Summer Camp with the Lake County Forest Preserves

LCFPD is a Little Lake County advertising partner.

Are you trying to decide on a summer camp for your kids this summer? Are you wondering what exactly camp is like? Summer may be a vacation from school for your kids but learning, exploring, and playing shouldn’t stop! Our partners at the Lake County Forest Preserves (LCFPD) sat down to answer some of our questions about what camp is like and other common questions we get from parents about summer camp.

lake county forest preserve camps

Summer Camps at the Lake County Forest Preserves

With so many options for summer camps, why should a parent choose a forest preserve camp?

Our camps stand out because of where they’re held: in some of the best forest preserves and natural areas not only in Lake County, but the Chicago region and even Illinois. It’s simply more fun and enriching to learn, explore, interact, and play in beautiful spaces such as Independence Grove in Libertyville, Lakewood in Wauconda, Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods, the Dunn Museum in Libertyville, and Bonner Heritage Farm in Lindenhurst.

The Forest Preserves’ camps also stand out because of the variety of programs they offer. They have a diverse range of topics covering different facets of nature, history, and art with activities that change each day. We hear constantly how important outdoor play is in a child’s growth and development. The natural spaces used and preserved by LCFPD stimulate campers’ imaginations and foster creativity. Many people might think of “Nature” with a capital “N,” but experiencing it closer to home in a safe, comfortable environment allows campers to connect with the plants, animals, and landscapes they see every day.

If you’re looking for a way to ensure your kids are outside this summer, these camps are the ones you want. Most of the Forest Preserves’ camps are held completely outdoors in a forest preserve. The few camps that aren’t held totally outside have components of the day outside. The vast majority of camp days begin, continue, and end in nature. Different camps incorporate activities such as fishing, biking, hiking, planting, harvesting, canoeing, swimming, netting, wildlife observation, and more.

lake county forest preserves summer camps
Photo provided by Lake County Forest Preserves

I can hear the naysayers already: what about the heat? The severe weather? We’ve had our fair share of extreme summer weather in Lake County. The safety of all their campers is incredibly important to LCFPD. Camp staff use all the weather information available to make the best decision possible. Some of their standards are:

  • Camps are not canceled due to rain. On rainy days, we ask campers to bring rain attire. If lightning persists more than 30 minutes in your camper’s location, camp may be canceled.
  • When the heat index reaches 100 degrees, activities are altered or camp may be canceled.
  • When a cancellation occurs, the camper’s emergency contacts are notified by phone to come pick up the camper. Notifications of camp cancellations and changes are also emailed to all of the email addresses provided.
  • The Dunn Museum and Ryerson Conservation Area have indoor space, so they are unlikely to cancel due to weather.

Now, how do you choose which camp is best for your child? We gave LCFPD some scenarios on types of children and families and they recommended camps for us:

If I’m honest camp is the last thing my child would choose to do on their own. If they were planning the perfect summer it would include being inside on screens for most (all?) of the day. How can I get my techy kids outdoors and exploring nature?

We recommend trying Spiders, Slugs, and Really Cool Bugs Camp! Each day of this five-day camp involves searching for and learning about Lake County’s invertebrates in different habitat types, from forest to field and pond. Available for ages 8–9.

My kids love being outside but are not the sit quietly and watch for birds. What camp is best for them?

We recommend Pondering Plants Camp. Through interactive activities and crafts, campers will discover what is amazing about the plant world and the connections we have with it, plus why it’s important for us to take care of plants. Available for ages 6–7.

We saw the Marvelocity exhibit and it was SO COOL! Do you have a camp experience that will work with that exhibit?

We do not offer a camp exclusive to “Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross” at the Dunn Museum, but Time Travelers Camp will help campers explore the Museum’s exhibit galleries.

We have multiple kids, busy schedules and vacations planned. What kind of flexibility do you offer (read: I’m not looking to fill our whole summer)

Our camps are very flexible for the busy summer vacation schedule! Each camp runs three or five days. Topics, age groups, and locations change weekly from June 10 through August 5. This makes it easy to mix and match throughout the summer for different interests, ages, and availabilities.

Which of your camps will offer a little bit of everything for the multi-passionate child?

All of our camps offer several different activities throughout the week, but Time Travelers Camp, Little Explorers Camp, Adaptation Adventures Camp, and Art Around Us Camp have a wide diversity.

lake county forest preserves summer camps
Photo provided by Lake County Forest Preserves

Are you intrigued?

Camp starts for children ages 4-5 with an adult, which is a great way to start the camp experience and not worry about separation anxiety. For those children who are first-time campers, the Forest Preserves recommend Little Explorers Camp, new for 2019. Campers can wander through woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, using their senses to observe and discover the plants, animals, and features that make these natural areas special.

For older first-time campers, they recommend Pint-Sized Farmers Camp, Pondering Plants Camp, or Time Travelers Camp.

Camp sizes are kept small, ranging from 8-16 campers who are all within a one-to-two-year age range. This means your kids will have lots of hands-on time and attention and get to really engage with the material and make friends. Every day at camp truly is different from the last, creating a well-rounded experience. All camp staff are certified in first aid, CPR, AED, and Epi-Pen and asthma inhaler use, too.

lake county forest preserve camps

Learn more and register for Lake County Forest Preserve Summer Camps

Connect with the Lake County Forest Preserve District:
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Disclosure: Lake County Forest Preserves is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner. They provided us with the information needed to write the story. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you are interested in having your business featured please contact us.

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About Melissa Haak 898 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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