Children explore the natural world when they attend Camp Dawes. Journey through a variety of ecosystems, observe nature, create outdoor-inspired crafts and cultivate a sense of adventure and curiosity. Every session of camp includes a balance of organized games and activities and child-directed choices, with nature as the focus.
Family memberships can be a great way to offset some of the costs associated with camp. Members at the Hickory (household) Level and above receive discounted camper registrations. For information about our camp scholarship program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Day Camp Sessions
June 5 – 6
Junior Leaders in Camp (grades 9 – 12)
New in 2018! High school-aged campers are invited to participate in a new opportunity that combines the fun of being a camper with with a leadership role. Leaders in Camp (LIC) participate in a two day group training where they tour The Arboretum, learn basic leadership skills and rehearse some favorite camp activities. Upon successful completion of the training, LICs select one or more sessions of camp to return as a counselor’s assistant. LICs may help lead games and other activities, prep craft supplies and snacks, assist with clean-up and more. LICs do not supervise campers. Spaces are limited; a discounted fee applies.
June 11 – 15
Amazing Animals (ages 6 – 8)
Meet a variety of critters who call The Arboretum their home. Explore the life and habitat of a new animal each day and discover what characteristics make them unique. Campers will especially enjoy meeting our resident reptiles and a visit from some live Ohio birds and mammals.
Outdoor Explorers (ages 9 – 11)
Feeling adventurous? Complete riddles, go on a digital treasure hunt, hike the Eastern Woodlands, explore the Gorge ravine and soak up the view from the Outlook Tower in this session with longer hikes and plenty of time spent exploring nature.
June 18 – 22
Little Sprouts: Splash into Nature (ages 5 – 6)
Popular children’s literature becomes an avenue for exploring the natural world. Read stories, make crafts and play games in this active and hands-on introduction to camp for our youngest campers. Please note, this camp meets Wednesday, June 20 to Friday, June 22, 9am-12pm only.
Budding Artists (ages 6 – 8)
Explore colors and textures in nature and create your own unique artwork. Young artists try their hands at watercolors, print making and sculpture then showcase their masterpieces at an art show for friends and families. Includes a visit from a guest artist.
Earth Artists (ages 9 – 11)
You can’t have EARTH without ART! Learn about different artists and experiment with various techniques to create unique art, inspired by the outdoors. A local artist will guide you in painting a beautiful nature scene and you’ll end the week showcasing your creations in an art show for friends and family.
June 25 – 29
Little Naturalists (ages 6 – 8)
A great place for budding nature enthusiasts! Venture into the woods, dip into the pond and peek into our gardens. Learn to use tools like binoculars, nets and magnifiers to explore nature, big and small.
Super Scientists (ages 9 – 11)
Discover your inner scientist as you conduct experiments each day. Ask questions, plan fun experiments, collect data and draw conclusions. You will visit The Works Museum in Newark to explore even more hands-on science.
July 9 – 13
Superpower Senses (ages 6 – 8)
Did you know that crickets hear with their legs or that butterflies taste with their feet? Senses are the natural powers of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing that we used to receive information about the world around us. Activities will find you exploring nature with a different sense each day and learning about animals with superpower senses.
Wet ‘n Wild (ages 9 – 11)
Cool off in the heat of the summer as you explore water environments throughout The Arboretum. Catch a fish, learn to paddle a canoe or kayak, dig-in to wetlands and wade into a creek – splash into all things aquatic!
July 16 – 20
Twilight Adventure (ages 12 – 14)
Meet staff from across The Arboretum as you navigate ecosystems, help with research projects and explore off-trail. On our final day, we’ll shift to evening hours to enjoy a campfire-cooked dinner and a twilight hike through peaceful grounds. Please note, this class meets on Wednesday, July 18 and Thursday, July 19 from 9am-3pm and Friday, July 20 from 3-9pm.
Water, water, everywhere! Visit different parts of The Arboretum to dip-into aquatic habitats, play water games, water the veggies, make “garden soup” and learn about the water cycle through songs and experiments.
Dig, Grow, Explore, Eat (ages 9 – 11)
A week long-excursion into gardening and healthy eating! Participate in a variety of activities in the gardens of The Arboretum as you explore the lives of plants, dig-in to the garden, search for wildlife and whip up some healthy snacks.
July 23 – 27
Little Sprouts: Forest Friends (ages 5 – 6)
Popular children’s literature becomes an avenue for exploring the natural world. Read stories, make crafts and play games in this active and hands-on introduction to camp for our youngest campers. Please note, this camp meets Wednesday, July 25 to Friday, July 27, 9am-12pm only.
Let’s Get Growing (ages 6 – 8)
Adventure into the garden for an exploration of edible plants. Concepts come alive with help from some of our favorite books such as Tops & Bottoms, Planting a Rainbow and Growing Vegetable Soup. Little hands sow seeds, learn about gardening tools, harvest produce and taste test some simple recipes.
Wilderness Survival (ages 9 – 11)
What would you do if you were stranded in the wilderness? How would you survive? In this hands-on camp, cover the basics of what it takes including nature awareness and mental preparedness. Learn how to use a compass and other tools essential for survival and take part in a geocaching adventure.
July 30 – August 3
Bugology (ages 6 – 8)
Become a junior entomologist (a person who studies insects) in this exciting insect-themed camp! Catch and identify insects in fields, woods, ponds & streams. Build a bug box, see bugs up close, make bug-crafts and take home a live caterpillar to raise.
Wet ‘n Wild (ages 9 – 11)
Due to popularity, we’ve added a second session of this favorite camp! Cool off in the heat of the summer as you explore water environments throughout The Arboretum. Catch a fish, learn to paddle a canoe or kayak, dig-in to wetlands and wade into a creek- splash into all things aquatic!