PLEASE NOTE: RMSC Cumming Nature Center is closed from Sunday, November 13 through Wednesday, December 14. Trails and buildings are closed to the public.

Cumming Nature Center

Summer Curiosity Camps

Explore the wonders of our world with Summer Curiosity Camps at the Cumming Nature Center!

Curiosity Camps

Explore the wonders of our world with Summer Curiosity Camps at Cumming Nature Center! Each camp offers a different theme to immerse your child in the natural world and spark their curiosity. With 900+ acres and 15 miles of hiking trails, the beautiful surroundings of the the Nature Center are an ideal setting for campers to learn basic wilderness skills, nature science, outdoor team-building activities, nature awareness, and more.

All CNC camps take place at the RMSC Cumming Nature Center in Naples, NY. 

Members receive first access registration! RMSC and Pines Pass members get first access to registration on CNC Summer camps. Not a member? Learn about the perks of RMSC Membership or Pines Pass membership.


IMPORTANT CAMP INFORMATION

  • All camps at CNC are Full Day camps, running from 9am until 4pm. Extended Care is available, see details below.
  • Check-in: For camps at Cumming Nature Center, check-in takes place at the Nature Center unless otherwise noted.
  • We do offering busing from the RMSC’s Rochester campus to the Nature Center for select camps for an additional fee. These camps can be identified with the bus icon: 47295-8-school-bus-free-transparent-image-hd.png
  • Prior to registering, please review our CNC Summer Camp Information & Policies for all of the additional information you’ll need to know before your campers first day.
  • To register call 585.697.1942 or explore Camps by Age below to register online. Registration is required prior to the start of camp. You may not register other people’s children.
  • Campers are grouped based on the age of the child at the time of the camp.
  • Campers must bring their own lunch and snacks.

Extended Care Options

Extended care is available Monday – Friday at the Cumming Nature Center for campers getting picked up or dropped off at the CNC. Registration for Extended Care is required.

Need extra time before and after the camp day? Sign up for extended care and your camper will enjoy supervised, unstructured playtime monitored by camp staff. Save $5 when you sign up for the whole week!

  • Before Care: $6/day or $25/week
  • Before Care runs from 7:45 – 9:00am
  • After Care (available for Full Day Campers): $6/day or $25/week
  • After Care runs from 4:15 – 5:30pm

Campers that have not been picked up by 4:15 PM will be enrolled in After Care and charged accordingly. Campers that have not been picked up by 5:30 PM will be charged a $10 late fee. Campers that have not been picked up by 5:45 will be charged a $25 late fee.


Camp Scholarships

Financial assistance is available for Summer Curiosity Camps at CNC. Need-based scholarships can be used to cover camp tuition, as well as bussing fees to transport campers to the Nature Center. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Applications for Summer Curiosity Camps are accepted on a rolling basis and are dependant on available funds.

The RMSC is grateful to our many generous donors who make this support possible:


Camp Offerings by Age & Theme

Ages 6-8

Week 1 — Pond and Stream Explorers

Week 1 (July 5-8)

Dragonfly nymphs, spotted newts, tadpoles, and water scorpions are just some of the animals to discover in the water at CNC. Through games and hands-on experience, campers learn about the unique lives and adaptations of amphibians, insects, and other animals found in ponds and streams. The importance of a variety of freshwater aquatic habitats will be investigated. There will also be opportunities to collect data, analyze basic water chemistry, try fishing, do arts and crafts, cool one’s toes in the creek, and build a miniature boat to sail downstream.

Cost: $224/wk *This camp runs Tues-Fri

Week 1 — Field Guide to Fairies and Gnomes

Week 1 (July 5-8)

The natural world provides all the wonder needed for curious minds to find magic behind every mossy stump, whispering tree, or field flower. Campers will build fairy and gnome homes, create mud trolls, and much more, all while exploring the tiny wonders found under leaves and rocks in the forest. A Field Guide of stories, descriptions, and illustrations by our spritely group will be collected throughout the week, to be anthologized into an enchanting book everyone takes home!

Cost: $224/wk *This camp runs Tues-Fri

Week 2 — Superpower Senses

Week 2 (July 11-15)

What if you could smell your next meal from a mile away? What if you could spot a mouse in the pitch black night? What if you could hear the ants marching underground? Animals have special superpower senses to survive in the wild. Come walk the woods in the footsteps of the animals. Explore nature with all five senses through activities, games, challenges and play. Tune in to your own superpowers and become a wilder you!

Cost: $275

Week 3 — Muck Hunters

Week 3 (July 18-22)

“Who are the masters of the swamp?” asks the skunk cabbage. The other critters of the muck gurgle and glug names like slug, salamander, and ring-necked snake. Campers will spend the week playing in the mud, practicing camouflage games, and exploring the amazing life within the wetlands, squish by squish. *Rubber boots recommended for this camp

Cost: $275

Week 3 — Nature’s Playground

Week 3 (July 18-22)

From stump-jumping and dirt-digging to fort-making and wand-waving, this camp is all about imagination and play. Under the guidance of CNC’s outdoor play experts, campers will use natural materials to create their own toys and game pieces, explore stealth and cooperation through guided group play, and hike, spash, tumble, climb, and jump their way through the woods.

Cost: $275

Week 4 — Pond and Stream Explorers

Week 4 (July 25-29)

Dragonfly nymphs, spotted newts, tadpoles, and water scorpions are just some of the animals to discover in the water at CNC. Through games and hands-on experience, campers learn about the unique lives and adaptations of amphibians, insects, and other animals found in ponds and streams. The importance of a variety of freshwater aquatic habitats will be investigated. There will also be opportunities to collect data, analyze basic water chemistry, try fishing, do arts and crafts, cool one’s toes in the creek, and build a miniature boat to sail downstream.

Cost: $275

Week 5 — Friends of the Forest

Week 5 (Aug 1-5)

Calling all friends of the forest!  Explore the forests of the Cumming Nature Center and investigate the animals that live there!  Listen for birds, hunt for tracks, and discover the connections and mysteries of the animal world.  Hike to the Beaver Pond, play animal games, and become one with the creatures in the woods.  

Cost: $275

Week 6 — Nature’s Playground

Week 6 (August 8-12)

From stump-jumping and dirt-digging to fort-making and wand-waving, this camp is all about imagination and play. Under the guidance of CNC’s outdoor play experts, campers will use natural materials to create their own toys and game pieces, explore stealth and cooperation through guided group play, and hike, spash, tumble, climb, and jump their way through the woods.

Cost: $275

Week 7 — Muck Hunters

Week 7 (August 15-19)

“Who are the masters of the swamp?” asks the skunk cabbage. The other critters of the muck gurgle and glug names like slug, salamander, and ring-necked snake. Campers will spend the week playing in the mud, practicing camouflage games, and exploring the amazing life within the wetlands, squish by squish. *Rubber boots recommended for this camp

Cost: $275

Week 8 — Field Guide to Fairies and Gnomes

Week 8 (August 22-26)

The natural world provides all the wonder needed for curious minds to find magic behind every mossy stump, whispering tree, or field flower. Campers will build fairy and gnome homes, create mud trolls, and much more, all while exploring the tiny wonders found under leaves and rocks in the forest. A Field Guide of stories, descriptions, and illustrations by our spritely group will be collected throughout the week, to be anthologized into an enchanting book everyone takes home!

Cost: $275

Week 8 — Friends of the Forest

Week 8 (August 22-26)

Calling all friends of the forest!  Explore the forests of the Cumming Nature Center and investigate the animals that live there!  Listen for birds, hunt for tracks, and discover the connections and mysteries of the animal world.  Hike to the Beaver Pond, play animal games, and become one with the creatures in the woods.  

Cost:  $275

Ages 9-11

Week 1 — Tinder, Spark & Flame

Week 1 (July 5-8)

With a steady breath you bring your bundle of bark and grasses to life; watch as the flame you created grows larger as it’s fed bits of dry goldenrod, bark, and twigs. This camp explores the basics of firemaking and how to use fire as a tool. Campers will learn how to create and manage fire in a safe and responsible way through hands-on activities, games, and storytelling. Opportunities to practice outdoor cooking, make a burned bowl, and learn more campfire bushcraft skills will be offered throughout the week.

Cost: $224/wk *This camp runs Tues-Fri

Week 2 — Nature’s Palette

Week 2 (July 11-15)

Nature can inspire art and provide the tools to make it. This camp will experiment with making paints and stains from minerals and plants, and paint brushes from pine needles and grasses. Campers will have opportunities to try crafts like pottery and cobb, weaving, cordage, printing, and more. Time for hiking, exploration and nature games will be offered. Create a field journal, a palette of nature paints, and crafts to take home.

Cost: $275

Week 3 — Woodland Architects

Week 3 (July 18-22)

Shelters! Bridges! Birdhouses! Dive into a week of design and creation as you gather, stack, tie, hammer and glue. Campers will have the opportunity to work individually and in groups to design and create several projects that either use materials found in the woods or benefit our ecosystem. There will also be time for hiking, exploration, and games. This camp will culminate in a final group project, designed and built by the group!

Cost: $275

Week 4 — Junior Naturalists

Week 4 (July 25-29)

Discover the complexities of the natural world in a week of exploration at Cumming Nature Center. Campers will learn to identify insects, trees, reptiles and amphibians, and use a plant press to start their own naturalist collection. Come hike the trails, experience the backwoods, explore the ponds, and join in on eco-games as you become a junior naturalist. 

Cost: $275

Week 5 — Pond & Stream Explorers

Week 5 (Aug 1-5)

Dragonfly nymphs, spotted newts, tadpoles, and water scorpions are just some of the animals to discover in the water at CNC. Through games and hands-on experience, campers learn about the unique lives and adaptations of amphibians, insects, and other animals found in ponds and streams. The importance of a variety of freshwater aquatic habitats will be investigated. There will also be opportunities to collect data, analyze basic water chemistry, try fishing, do arts and crafts, cool one’s toes in the creek, and build a miniature boat to sail downstream.

Cost: $275

Week 6 — Digging Through Time

Week 6 (August 8-12)

Help uncover the history of Frost Town and learn about the Euro-American settlers who migrated to the Bristol Hills 200 years ago! History will come alive as campers try pioneer skills like pottery and pit firing, drop spindle spinning, candle making, weaving, building fieldstone walls, roofing shakes, and learning to cook pioneer foods like corn cakes and apples n’ onions over an open fire. Campers will also visit the Frost Town archaeological site for a hands-on archaeological experience. 

Cost: $275 

*This camp meets at the RMSC Museum (657 East Avenue, Rochester NY 14607) on Wednesday, August 10. Please call 585.374.6160 with questions.

Week 7 —Tinder, Spark, & Flame

Week 7 (Aug. 15-19)

With a steady breath you bring your bundle of bark and grasses to life; watch as the flame you created grows larger as it’s fed bits of dry goldenrod, bark, and twigs. This camp explores the basics of firemaking and how to use fire as a tool. Campers will learn how to create and manage fire in a safe and responsible way through hands-on activities, games, and storytelling. Opportunities to practice outdoor cooking, make a burned bowl, and learn more campfire bushcraft skills will be offered throughout the week.

Cost: $275

Week 8 — Bushcraft Adventures

Week 8 (Aug. 22-26)

The beautiful, natural surroundings of Cumming Nature Center offer an ideal setting for this discovery-based camp. Fire skills, nature awareness games, foraging, trail navigation, and campfire cookery are just some of the activities Outdoor Adventurers will enjoy during their week at CNC. Campers will have the option to try their hand at whittling a spoon or bowl, making a throw stick, leathercrafting, and more.

Cost: $275

Ages 12-15

Week 2 — Survivor

Week 2 (July 11-15)

Learn what it takes to survive in the wilderness! Campers will build debris huts, get clean water, make tools, and learn several ways to build fire. You will learn the art of natural navigation, stalking skills, edible plant identification, and basic bushcraft activities as you get to know your survival buddies deep in the forests of Cumming Nature Center. End the week with an ultimate Survivor challenge!

Cost: $275 

Week 4 — Survivor

Week 4 (July 25-29)

Learn what it takes to survive in the wilderness! Campers will build debris huts, get clean water, make tools, and learn several ways to build fire. You will learn the art of natural navigation, stalking skills, edible plant identification, and basic bushcraft activities as you get to know your survival buddies deep in the forests of Cumming Nature Center. End the week with an ultimate Survivor challenge!

Cost: $275 

Week 5 — Archaeology Adventure

Week 5 (August 1-5)

Head outdoors and discover what it’s like to work in the fascinating field of archaeology. Uncover the history of the early Euro-American settlers who lived in the Frost Town settlement located on the grounds of Cumming Nature Center. Campers will participate in a guided archaeological excavation, open test units, and find real artifacts from this 200 year-old settlement. In addition, campers can try their hand at pioneer skills, crafts, and living through hands-on activities!

Cost: $275 

*This camp meets at the RMSC Museum (657 East Avenue, Rochester NY 14607) on Wednesday, August 3. Please call 585.374.6160 with questions.

Week 6 — Youth Hunter and Waterfowl Camp

Week 6 (August 8-12)

Explore the tradition of hunting while learning the importance wildlife management, habitat, and how to be a positive role model for sportsperson activities. Activity topics include conservation ethics, firearm safety, hunting safety, waterfowl and wildlife identification.  The sportsman portion of the camp will be taught by Department of Environmental Conservation personnel. In addition to attending a week of camp, youth will obtain their New York State Hunter Education and Waterfowl Education Certificates.

*Participants who wish to obtain the certifications will be required to complete a workbook for each certification before camp.

*11 year olds can participate in this camp upon request. Call the nature center at 585.374.6160 for details.

Cost: $275

Week 7 — Youth Bowhunter & Trapping Camp

Week 7 (August 15-19)

Explore the heritage skills of bow hunting and trapping. Youth hunters will learn about wildlife and furbearer management, environmental conservation, wildlife tracking, archery, trapping safety and wildlife ethics. The sportsman portion of the camp will be taught by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation personnel. In addition to attending a week of camp, youth will obtain their New York State Bowhunter Education and Trapper Education Certificates.

*Participants who wish to obtain the certifications will be required to complete a workbook for each certification before camp.

*11 year olds can participate in this camp upon request. Call the nature center at 585.374.6160 for details.

Cost: $275 

Walden Summer Experience for Ages 14-18

Week 2 — Walden Summer Experience

Week 2 (July 11-15)

This summer you can experience a week of The Walden Project, the innovative outdoor high school program inspired by Henry David Thoreau and based at Cumming Nature Center! This week-long camp is perfect for students who are considering a year at Walden – or anyone who is interested in exploring self, society, and the environment. Participants will be immersed in the Walden experience: talking philosophy around the campfire, hiking through the woods, nature writing, gardening, and more! 

Transportation from RMSC’s Rochester campus to the Nature Center is available on a case-by-case basis for an additional fee. To inquire about transportation for this camp, please email wbrown@rmsc.org

Cost: $275