-residents)

Nature Day Camp   |   $230 (Resident), $322 (Non-residents)

True Nature Camps   |   $235 (Resident), $329 (Non-residents)

Scholarships Available

We offer scholarships to help cover the cost of camp. Complete the scholarship application found on the Portland Parks & Recreation Main Page. Completed applications can be returned by fax, postal mail, or in-person. 

To Mail or Drop off in person:
Portland Parks & Recreation
Attn: Nature Day Camp 
2909 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

Fax Number: 503-865-3251

Special Assistance

Children of all abilities and interests are welcome to participate in our programs. If your child requires special assistance to participate, please contact the Environmental Education Office at 503-823-3601, and we will help connect you to our Adaptive & Inclusive Recreation program.


To receive a full refund, a participant must be withdrawn at least seven days before the class or camp begins. NEW! Withdraw or Transfer from activities using your online account. Go to "My Account", then the "My Account Details" page. Need help? Call our office at (503) 823-3601.