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Summer Camps for Critter-Loving Kiddos

Learn horsemanship, interact with rescued animals, learn about zoo animals and more!

Published on: February 05, 2024

Boy riding a horse at summer camp

If you have an animal-loving child, then summer camp is a great place for them to explore their interests. Read on for camps where kids can learn horsemanship, interact with rescued animals, learn about zoo animals or discover the birds, insects and other critters in the park.

Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle)

Your kid will love a week at the zoo! These day camps teach STEAM skills, scientific inquiry, global conservation and, of course, all about the animals. Note: Campers do not interact with zoo animals.

Dates: Weekly, starting June 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26
Ages: 5–13
Cost: $388–$485

UW Botanic Gardens (Seattle)

Kids will explore public parks, get dirty while adventuring in the outdoors, and learn about bugs, birds and the local flora. Most camps are two weeks long. The camp program has been expanded to two locations this year; in addition to the Washington Park Arboretum, the Center for Urban Horticulture will also be explored by campers.

Dates: Various
Grades: 1–12
Cost: $400–$800; free for teens in the Junior Naturalist Program, who can use this experience toward service hours.

Honeybee Camp (Snoqualmie)

The Keeper’s Collective offers unique camps for kids to learn all about bees and beekeeping. There are two camp options: the 3-day Mighty Honeybee Camp or the 2-day Powerful Pollinators Camp. At the Mighty Honeybee camp kids will suit up in full beekeeper gear and learn about beehives with some (safe) hands-on learning. The Powerful Pollinators camp includes interactive games and lots of leaning, but no beehive exploration. Both camps include honey tasting, yum! 

Mighty Honeybee Camp
Dates: July 8–10 and Aug. 6–8 for grades 1–3; July 15–17 and Aug. 12–14 for grades 4–6 
Grades: 1–6
Cost: $425

Powerful Pollinators Camp
Dates: July 11–12 for grades 1–3; July 18–19 for grades 4–6
Grades: 1–6
Cost: $325

Camp Huston (Gold Bar)

Camp Huston offers three horse camps each summer. These are weeklong, overnight camps at which campers are assigned their own horses to care for. They learn how to groom, saddle and ride safely. They also participate in traditional camp activities and chapel at this Episcopalian camp.

Dates: July 7–13 and 21–27; Aug. 4–10
Grades: 3–10
Cost: $795

Red Gate Farm (Sammamish)

For a horse-loving camper who doesn’t want to attend an overnight camp, this is the camp for them. Each camper is assigned a horse, along with a partner, to learn horse care, grooming and even horse psychology. They also get daily riding lessons, as well as time for arts, crafts and horsey games. The week ends with a demonstration of their riding skills for family and friends.

Dates: Weekly, starting June 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; Aug. 5 and 12
Ages: 6–11
Cost: $795

Sunset Lake (Mount Rainier)

Sunset Lake is a nonprofit summer camp and retreat center owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It offers a horsemanship add-on to its other camps. Beginner through intermediate riders will progress through riding lessons, earning a certificate at each level. Campers will also participate in other camp activities.

Dates: Various
Ages: 8–17
Cost: $650

Camp Sealth (Vashon Island)

From novice to advanced, campers will learn to ride, care and groom horses, along with lots of traditional camp activities. Each camper will be matched with a horse for the week in these fun day and overnight camps on Vashon Island.

Dates: July 1–6, 8–13, 17–20, 22–27 and July 29–Aug. 3; Aug. 7–10, 12–17 and 19–24
Grades: 3–11
Cost: $825–$2,700, with tiered pricing

Animal Compassion Camp (Sultan)

At Pasado’s Safe Haven, an 85-acre sanctuary for rescued animals, kids will learn about the animal residents. Activities include interacting with animals, hands-on projects, music, art and more. In these one- to three-day day camps, each day will be spent outside and around animals. Campers who are new to Pasado can attend the beginner week sessions in July. Experienced campers attend the advanced week sessions in August.

Dates: July 10, 17–19, 24–26; Aug. 7–9, 14–16, 21–23 and 28–30
Ages: 7–14
Cost: TBD

Shoofly Farm (Sammamish)

Farm animals, such as sheep, goats and pigs, aren’t the only attractions campers will get to enjoy at this outdoor camp, which is focused on connecting kids to the natural world. Making crafts, helping to grow (and taste) veggies from the organic garden and interacting with horses are other camp activities.

Dates: Various
Ages: 5 and older
Cost: $650

Wildwood Ranch (Fall City)

Kids enjoy exploring the natural world on this 20-acre camp property that features horse rides, campfire cooking, crafts and gardening. Attending gives kids a chance to disconnect from their devices, connect with nature and each other, and be their true selves.

Dates: Various
Ages: 5–15
Cost: $295–$670

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