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Registration begins Friday, March 16th at 9 a.m. 

How to Register:

Discovery Day Camp Registration- Online Form

Members- Discovery Day Camp Registration- Online Form

Camp Registration Form- PDF version

Camp Tuition:

Adventurers & Pioneers Camps
All day camp 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Explorers Camp
Half-day camp 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Junior Camp
All day camp, times vary

*Current members receive 10% off and can register a day early on Thursday, March 15th.

Tuition includes: registration fee, camp t-shirt, take home crafts, 5:1 camper to counselor ratio, curriculum, guest speakers and admission to the Friday’s family program.

Ways to register:
• Check back here on Friday, March 16th at 9 a.m. for access to register online
• Or you can print the forms out and mail or bring them to TNI. Forms will also be available on the date above

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

Payment options available

Camp Materials

General Day at Pioneers Camp

General Day at Explorers Camp

General Day at Adventurers Camp

Donation List

Parent Manual & FAQ

Camp Registration Form- PDF version

Camp Packet- Health and Permission Forms- Online submit 

Camp Packet- Health and Permission Forms- PDF

Camp Checklist- What to Bring to Camp


What is Discovery Day Camp? 

Your camper will enjoy a week 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.

Discovery Day Camp dates and descriptions: 

Apply here starting Friday, March 16th at 9 a.m.

Discovery Day Camp Registration Form- Online Form

Members Only- Discovery Day Camp Registration Form- Online Form

Camp Registration Form- PDF version

Explorers (3-6 years and potty trained)

Once Upon a Summer Camp- June 4-8, 2018 – 8:30 a.m. to noon SOLD OUT
This week at camp we will have adventures that are worthy of story books. Campers will read a different book each day that focuses on an interesting and important part of the natural world. Then, they will hike the trails looking for the animals or plants from the story. At the end of the week, your camper will be able to tell you their summer camp story with enthusiasm and new nature knowledge.

Reading the Trail- July 9-13, 2018- 8:30 a.m. to noon
How often do we walk down a sidewalk or across a lawn without noticing what is going on there? This week at camp, your child will develop their skills of observation. Campers will hike the trails looking for signs of animals and other people that were there before them. Your camper will come home able to identify some tracks, scat, and even some common ways humans leave a trail to follow.

Learn more about Explorers Camp

Adventurers (age 6-9)

Backyard Safari– June 11-15, 2018 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. SOLD OUT
What can you find in your backyard? A lion? A giraffe? Maybe not, but there some equally awesome animals and plants that grow in our local ecosystems. This week your child will use their skills of observation and inquiry to learn about the world around them. Each day in addition to the awesome hikes and adventures, your child will have the chance to dive deep into the characteristics and behaviors of a native Illinois animal.

Squatch Watch– June 25-29, 2018 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. SOLD OUT
Do you believe in Sasquatch? What about Dragons or the Piasa Bird? We have many stories and legends that surround our area. This week your child will become and investigator and see if these legends hold any water here at TNI. Maybe they will find a new creature that has never been seen before.

The Five Kingdoms- July 16-20, 2018 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. SOLD OUT
What are the five kingdoms? This week at camp, your child will become a scientist sent to classify and learn as much as they can about the 5 Kingdoms. This adventure will be one full of knowledge and exploration.

Learn more about Adventurers Camp

Pioneers (age 9-12)

From Seed to Shining Seed– June 18-21, 2018 – 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. *Thursday, June 21 until 10 p.m.
We all know what a seed is and how to make it grow, but what else can we do with seeds? This week at camp we will learn how to plant seeds in a greenhouse, explore some of the plants with huge and tiny seeds, and maybe even try a seed or two.

Getting Back to our Roots- July 23-26, 2018- 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. *Thursday, July 26 until 10 p.m.
How old is the tree at the bottom of heart attack hill? Our campers this week will explore the rich history of this region by studying the trees in it. We have trees that started growing before the United States was an independent country, and others that germinated after the ‘93 flood. Explore the stories that these trees have seen.

Learn more about Pioneers Camp

Junior Camp (12+)

Backcountry TNI- July 30-Aug 3, 2018, Times will vary SOLD OUT
This week at camp, we will be exploring the less traversed areas of TNI. We will have new
adventures in well loved places like cypress pond and Olin Nature Preserve and we will explore new places like the top of an oak tree and our newest trail. We will also see TNI at night. Our overnight camping location will be TNI’s Skeet Range and we will be able to do a night hike, cook over the campfire, and search for stars.

The Nature Institute
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