Photo Credit: National Audubon Society © 2020
Birds Connect Seattle started Nature Camp in 1982, and for more than 40 years we’ve built a reputation for quality environmental learning, emphasizing experiential outdoor activities that instill an appreciation for nature. Small group instruction with experienced naturalists inspires children to become explorers and stewards of nature.
Sessions offered for kids entering kindergarten, 1-3rd grades, 4-6th gratds, and 7-9th grades
Most of Nature Camp is based at Magnuson Park, a 300-acre Seattle park on Sand Point Way NE. With a mile of lake shoreline, a variety of habitats, grassy playfields, and convenient access, Magnuson is the ideal place for fun summer learning.
During the month of July, Nature Camp will also be at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline. We are excited to be able to offer our programming in that area and bring Nature Camp to more campers and their families.
Convenient Camp Hours
Weeklong sessions run Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Extended Care is available after regular camp hours for all campers and runs from 3:30-5:30p.m. Space is limited. (No morning extended care for summer 2022.) Learn more about Extended Care…
With field groups of 10-12 campers with each adult Naturalist and teenage Junior Naturalist, campers have a better experience and form closer bonds. Groups are assigned based on grade level, and have their own designated spaces for daily activities.
Kindergarten and Teen sessions have field groups of 8-10.
Campers go on field trips to other nearby parks on Tuesdays and Thursdays to add diversity to outdoor experiences. Field trip destinations may include Discovery Park, Carkeek Park, Hamlin Park, etc. depending on the week’s theme. Students ride in chartered school buses from King’s Schools to and from field trip locations. Field trip locations are announced at least one week before each camp, and are included on the weekly schedules sent out to all families before each camp session.
The preschool and kindergarten sessions will not be going on field trips and will spend their week enjoying all that Magnuson Park has to offer.
Professional, Enthusiastic Staff
Campers are taught by experienced, caring adult Naturalists. All Nature Camp staff Naturalists are college graduates, and most have or are currently working on a master’s degree in education. Staff is selected based on experience with working with youth, a background in environmental education and natural science, and outstanding character. All staff are First Aid/CPR certified and have passed a national and Washington State Patrol background screening. Naturalists also go through extensive training prior to the beginning of the summer.
Interested in joining the Nature Camp team as a Naturalist? Check out our Careers Page for current job openings.
Each Naturalist is assisted by one or two teen Junior Naturalists. Teens are selected to work at Nature Camp based on their experiences working with children and their character. For more information about the Junior Naturalist opportunity, check out the Junior Naturalist Info and Job Description.
Complete the Junior Naturalist application here.
Scholarships and Discounts
Seattle Audubon provides scholarships based on financial need. The online scholarship application can be filled out at ANY TIME and includes a spot for the child to write why they want to come to camp.
Scholarships typically cover between 25% and 85% of the total camp fee depending on financial need, and we ask that families contribute some portion of the camp fee. Payment plans are available at no charge, however, all payments must be complete two weeks prior to your child’s camp session. To learn more, contact the camp registrar.
Note: Scholarship applicants do NOT have to enter the registration lottery.
Seattle Audubon members receive a discount on camp tuition ($25 per session,) special member pricing in the Nature Shop, and more. Join or renew today! We offer a comparable camp discount for military families.
Registrations for 2023 will happen via lottery. Camp registrations across Seattle have become increasingly competitive in recent years, resulting in Nature Camp slots filling within minutes of registration opening. We feel that the traditional “first-come, first-served” method is inequitable to the many families who are interested in Nature Camp, but are unable to be at a computer or smartphone at a certain time and date.
How do I enter the lottery?
Round one of the lottery will open in mid- to late-February 15, 2023. On this day, a link to our registration system, ActivityHero, will be posted on the Nature Camp webpage and Facebook Page. Clicking on this link will lead you to the Nature Camp 2023 registration page. Select the sessions for which you would like to register. Instead of registering for a spot, however, you will sign up for the waitlist for each desired session. Once complete, you will get a confirmation email from Seattle Audubon via ActivityHero with your registration details. This will conclude the process of joining the lottery. The first phase of lottery entry will be open for 48 hours.
If you would like to request a friend to attend with your child, you will need to take an additional step. After you’ve complete the lottery (waitlist) registration, navigate to the page that lists your current registrations, and click on the “Edit Participant” link. This will allow you to complete the full registration paperwork for your camper, which includes the question on friend requests. Please make sure to list the first and last name of all requested friends/siblings.
If spots remain available after this first round of lottery registrations, we will open the second round on February 27 for another round and follow the same process as noted above.
|Lottery Important Dates|
February 15, 8:00 a.m. – round 1 registration opens
February 17, 7:59 a.m. – round 1 registration closes
February 20-24 – Invitations to register sent out to round 1 families (please note the DEADLINE TO RESPOND in the email)
February 27, 8:00 a.m. – round 2 registration opens
March 1, 7:59 a.m. – round 2 registration closes
March 3-10 – Invitations to register sent out to round 2 families
* Round 2 will only take place if spaces remain available after round 1 registrations are complete.
How will I know that I got a spot?
Once the lottery registration period closes, a list of campers from round 1 of the lottery will be chosen at random. (Siblings of these campers will be selected to come during the same session, and friend requests will be considered, though not guaranteed.) Once the list of campers has been selected, we will send invitations to register through the ActivityHero system. You must accept this invitation and complete payment for your registration to be complete. Invitations to register will expire at midnight on the 3rd day after the invite was sent. (The invite will include a specific expiration date.) If registration is not completed within this time, the offer will be sent to another camper. Please be sure to regularly check your spam and junk folders during this time!
When you receive an invitation to register, please be sure to add any additional items needed (Camp t-shirt, extended care options, Seatte Audubon membership, etc.) BEFORE you complete the registration process. Additionally, please make sure to complete ALL the registration forms at this time.
If you have found an alternate camp option for the week that has been offered to you, or you are no longer interested in that session, please email email@example.com and let us know you are declining the invitation.
How many spots can each family have? I want my child to go to Nature Camp all summer.
Each camper will be invited to a maximum of two sessions during the summer. If spots are still available in sessions after the lottery rounds are complete, a camper may be offered an opportunity to register for a third session. We understand that this may come as a disappointment for some families and campers who would like to spend their whole summer with us. However, this will allow for more families to experience Nature Camp and increase inclusivity.
Do Seattle Audubon members get priority registration?
No, registrations will open on the same day for Seattle Audubon members and non-members. However, Seattle Audubon members do get a $25 per session discount. (Select the Member ticket when registering for the lottery/waitlist.)
Memberships can be purchased through the Seattle Audubon website, or along with your Camp registration.
How many waitlists should I register for?
While we will limit the number of sessions for each camper to three, we do recommend that you register your camper(s) for as many sessions as you would like to be considered. This will increase your chances of getting a spot at Nature Camp, as some weeks of camp are more popular than others. All folks who were unable to get a spot in the first round will be automatically placed on the waitlist for each of these sessions.
What if my child wants to come to camp with a friend?
If you would like to have your child attend Nature Camp with a friend or cousin, please state clearly on the appropriate part of the registration form that this is the case, making sure to include the first and last name of the other child(ren). We will do our best to accommodate friend requests but cannot guarantee that all requests will be granted.
Please add this additional info WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR THE WAITLIST. After you complete the waitlist registration, click on your registration and then “Edit Participant.” This will take you to the registration information and allow you to add this additional information.
What if I miss the lottery?
If spots remain in any of the sessions after the first round the lottery, we will open up a second round of lottery registrations 10 days later. If we have spaces left in the session for which you registered, you will be placed in the lottery. If the session is already full from round one, then you will be placed on the waitlist and invited to register if/when a spot opens up.
How will waitlist registrations be determined after the lottery is over?
If a space becomes available in a full session due to a cancellation, we will continue with a lottery system to determine who on the waitlist will be invited to register for the spot.
I am planning on applying for a scholarship. What should I do?
There will be a handful of spots in each session reserved for scholarship recipients. If you are planning on submitting a scholarship application, you do NOT have to register for a waitlist spot to enter the lottery, as your application will put you into the scholarship pool for at least two sessions. If you would like to attend camp beyond what is offered through scholarships, please do join the lottery. Learn more about scholarship applications and processes below.
Send a child to Nature Camp! Ask how you can give to the Nature Camp scholarship fund by calling 206-523-8243 ext. 108.
“I liked the field trips because I like to experience nature and really touch the stuff.”
“Great camp, great location. No hassles for parents. Great counselors. Camp experience was so fun for my daughter. More, more, more!”