Nature Day Camp

At Nature Day Camp, we inspire children to build lifelong, meaningful relationships with the natural world as we help them catch frogs at the pond, create a miniature homestead village in the woods or learn how to paddle on a river. Groups are kept small to ensure an excellent learning opportunity for everyone. Campers ages 3-16 will make new friends, gain confidence in outdoor skills and get dirty as they explore Chippewa Nature Center and beyond.




2019 Adventure Trip Information 

South Manitou Island Adventure
11-13 year olds
$430 ($344 for CNC Members)
July 29-August 2, 9:30 am Mon-6 pm Fri
August 5-9, 9:30 am Mon-6 pm Fri

Please note: Weather delays can occasionally result in the ferry returning up to 24 hrs late.

This island adventure is sure to be the highlight of your summer! After spending Monday night camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we will take the ferry to South Manitou Island. There, we’ll set up base camp from which we will explore the rest of the island. The days will be filled with fun and adventure as the group discovers abandoned farmsteads, the island cemetery, giant sand dunes and awesome sunsets. Teambuilding, natural art, games and other activities will help round out the days.

North Manitou Island Backpacking
12-14 year olds
$430 ($344 for CNC Members)
July 8-12, 9:30 am Mon-6 pm Fri

Please note: Weather delays can occasionally result in the ferry returning up to 24 hrs late.

It’s time to cross the big lake!  North Manitou Island is more rustic than South Manitou, and gives us the opportunity to explore at our own pace.  After spending Monday night camping on the mainland, we will head to the island.  Each night, we will backpack to a new campsite, playing games, exploring and enjoying nature along the way.  This beautiful island has miles of shoreline, dunes, forests, meadows, and two inland lakes.  Come explore with us!

Canoeing the Big Manistee
12-14 year olds
$430 ($344 for CNC Members)
June 24-28, 9:30 am Mon-4 pm Fri

Join us for an amazing trip down the Big Manistee River. On Monday, we’ll head north and camp on the river bank before hopping into our canoes Tuesday morning. Each day, we’ll paddle downriver, stopping at a different spot each night. With lots of wildlife and excellent fishing, there will be plenty of time for exploration and fun. You’ll learn teamwork and communication skills while gaining a sense of accomplishment.

Backpacking the Porcupine Mountains
14-16 year olds
$685 ($548/CNC Members)
July 16-24, 9:30 am Tues-4 pm Wed

On this extended backpacking trip, you will have the opportunity to spend six days exploring the beauty of Porcupine Mountains State Park. We will travel through the backcountry enjoying vistas of Lake Superior and exploring the north woods. We’ll enjoy new friendships, learn new skills, and gain confidence as we successfully complete our route. The first day of this trip will include teambuilding, planning, and organizing for the trip. Join us for this amazing adventure; we may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights dancing over Lake Superior.


Register for Nature Day Camp 2019 beginning March 5!

Register online, by phone or in person

The 2019 brochure will be posted Jan 2019

2018 Nature Day Camp Brochure

Registration Instructions

Check back after March 5 to see camps with availability

Nature Day Camp Before and After Care

Who can attend? Children ages 3-12 who are enrolled in a regular, full-day session of Nature Day Camp. This program is not available for camps held at the Nature Preschool Building (all half-day sessions and Habitat Hunters).

What are the hours? 7:30-9:30 am & 3:30-5:30 pm

Where is it located? Drop off and pick up are at the Homestead Barn.

How is it staffed? Two staff will be dedicated to this program each week – a  Program Coordinator and a Junior Counselor. All of these staff have been involved with camp for 3 years or longer.

What will the kids do?  Campers of various ages will explore projects chosen by them, such as free play, exploring ecosystems or making art projects, all while building friendships! Snacks will be provided each afternoon and a special breakfast will be provided Friday morning.

How much does it cost? $70/week, $56/CNC member

How do I register? Log-in to your CNC account, click Existing Registration, choose View Details next to your Nature Day Camp registration, then click Update. When you get to the screen where you added camp sessions, just select Camp: Extended Edition for the same week(s) your child is registered for camp and continue through to check out. The new balance will be displayed. Once you pay and check out, your child is registered. You may also call us at 989-631-0830 and we can register you over the phone.

Please note: If your child is registered for Chippewa Rangers, Advanced Chippewa Rangers or Eco Adventures, you will need to register your child separately for both weeks of Camp – Extended Edition.

There are a limited number of spots each week, so please register well ahead of your camp session. 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Steve Frisbee, Camp Director at 989-631-0830 or or Jenn Kirts, Director of Programs at 989-631-0830 or



“My son enjoyed every single day at Nature Day Camp.  He would wake up every morning and announce that he was going to Nature Camp today.  As a parent there is nothing more rewarding that watching your child’s excitement for learning and love of the outdoors.”

“Every year the camp program is wonderful.  My kids love coming.  We plan to attend next summer and we always recommend it to our friends.”

“As always, awesome energetic counselors, plenty of activities, positive, educational – exceptional.”


Enthusiastic teens who enjoy working with young children in an outdoor setting can volunteer as Counselors-in-Training (CITs)! CITs assist a counselor with their group of campers throughout the day by leading games, helping with crafts and supervising lunchtime activities. Preference is given to teens that have completed the 9th grade and are available from 9-4, Monday-Friday. We ask that CITs commit to at least two weeks of volunteer work.

Applications due April 13, 2018

For more information about Nature Day Camp,
please contact Steve Frisbee, Nature Day Camp Director, at
(989) 631-0830 or
Donate to Nature Day Camp Scholarships
Summer Adventures for Camps and Day Cares