Children and family activities
Hikes and nature activities
Summer camp at Guelph Lake Nature Centre is all about being outdoors. We believe that the best camp memories come from exploring nature, making discoveries, building a campfire, hiking through the fields and forests, finding frogs and water creatures and connecting with the natural world. Along the way we know that campers will make new friends, learn new games and discover new skills. The camps are action-packed and full of different activities each and every day. All camps focus on environmental discovery and engage campers in the outdoors in a fun, yet educational way. Every camper receives a free nature themed t-shirt.
Campers can enjoy a different camp theme each week with hikes, crafts and activities designed to make the outdoors fun! Participants actively go outside daily to explore the fields and forests that surround the nature centre. Our highly skilled team will share their passion and knowledge of nature and outdoor adventure with your child. Our goal is to connect your child to a lifetime of appreciation for nature and the outdoors.
Senior camps offer kids a little more challenge and are designed to provide an more adventure based camp experience for our older campers. These camps include much longer wilderness treks and some offer caving in Rockwood. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for a listing of camp themes and dates.
All camps run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Supervision is provided from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m for free. Every camper receives a free t-shirt too!
Our staff to camper ratio is 1:8. All staff have first aid training. Grand River Conservation Authority is an Accredited Member of the Ontario Camps Association.
Check out the day camp opportunties at Rockwood if the camp at Guelph Lake is full.
What should my child bring to the camps?
To make sure that your child has the best possible experience at camp, please be sure to send them with the following items:
- A healthy, nut free lunch and drinks (a refillable water bottle is a good choice)
- Extra snacks; we work up a good appetite every day!
- Sun hat and sunscreen
- Rain gear – just in case!
- A change of clothes and shoes. On hot days we may play water games to cool down so a swimsuit may be a good idea.
- Sunscreen and bug spray should be applied before your child comes to camp each day. Staff will remind campers to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Please be sure your child knows how to apply their sunscreen. We do NOT provide or apply sunscreen or bug spray due to the possibility of allergic reactions.
How do I register, and how can I contact the organizer with any questions?
You can register here. A camper information package will be sent to you a week or two before camp. In the meantime if you have any specfic questions please email GuelphLakeNC@grandriver.ca.
What is the refund policy?
Full refunds will be granted if requested six weeks before the first day of camp. Refunds requested after that time and up to three weeks before the first day of camp will be subject to a $50 administration fee. Refunds requested with less than 3 weeks before for the first day of camp will be subject to a $100 administration fee.
JR Camps: Ages 6 - 10
- Buddy Adventure - July 8 - 12– Adopt a stuffed buddy on the first day of camp and take part in an adventure together every day. A few adventures for your buddy will include building shelters, raft racing and scavenger hunts. After a week of fun-filled challenges take your buddy home with you.
- Child in the Wild Survival Challenge - July 15 - 19 - Have you ever wanted to know how to ford raging rapids, make a fire without matches and survive in the wilderness if you are lost? Well here is your chance to learn these important survival skills in a safe place. Learn how to identify and harvest wild edible plants, navigate using nature’s signs and build weather-proof shelters. Each day will bring a fun new challenge!
- Art Outdoors – July 22 - 26 - Let your creative side loose. This week we will experience nature while exploring different art mediums. Topics covered may include painting, sketching, sculpting and digital photography.
- Animal Planet – July 29 – Aug 2- Join us as we explore the Animal Kingdom, looking for furry, feathered and scaly creatures. Our imaginations will take us on a trip around the world as we learn about some of the ecosystems and animals that live on our planet. We will explore the arctic, the oceans, the savannahs, and the forests. We will also be searching for and finding out what lives in our own back yard.
- Storybook Forest- Aug 6 – 9 – Every day we will read one of our favorite nature themed story books and then head outside to enjoy activities based on the story. From fairy tales to tales of survival, there will be games, adventures, scavenger hunts and crafts that will bring our imagination to life.
- Buzz and Flutter – Aug 12 - 16 –There are bugs that wriggle, wobble and flitter, beautiful bugs, scary looking bugs, big and small; we will look for them all. Explore the world of insects with us and learn about pollinators, decomposers, predators and prey. We will look under logs and under the water. We will find out where bugs live, what they eat and how they survive. We will go on bug safaris, make bug crafts and work on projects to help bugs – we might even eat some bugs!
- Sticks, Stones and Bones – Aug 19 – 23 – This week we will look for fossils on the beach, explore rocks and minerals, build shelters with sticks in the forest and investigate animal mysteries by looking at bones. There will be crafts, games and treasure hunts using sticks, stones and bones.
- Nature Spies - Aug 26 - 30 – This week campers will work on sharpening their senses so that they can spy on nature. During the camp we will learn about tracking animals, using binoculars, camouflage, moving silently and spying into the secret lives of animals.
SR camp: ages 10 - 13
- MACH 1 - July 15 – 19 – Are you up for MACH 1 (Multi Adventure Challenge)? During this week your endurance will be put to the test. We head off from the Nature Centre for full days of hiking, biking and exploring. We will learn to use GPS to navigate trails and discover geocaches in the park. On Friday we will explore the caves at the Rockwood Conservation Area. Parents, please note that drop off and pick up on Friday will be at the Rockwood Conservation Area. Campers must supply their own bike for Monday and Tuesday.
- Survival Challenge - July 22 - 26– Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild? Learn to build shelters and tie simple knots. Campers will practice the art of fire building and animal tracking. We will ID, collect and prepare edible wild plants as well! Friday will be spent in Rockwood. Parents, please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday.
- Grand Adventure – July 29 – Aug 2 – Are you ready for an Amazing Race, nature centre style? This active week is full of fun activities that build teamwork and outdoor skills. Participate in challenges that incorporate naturalist skills like birding, hiking, geocaching, orienteering, art, survival skills, photography and more. We will visit the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday to go caving. Parents, please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday morning.
- Zombie Rangers – Aug 12 - 16 – Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse? This week you will learn important survival skills such as finding medicinal and edible plants, shelter building, stalking and camouflage skills and fire by friction. Your survival skills will be put to the test during the zombie apocalypse! We will visit the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday. Parents, please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday morning.
- Nature Ninjas – Aug 19 - 23- Using stealth and awareness, become a protector of the wild spaces around Guelph Lake. Discover the ancient secrets of the Nature Ninja. Draw on traditions both ancient and new, to build epic skills of wilderness survival and invisibility. Join the guardians of our wild realm. Unleash your inner ninja! We will visit the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday. Parents, please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday morning.
- Art Outdoors - Aug 26 - 30 - Let your creative side outside! This week, campers will get to experience nature while using various art mediums. Some topics we might cover include painting, sketching, sculpting and digital photography. We will visit the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday. Parents, please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday morning.
NIT Camp: Ages 14 - 16
- Naturalist in Training - July 8 - 12 – The Naturalist-In-Training (NIT) Level 1 and Level 2 are designed for teens aged 14 (or entering grade 9) -16 who are looking for skills that will help with future employment and an opportunity to complete their community volunteer hours. During this leadership week, campers will have the chance to gain certifications such as emergency first-aid and ORCKA-level canoeing. They will also develop leadership skills and build a knowledge base that will allow them to feel comfortable leading camp activities such as games, arts and crafts and natural history. Campers who have completed NIT Camp with a positive review from their camp staff will be welcomed to come back for a number of complete camp weeks through the remainder of the summer. On Wednesday, campers will stay until 9pm for evening activities and a campfire cookout. Parents please drop your child off at the Rockwood Conservation Area on Friday morning for our canoeing and caving adventure. First year participants will be Level 1 with returning campers joining Level 2.