What's Summer Discovery Camp Like? | EcoTarium

What's Summer Discovery Camp Like?

Campers spend their time at the EcoTarium indoors and out, investigating the museum and grounds, and traveling to the EcoTarium's 320-acre field site in Rutland, Massachusetts (Outdoor Adventures and Wild About Nature camp sessions only; all ages except Tadpoles)

Our counselors start the day by engaging kids in fun, thematic science activities, working by age group. After lunch, campers take time to "cool down" in the planetarium, and then choose between a sport, craft, or other activity.

Each camp week is divided into five age groups:  Tadpoles (5-6), Eagle Eyes (7-8), Explorers (9-10), Investigators (11-12) and Counselors-in-Training (13-14).  Each group explores that week's theme with age-appropriate activities and fun.  Many campers return year after year, advancing from one age group to the next and building on skills learned the year before.

Regular camp hours are 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Half-day camp hours for Tadpoles (ages 5-6) are 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Extended hours are available for all campers in the morning and evening.

Each Summer Discovery Camp session ends with a family pizza party on Friday, so campers can share their experiences with their families.

A Typical Day at Summer Discovery Camp

*Subject to change according to camp theme and weather

For Campers Ages 7-14

  • 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Morning Extended Hours
  • 8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Campers arrive and check in with Counselors
  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m Morning Meeting
  • 9:20 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Morning Programs
    • 9:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  Program Block A
    • 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Snack Break
    • 10:45 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Program Block B
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. Lunch (whole camp)
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Cool Down Activity (whole camp)
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Camper Choice Activity
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. Afternoon Programs
    • 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Program Block C
    • 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Program Block D
  • 3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Afternoon Meeting
  • 4:00 p.m. Sign-out
  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Afternoon Extended Hours

For Tadpole Campers Ages 5 and 6

  • 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Morning Extended Hours
  • 8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Campers Arrive and check in with Counselors
  • 9:05 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Morning Meeting
  • 9:20 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Morning Programs
    • 9:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Program Block A
    • 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Snack Break
    • 10:45 a.m. –11:00 a.m. Playground Time/ Indoor Free Play (weather depending)
    • 11:00 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Program Block B
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:20 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Half Day Campers Sign Out
  • 12:30 p.m. –1:00 p.m. Cool Down Activity (whole camp)
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. Afternoon Programs
    • 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Program Block C
    • 2:15p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Snack Break
    • 2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Playground Time/Indoor Free Play (Weather Depending)
    • 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Program Block D
  • 3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Afternoon Wrap-Up
  • 4:00 p.m. Sign-out
  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Afternoon Extended Hours

A Typical Camp Day at Rutland (for Outdoor Adventures and Wild About Nature sessions)*

  • 9:00 a.m. Campers arrive
  • 9:05 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Ride bus to camp site in Rutland
  • 10:05 a.m. - 10:25 a.m. Morning meeting (whole camp)
    • Review daily schedule
    • Announcements
    • Songs!
    • Snack
  • 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Morning programs
  • 12:05 p.m. -12:30 p.m. Lunch (whole camp)
  • 12:35 p.m - 1:15 p.m. Sport or craft activity period
  • 1:20 p.m. - 1:55 p.m. Cool down activity
  • 1:55 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. Afternoon activities
  • 2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Daily wrap up (whole camp)
    • Reflect on the day's activities
    • Review announcements
    • Songs!
  • 3:05 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Ride bus to the EcoTarium/Sign-out

*Tadpoles do not travel to Rutland, but do have fun outdoor experiences at the EcoTarium.

Friday Family Pizza Party

  • 5:00 p.m. Sign-out
  • 5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. Enjoy pizza, mingle with other camp families, explore the museum grounds, and let your camper guide you through his or her favorite exhibits
  • 6:15 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. Join us in the Planetarium for introductions and 'shout-outs' from our counselors, a sing-along, and a photo slideshow to see what your camper has been up to
  • 6:45 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Say your goodbyes to friends and favorite exhibits

Tadpole Camp: Ages 5-6

Children ages 5 and 6 can enroll in each Summer Discovery Camp session for a half-day or full-day program. Sessions run Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., or 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and have a maximum of 15 campers. Extended day options are also available for full-day campers.

Counselor-in-Training Program: Ages 13-14

Our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program is for young teens interested in learning and teaching science and nature topics. Teens learn team-building activities and build their leadership skills alongside their peers. They discover firsthand what it’s like to be a camp counselor as well as productive members of their community. CIT’s learn to apply group-facilitation skills while working with mentor counselors and assisting younger age groups. CIT's will leave this program with a sense of teamwork, stronger communication skills, and a better understanding of who they are as a leader. Camp fees apply.  

Community Service Volunteer Opportunity for Teens – Junior Counselors: Ages 15-16

A great volunteer opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience in the field of nature and science! Junior Counselors earn community service hours while working directly with campers under the supervision of a mentor counselor. Topics include but are not limited to: natural science, engineering, technology, astronomy, and group and team building games. Teaching is through hands-on and inquiry methods that encourage exploration, self-directed learning, and stewardship of the natural environment.

Junior Counselors must commit to a minimum of two weeks. Training sessions are required. Applications are due by April 1, 2017. If you have any questions, call the Camp Director at 508.929.2755.

Camp Staff

EcoTarium’s Summer Discovery Camp is run by experienced educators who are assisted by enthusiastic and engaging Counselors-in-Training and Junior Counselors. The ratio of counselors to campers is 1:10 (Tadpoles 1:5). CPR training, First Aid Certification and background screenings are required for all camp staff.