Field Trips

Denali Discovery Camp

Child examining a skull
Kids of all ages can enjoy Discovery Camp

NPS Photo / Nathan Kostegian

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Program Overview

Since 2000, Denali Discovery Camp has provided local children with experiential learning adventures through hands-on exploration in Denali National Park. Offered by the Denali Education Center partnering with the National Park Service through the Murie Science & Learning Center, this week-long day camp is open to students entering 1st-8th grades. In small peer groups, campers will hike, camp, explore and discover in the diverse habitats of Denali National Park.

Through age-appropriate games, hikes and activities led by expert instructors, participants will gain an understanding of Denali Discovery Camp's main content areas: habitat, wildlife, plant life, natural science, and landscape and wilderness. Balancing between structured activities and informal exploration, campers will have the opportunity to discover a personal connection to Denali National Park. While using the wilderness classroom is a privilege, Denali Discovery Camp teaches and adheres to the principles of Leave No Trace and strives to maintain a low impact camp experience for current and future Discovery Campers.

Denali Discovery Camp is open to students entering 1st-8th grade. Group assignment is determined by the student's grade in the fall of 2012. Click on the group names to find out more information about each group.
«   Nature Scouts………………students entering 1st & 2nd grades; $200
«   Denali Detectives…………students entering 3rd & 4th grades; $225
«   Ecosystem Explorers………students entering 5th & 6th grades; $250
«   Wilderness Researchers……students entering 7th & 8th grades; $275

Full-tuition scholarships are available through the Scott Menke Memorial Fund and are awarded based on financial need. Please contact the Denali Education Center for more information.

Denali Discovery Camp Goals

«   Provide an opportunity for children to experience the outdoors in a fun and safe manner.
«   Develop a sense of inquiry and curiosity about the natural world.
«   Cultivate skills of observation, awareness, and reflection about our environment.
«   Promote understanding of the subarctic ecosystem.
«   Convey the significance of Denali National Park and Preserve as a protected ecosystem.
«   Foster stewardship of wilderness and wild places.

General Information
General Camp Structure
While each group has its own daily excursions, all four groups meet up with the entire group twice during the week. Monday morning kicks off the week with a brief orientation highlighting camp preparedness, Leave No Trace and wildlife safety. Campers will also use this time to meet their instructors and fellow campers. On Friday afternoon, campers come together to celebrate their adventures and share experiences from the week with other groups and families.

During the week, each group will explore the major habitat areas of Denali National Park and Preserve through hikes and educational activities led by the camp staff. Some of the hikes are led by Park naturalists or scientists that are currently doing research in the Park.

Each group will have an overnight camping experience: The youngest campers, Nature Scouts and Denali Detectives, camp out on Thursday night at Savage River Campground and the Teklanika Field Camp, respectively. The Ecosystem Explorers will camp out Wednesday and Thursday nights at Igloo Campground. The Wilderness Researchers will spend Tuesday afternoon through Friday morning at Wonder Lake Campground.

On Friday, each group will conduct closing activities in the field and campers will be given a chance to evaluate the program. We will conclude camp with a closing ceremony and barbecue at the Denali Education Center; all campers, staff and families are invited to share in the experience.

Denali Discovery Camp Staff

We maintain an engaging learning atmosphere in each Denali Discovery Camp group by bringing together instructors of varying talents and creativity. With a student to instructor ratio of three-to-one, each group is led by a Park Ranger and two other instructors hired for their local knowledge and experience working with youth. The instructor teams share their collective wealth of knowledge with the participants in the form of fun, hands-on, and informative activities.

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