When kids think of summer camp they usually think of swimming, boating, tennis, or baseball but they seldom think about the Audubon Society or the many opportunities for outdoor summer camp fun that it provides. In fact summer camps that seem to center on nature are often seen by young people as being too much like school. The Audubon Society in Massachusetts has taken steps to make sure that young people attending Audubon Summer Camps this year won’t confuse any Audubon summer camp with school work. With a total of sixteen Audubon Summer Day Camps operating across the commonwealth,Massachusetts Audubon has put its properties to good use providing an interesting variety of settings where kids can be fully immersed in the natural glory of New England summer. A look at just a few of these Audubon Summer Camps should convince you to include the Massachusetts Audubon Society in your search for summer camps for your children .
Cape Cod is an ideal setting for almost any kind of summer activity. The Massachusetts Audubon Society has taken advantage of the scenic beauty of the Cape to secure 1000 acres of coastal land which it now designates as Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary. While bordering the ocean, Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary includes a variety of habitats for young campers to explore and enjoy. Young people who choose to attend Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary spend warm summer days filled with adventures in places as diverse as marshlands, a freshwater pond, extensive wooded areas and of course the beach. Over the course of their participation at Wellfleet, campers become familiar with and learn to appreciate the variety of habitats and the wildlife they support. With more than 5 miles of trails Wellfleet provides ample space for discovery. Unique to this Audubon camp are the many species of shore birds that children will encounter, perhaps for the very first time. The friends made at Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary will be among human and wildlife inhabitants .
Closer to the city of Boston is the Broadmoor Sanctuary at Natick, MA. Somewhat smaller than its Wellfleet sister at 624 acres, Broadmoor has a character all its own. Children attending the Audubon camp at this location will experience wide open sunny fields, deep, almost dark wooded acres and delightful wetlands. Broadmoor encourages young people from K-Grade 8 who truly enjoy a combination of demanding physical activity and learning about the world around them to come and enjoy this day camp set perfectly on the Charles River. Special features at Broadmoor include a boardwalk that passes through the wetlands, a 110 foot bridge that offers unblocked vistas for birdwatching and the presence of wildlife like otters, beavers and wood ducks. Located as it is near Boston, Broadmoor offers a convenient and truly refreshing day camp experience for young people from the city.
Smaller and further from Boston than Broadmoor, Stony Brook in Norfolk is one of Massachusetts Audubon Society’s camp settings for children living south of Boston. Stony Brook presents the variety and beauty of nature on a small scale. It’s setting is limited to 244 acres but its staff makes productive use of its entire area. Stony Brook is at once small and concentrated enough to be appealing to 5 and 6 year olds while offering programming exciting enough to attract older siblings. Hiking, crafts, games, exploration are all part of an active day at Stony Brook. The site includes an indoor nature center, a butterfly garden, and along its main mile long hiking loop an extensive board walk and a surprising waterfall. When summer days get hot and sticky, children can really relax and enjoy the cool, quiet setting and one another at Stony Brook, Norfolk.
The most unique topographical feature of Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is probably the omnipresence of Lenox Mountain. Inviting young people to enjoy a day camp experience at this sanctuary however goes way beyond sharing the fun of hiking paths along the nearby mountain slopes. What draws the attention of young campers more than the landscape is probably the collection of beaver who make Pleasant Valley their home. Campers can happily indulge their curiosity about the living habits of these nocturnal pond dwellers as there will plenty of opportunities to observe the results of their lodge building activities. This Audubon summer camp also offers daily exploration trips along the seven miles of trails as well as games, crafts and music which are connected to the nature that campers observe. For older campers 8-13 years old special features of Pleasant Valley Wildlife camp are the opportunities for an overnight experience, out door cooking and a never to be forgotten hike to the top of Lenox Mountain.
These four camps and twelve others across Massachusetts help young people experience summer naturally in well supervised day sessions of a week or more. For some children these day time experiences may wet their enthusiasm for nature to the point that they will seek more intensive natural camping experiences. Massachusetts Audubon Society anticipates this desire in its summer overnight camping experiences known collectively as Wildwood limited to children ages 9-17 years. Wildwood actually offers a variety of overnight experiences from which campers can choose. According to individual tastes young people might spend a week or two at spots like Acadia National Park in Maine, The While Mountains in New Hampshire or Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Each session offers young people a chance to develop their own personal awareness of and relationship to the natural world around them. Activities are selected which will help to stimulate imagination, encourage artistic expression and develop physical capacity. Young people may spend time exploring the heavens or the tracks right at their feet. They may try to hook a fish or face the challenges involved in living outdoors. All the while their activities and their safety will be in the hands of well trained Audubon Society staff and a 24 hour nurse.
If the camp experiences offered by the Audubon Society in Massachusetts provide solid enjoyment for your children don’t be surprised and also don’t be afraid to encounter nature a bit more closely yourself. Why not consider Wildwoods special 4 day overnight camping experiences for families! Your kids know what you have been missing.