All ages invited to discover great outdoors through seasonal activities
Adventures await at Hickory Knolls and Primrose Farm this spring and summer with nature events and camps for all ages.
Kick off the spring season by attending the Butterfly Ball from 6-7:30pm on Friday, May 3 at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Families will enjoy a DJ and dancing the night away after a pizza dinner and ice cream dessert. Participants also will make a craft to take home. Advanced registration is required. Ages 2 and up are welcome. The fee is $15 per resident and $23 per nonresident.
Another way to step into spring is by getting dirty, so leave the nice clothes at home, while you and your family squish, dig and play in the mud during International Mud Day from 1-2:30pm on Sunday, May 19 at Primrose Farm. Advance registration is requested. The fee is $5 for residents and $8 for nonresidents. Ages 2 and younger are free.
The fun won’t stop there, as summer camps for children of all ages will keep their curiosity of the natural world alive.
“We want kids to have so much fun they don’t know that they’re learning,” said Laura McCoy, Hickory Knolls Nature Programs Supervisor. “All the camps are outside and revolve around the various themes with games, crafts and science experiments, and of course, plenty of time to explore.”
Hickory Knolls has two nature camps for the littlest of explorers. Wee Wonders, for ages 2-4 with parent participation, meet for one hour for three consecutive days at the Discovery Center. Nature Discoverers, for ages 3-5 without parent participation, meets for two hours, five days a week at Delnor Woods Park. During both camps, children will explore the natural area, learning about insects, animals and nature with fun games and activities.
There are seven different themes in the Pathfinder Camp Series, for children entering grades K-2, including the following new camps: Nature Ninja Warriors, STEAM Explorers, Magical Beasts and Explor-ology.
“The new themes put a twist on popular cultural trends and bring in science and other activities,” McCoy said.
Pathfinders meet from 9am-12pm Monday through Thursday at Hickory Knolls, and Friday, at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve for its designated Creek Day.
“Our hope with Pathfinders is for kids to be comfortable exploring and asking questions, while they are outside and learning about nature,” McCoy said.
Among the Trailblazer Camp themes is the new Nature Ninja Warrior. Children entering grades 3-5 will learn how animals survive in the wild, and then challenge their own survival skills through various obstacles.
Trailblazers meet from 9am-12pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Hickory Knolls, and Friday at LeRoy Oakes for Creek Day. On Thursday, the camp moves from the morning to night, meeting from 6-9pm for a campfire and evening exploration.
Those wanting to take their interest in nature to the next level are encouraged to sign up for Jr. Naturalist. During this counselor-in-training program, kids entering grades 5-10, will assist Pathfinder campers during their week-long activities.
“Under the direction of a lead camp counselor, the Jr. Naturalist will have the opportunity to share their knowledge of nature and bring their talents to the program,” McCoy said.
Hickory Knolls also has full-day camp experiences for children entering grades 1-8, with onsite and offsite recreation including trips to state parks, nature centers and Otter Cove Aquatic Park.
Primrose Farm camps are another way for children to immerse themselves in nature. The Down on the Farm camps include Farmers for ages 5-7 and Ranchers for ages 8-12. In both camps, participants will experience farm life through chores, games and crafts, but the Ranchers camp also incorporates field trips. In past years, trips have included Anderson Animal Shelter, Pottawatomie Mini Golf, Otter Cove Aquatic Park and other nature museums.
“We hope campers learn first-hand what it takes to run a farm and how to properly care for farm animals,” said Alison Jones, Farm Camp Supervisor. “The camps are also a time for children to socialize, meet new friends and have fun on the farm.”
For more information about St. Charles Park District camps, visit www.stcparks.org, or call Laura McCoy at 630-513-4393 or Alison Jones at 630-513-4374.