Summer Camps FAQs

What ages are your day camps for?

Our day camps are for youth aged 8 to 11.

What is the schedule for camps?

Each camp is one-day and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What do camps cost?

Camps are one-day and each camp is $80. These programs are designed to be engaging, high quality educational opportunities, rather than as an alternative childcare option. These programs have been developed by informal science education professionals to create fast-paced, fun-filled, and content-rich science experiences. Scholarships are available.

Are there scholarships available for camps?

Scholarships are available for summer camps. The scholarship form, as well as the registration form, can be found at the summer camps page when registration is open. Both forms should be mailed to the address on the form, dropped off at the Visitor Services information desk at the main entrance of the museum or faxed to 785.864.5335. If you would like a copy of the forms mailed to you, please call 785.864.4173.

What do children do in the camps?

Our camps are designed to be intensive and content-rich science learning experiences. Each camp explores a different science topic and so each program is structured in a format that best supports that particular topic. For example: Dinosaur Detectives focuses primarily on excavating and investigating fossils in a dig pit; Forensic Fun examines key techniques and then applies them to a mock crime scene; and participants in Geology Explorations learn how to identify rocks and fossils and then apply these skills at field sites. Please contact Public Education at 785.864.4173 if you would like to discuss the format and expectations of the different camps.

What are the physical requirements for camps?

Some camps require participants to travel across uneven ground outdoors (including stairs) and/or into water, wooded or other natural areas, or work at floor level for extended periods. Please call us at 785.864.4173 if you have questions about specific camps.

Why one day camps?

Our day camps are designed to provide high quality, engaging and science focused learning opportunities for youth aged 8 to 11. The one-day format allows us to emphasize and extensively prepare for meaningful activities and experiences for our camp participants. This format also makes our camps accessible to young people in both the local and surrounding rural and urban communities.

How many children are in a camp?

Museum-based camps have a maximum enrollment of 18 participants, except Dinosaur Detectives, which has a maximum of 12; field-based camps have a maximum of 15 participants.

How do I register and pay for camps?

When registration is open, forms can be found at the summer camps page. Forms can be mailed to the address on the form or dropped off at the Visitor Services information desk at the main entrance of the museum. Fees can be paid by check (made out to the KU Natural History Museum), credit card (Mastercard or Visa) or cash. If paying by credit card (Visa or Mastercard), registrations can be taken over the phone by calling 785.864.4173 or by faxing the form to 785.864.5335.

What is the cancellation policy?

If we have to cancel a camp, you will be notified two weeks before the program (except in the case of severe weather for field-based camps) and receive a full refund. If you cancel, we require four weeks notice for a full refund. Cancellations after that time will receive a refund, less a $20 administration fee. If you cancel the week before, or do not show the day of the camp, you will not receive a refund. For primarily field-based camps, we schedule rain dates. See the question 'What happens if it rains?' for more information.

My child is not quite 8 years old. Can they register for camps?

Our camps are designed for the specified age range. Since we cannot assess each child on an individual case-by-case basis, we limit the lower age range to a child that will be 8 years old by the start of the school year.

What does my child have to bring with them?

A bag lunch for all camps, and appropriate attire for field-based camps. We supply snacks and all necessary supplies. We recommend closed-toed shoes for all camps, and require them for field camps. If your child is registered in a field-based camp, you will receive a field trip information sheet with your confirmation letter. It is important to review this sheet as it contains more information about the field trips and the required attire including footwear, and rain dates. For safety reasons, your child will NOT be allowed participate if they are not dressed appropriately for field camps.

Who teaches your camps?

Our summer camps are developed and taught by museum education professionals with science backgrounds and years of experience teaching in informal learning environments. Assistants for the camps include undergraduate and graduate student employees at the museum. There is one instructor and two assistants in each camp, and additional adults accompany any off-campus field trips.

Can I stay with my child during the program?

Our camps are designed as youth rather than family programs. Only registered campers can attend camp to limit distractions, encourage group interaction, and support effective instruction to ensure a high quality learning experience. If it is medically necessary for a certified adult to be present during the program, please contact Public Education at 785.864.4173 so we can discuss this need with you and the camp instructor to determine appropriate arrangements to accommodate this need.

Where and when do I drop off and pick up my child?

Check-in/Drop off is at 9:45am (15 minutes before the start of the program) and pick up is at 3pm directly outside the museum’s north (ground level) entrance. In the morning, a member of staff will be at the entrance to greet you and your child 15 minutes before the start of the program, take attendance (a signature is required at drop off and pick up) and collect any outstanding health and permission/waiver forms (Please note: these forms should have been returned before the start of camp). If you will be late, please call Public Education at 785.864.4173. There is no free parking on campus (see next question for parking information). A parent/guardian or other authorized adult must collect your child at the end of camp. Occasionally, our field-based camps run a little late due to traffic or construction problems – so if you have a tight pick up schedule please let the instructor know on the day of the camp.

Where can I park?

There is no free parking on campus. Parking is available in the Mississippi Street Parking garage north of the museum. The small lot across the street from the museum is restricted KU parking during business hours. Please plan for any campus construction issues that will be noted in your confirmation letter.

Do you offer early or after-care?

We do not offer early or after-care.

What happens if it rains?

Aquatic Biology, Geology Explorations and Expedition: Forest Floor are primarily field-based. These camps will not be canceled in the event of light rain. In the event of severe weather (thunderstorms or flooding), a decision about whether camp will run will be made by 8am on the day of camp. As a general rule, if there is a strong possibility of severe weather or a weather alert for when we will be in the field, camp will be canceled and you will be called shortly after 8am. You will receive details about scheduled rain dates, and more information about these camps in the field trip information sheet you will receive after registering.

Can I see the classroom where summer camps are held?

Yes. If you would like to visit the Public Education classroom, where camps are held, please call 785.864.4173 to arrange this before the day of the program.

How do you deal with allergies and other related medical issues?

It is important to let us know about any physical or behavioral issues BEFORE the day of the program – this should be included on the health form you receive with your confirmation letter, so we are aware of any issues and can go over strategies with you and the instructor prior to the camp. With allergies, please let us know the details and severity. We can provide you with information about the ingredients in our snacks if needed.

What do you do in the case of illness or injury?

If a child becomes ill, the instructor will contact the Public Education office and a member of staff will contact the parent/guardian. Instructors bring a basic first aid kit (e.g. adhesive bandages, antiseptic) on field trips. For serious injury or other conditions that require immediate medical attention, the instructor will call 911 and/or take your child to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and then contact the participants’ parent/guardian listed as the emergency contact. Medical personnel will be provided with information, such as allergies and physician contact information, as provided on the health form.

What happens if there are disciplinary issues?

We rarely experience serious disciplinary issues, and participants are kept thoroughly engaged with fun and challenging science activities. However, if a discipline issue arises we handle it on a case-by-case basis. At first a staff member will talk with the child to try and resolve the issue. If this does not resolve the issue, the instructor will contact the parent/guardian. As a last resort, the child will be removed from the camp and the parent/guardian will be asked to come and collect their child.