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What is Discovery Day Camp?

Your camper will enjoy a week at TNI Camp full of exploration, stream discovery and nature knowledge at The Nature Institute. We will explore the woods, prairies and ponds on Olin Nature Preserve and will play in the streams and waterfalls on the Mississippi Sanctuary.

Campers will have opportunities to gain STEAM skills while playing on our natural playground which includes a Mud Kitchen, Fossil Dig, Art Center, Burrow, Eagle’s Nest, Climbing Wall and much more. Campers will come home with new facts and understanding about our state’s natural resources. Expect to hear about the new adventures your camper experienced while outdoors.

Are you 16 years or older and have an enthusiasm for the outdoors? The Nature Institute is currently looking for individuals that are interested in sharing that excitement this summer as an Environmental Education Counselor. View details of this seasonal, part-time position and become a member of TNI’s team.


Explorers (3-6 years)

Camper must be potty trained

Backbone Not Required
June 3-7, 2019 – 8:30 a.m. to noon
What do insects, spiders, snails, and centipedes have in common? They’ve got no spine! It takes a strong outer shell and some wild adaptations to be a spine-less creature in the natural world. Join us for a week of investigation in decomposers, predator-prey relationships, and games that help us understand the strange characteristics of invertebrates.

Habitats are Hip
July 22-26, 2019- 8:30 a.m. to noon
How would you become invisible in your own backyard? Come think like an animal and discover the critters hiding in plain sight! Find out which species are on the prowl, which are clever in the way they escape, and how all the living things around us are connected.

$140, current members receive 15% off

Adventurers (age 6-9)

***SOLD OUT*** Branching Out
June 10-14, 2019 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tall trees, short trees, fallen trees, and snags – each one plays an important part in the forest ecosystem! During this week of bark, branches, twigs, and stumps, get to know the quiet giants of the forest through up-close examination, sensory learning, and stealth games. Come and explore with us and have a “tree-mendous” week!

Let’s Wing It
June 17-21, 2019- 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Why doesn’t a woodpecker get a concussion? How can a falcon fly so fast? Could a hawk see an ant from the top of a 10-story building? Why do crows always bother predatory birds? Hone your “owl eyes” to find a new feathered friend during this week-long, winged adventure and find out what the birds might be telling us about the natural world!

Marvelous Mammals
July 8-12, 2019 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I am warm, fuzzy, and always on the lookout for food. What am I? During this week, you will learn the
remarkable traits and adaptations that make mammals the masters of their environment. Become a crafty coyote, a restless rodent, or a burrowing bunny and try to survive the food chain.

***SOLD OUT*** Wild Watersheds
July 15-19, 2019 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All water goes downhill, but where does it end up, and how does it change the land? Investigate the ecology of the river, the upland forests, and the soggy wetlands that are home to many birds

$200.00, current members receive 15% off


Pioneers (age 9-12)

***SOLD OUT*** – Having a Blast with Chloroplasts
June 24-27, 2019 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*Thursday, June 27 until 10 p.m.
Turning sun into sugar is tricky business, but it is a full-time job for the ground plants, mosses, and ferns around us! Get down and dirty during this week of herbaceous investigation and discover how the plants at our feet become a source of water, shelter, food, or in some cases – delicious teas and medicine!

Junior Camp (12+)

***SOLD OUT*** July 29-Aug 2, 2019 – Times will vary
This camp is designed to allow experienced campers to dive deep into nature exploration and a deeper understanding of the world around them. Campers are given the opportunity to learn new skills, have new experiences and attend an overnight camping trip a The Nature Institute.

$200.00, current members receive 15% off

How to Register for Discovery Day Camp?

Step 1: Choose the session that best suits your camper

  • Our camp sessions are based on age. If your child will be 6 years old at the time of camp, then review the options for campers that are 6-9 years old.

Step 2: Consider becoming a member

  • Current members, at a $60 membership or higher, receive 15% off and can register a day early on Thursday, March 14th.
  • Already a member? Congrats you’re a step above the pack. Members can register here or the link below.

Step 3: Register here or in person starting March 15th.


or print, complete, and return: Send your form and camp payment* to 2213 S. Levis Lane in Godfrey, Il


*Please note: Only when you submit the $25.00 deposit and a completed registration form will your child be guaranteed a spot in camp.

What to Expect Next?

You’ve completed registration, now what? There are a few more things that we need you to complete in order for your child to come to camp: 

  • An invoice/receipt will be sent to the email address provided during registration. Review this to make sure all information is correct. Let us know if something is wrong. 
  • Health and permission forms: These need to be completed and turned in no later than two (2) weeks prior to your child’s session. There are a couple of ways to finish this: 
    • Get your emergency contact numbers and health insurance info, and complete this form online. Typically, it takes parents roughly 5 minutes to fill out. Please note that once your begin, you will not be able to save and return to it.
    • Print these forms and send to 2213 S. Levis Lane in Godfrey, IL 
  • Complete full payment: Your $25 deposit holds a camp spot, your full payment ensures that your camper participates once camp begins. Payment in full is due no later than two (2) weeks prior to your child’s session. Make payments how you see fit. How to make payments: 
    • Pay directly from your invoice with your debit/credit card. Invoices will be sent to the email address provided on the registration form.
    • Send payment through mail. Be sure to add your camper’s name in the subject line.
  • Review what to bring to camp and pack a great summer camp backpack!
  • Interested in helping us with camp supplies? See what we use the most in this donation wish-list
  • Still have questions? See if it’s answered in the FAQ-Parent Manual
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