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Quarry Hill Nature Center

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About Quarry Hill Nature Center

Our Camps are designed by professional environmental science educators and naturalists with your child's enjoyment and safety in mind. Each camp has a unique nature theme. Activities may include pond exploration, live animal programs, hiking, canoeing, bird banding, fossil hunting, cave exploration and much more!

More About Quarry Hill Nature Center

Our Camps are designed by professional environmental science educators and naturalists with your child's enjoyment and safety in mind. Small group sizes are offered to allow for hands-on learning and a great bonding experience. Each camp is led by a Camp Counselor staff and a youth leader assistant. Camper to staff ratio is 12:1 or less. Camp staff is First Aid certified. Each camp has a unique nature theme. Activities may include pond exploration, live animal programs, hiking, canoeing, bird banding, fossil hunting, cave exploration and much more!

Camp sessions are Monday-Friday. Morning session: 9-11:30am. Afternoon session: 12:30-3pm

PreK, must be 4 years old by June 1

Animal Discoveries

Fee $80, $72 members Take a walk on the wild side this summer and discover more about the exciting world of animals at Quarry Hill. Daily puppet shows, songs, art activities, stories and of course lots of time exploring the great outdoors will add up to a week of wild animal fun for your 4 or 5 year old.

Entering grades 1 & 2

Sensational Animals

Fee $80, $72 members Can birds see in color? How does a spider know that something is in its web? Do snakes really smell with their tongues? How well do bats hear? Join us as we explore these questions, how our own 5 senses work and how they compare to animal senses. Each day will be a new adventure filled with plenty of time outdoors exploring, hiking, and playing nature games to bring the senses into sharper focus. We sense you’ll have a great time!

Whiz Kid – NEW!

Fee $80, $72 members Calling all whiz kids who like to build things that float, fly and even explode! Think like a scientist and design like a real engineer as we set out on daily excursions in the park to conduct fun experiments. Building boats, engineering rockets and making things glow in the dark are just a few examples of the fun that awaits! The great outdoors will be our laboratory as we discover how nature puts science to cool use. Goggle up whiz kid... it’s going to be fun!

Entering grades 3 & 4


Archaeology Adventures
Fee $80, $72 members Enjoy solving mysteries? Become one of our digging detectives uncovering clues to Quarry Hill’s historical past. What people once lived here…how did they use the land…and what did they leave behind? Get ready for excavations, explorations, and plenty of downright dirty fun as we examine artifacts throughout the park!

Catching Critters
Fee $80, $72 members Dung beetles, monarchs, stink bugs, damselflies, wolf spiders -there are so many critters to catch and get to know! This week is filled with a variety of outdoor activities & hands-on discoveries emphasizing the world of creepy crawly invertebrates. Plus, campers will canoe, fish, hike and explore the cave! 

Entering grades 5 & 6

Geology Rocks
Fee $100, $90 members Trilobites, gastropods and crinoids, OH MY! Campers will learn about local geology as we travel in the Quarry Hill ‘Critter Coach’ to nearby fossil sites in search of ancient treasures! We’ll also spend some time rock climbing at Quarry Hill’s natural limestone climbing wall. Be ready for a rockin’ good time! Wear shoes that you can hike in.

Nature Art

Fee $80, $72 members Do you love nature and art? You will find a perfect combination of both in this class. Projects may include painting with nature objects, crafting your own unique walking stick, sand art and much more! 

Nature Biker
Fee $100, $90 members Exercise, fresh air, adventure! Ride on city bike trails to study animals and plants as we explore local waterways and other natural areas. Campers must provide a bike, helmet, and be able to sustain a biking speed of 1 mile in 8 minutes, with daily distances of 5-10 miles.

Nature Photography
Fee $100, $90 members With camera in hand, explore the park with an artist’s eye! Our subjects will include: snakes, turtles, butterflies and flowers. Campers will use Quarry Hill cameras and laptop computers to edit and save their photos. Campers are provided with a 4G USB flash drive to take their photos home.

For youth entering grade 7 and above

Adventure Biker
Fee $160, $144 members Explore the “wilder” side of Rochester by bike. Enjoy water and dry land adventures including fishing, canoeing and fire starting. Bikers must provide a bike with at least 24” wheels and 3 speeds, helmet and sack lunch. To be up to the challenge, bikers should be able to sustain a bike speed to cover 1 mile in less than 5 minutes, with daily distances of 10+ miles.

Crazy Crayfish
Fee $90, $81 members Crayfish, crayfish, and more crayfish! If you like to get wet, don’t mind possibly being pinched, and love to catch these fun critters, this is your class! We will be catching, learning how to handle, marking, & studying crayfish at some of the local hot spots. Participants should be prepared to walk in water, use a dip net, and handle crayfish.

Falconry and Raptors

Fee $100, $90 members Visit a local eagle’s nest by canoe, go road trapping to try to catch and band kestrels and red-tailed hawks, learn to tie the falconer’s knot, work with Quarry Hill’s live raptors and more! We’ll spend the week learning about the birds of prey of our region and the basics of the ancient sport of falconry.

Hanging with the Birds
Fee $80, $72 members Hang out with live birds including grosbeaks, blue jays and woodpeckers! We will study, band and then release birds that we catch using bird traps. Learn to identify local birds and then test your “bird brain” as you try to survive life as a bird during various adventurous games. Campers will also rock climb, canoe, fish, and more!

Kayak Paddle Trips
Fee $50, $45 members Discover SE Minnesota’s wild side from inside a kayak. Spend the day looking for bald eagles, turtles, great-blue herons and more as we paddle our kayaks down the river. Lunch (and maybe a little swimming) will be at the sand bar of our choice. Campers will need to provide a lunch. In case of high water, area lakes will be explored instead. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Micro Madness
Fee $90, $81 members What lurks beneath our macroscopic view of nature in the microscopic world? Ant lion jaws, tiger swallowtail scales and waterbears, (Oh My!), are just a few of the amazing things participants in this camp may discover on forays in the park. Back at the nature center campers will use microscopes and attached camera equipment to examine and record their discoveries. A group photo cd of some of the week’s highlights will be assembled and shared as we explore, collect and view the microscopic world of nature. Some popular camp activities including rock climbing and canoeing or kayaking will also be included.

Quarry Hill’s Amazing Race
Fee $90, $81 members On your mark, get set, GO! The first four days of camp we will be learning and practicing new skills, such as navigating with a GPS, rock climbing, kayaking, fire starting and more. Then on Friday, participants will put those skills to the test as they work as a team and try to finish Quarry Hill’s very own race course! 

Teen Nature Photography

Fee $100, $90 members Learn the basics of good photography technique using Quarry Hill digital cameras. We’ll hunt for special photos while hiking through the park. We’ll also hope for some special wildlife views from photo blinds as well as some overnight shots from a pair of trail cameras. Students will edit their photos on laptop computers provided by Quarry Hill and receive a 4G USB flash drive for photo storage. 

Wild Caving
Fee $50, $45 members Are you ready to get muddy? Good! You provide a sense of adventure; we’ll provide the helmet and headlamp as we head underground. Stalactites and cave bacon await us in the wild cave as we walk and even belly crawl our way through it. We will start at Quarry Hill where we will learn about caves and southeast Minnesota geology, and then we’ll travel by Quarry Hill Critter coach to the wild cave. Participants will receive a packing list before the first day of class.

Transportation Take a ride on the Quarry Hill 22 passenger “Critter” coach bus! Transportation is provided to and from the following locations on the dates indicated only. Registration for transportation is required at the time of camp registration. Transportation fee is $20.

From Stewartville:

  • June 8 – 12 a.m. sessions
  • June 22 – 26 p.m. sessions
  • Aug 10 – 14 a.m. sessions

From Byron:

  • June 15 – 19 a.m. sessions

From St. Charles:

  • July 20 – 24 a.m. sessions

From Dover – Eyota:

  • Aug 3 – 7 a.m. sessions

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