Campers harvest potatoes before making them into potato chips at Howell Living History Farm during Ultimate Camp Experience.

HAMILTON, N.J. - The Mercer County Park Commission’s Nature Programs will host five exciting summer camps for children ranging in age from pre-K to eighth grade. Give your children what they crave in the summer: outdoor activities, exciting explorations, goofy games and time with old and new friends, all while being immersed in the wonders of our natural world. The Park Commission’s summer camps are developed and instructed by its team of teacher naturalists. Spots are filling quickly, so visit http://www.mercercountyparks.org/assets/Registration_Form_2017_iGZ5fGf.pdf now to register.

Making its debut this summer is Archaeology Camp to be held at the Tulpehaking Nature Center. Through hands-on activities and games, your “junior archaeologist-in-training” will practice the skills and methods that archaeologists use to unearth information about past cultures, including American Indians, Revolutionary War patriots and exiled kings. Throwing with an atlatl, tool and pottery making, and other challenges are on the schedule as campers experience the lifeways of these past peoples. This camp is designed for children entering grades 4 through 6, and will be held at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton the week of July 24 through 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Ultimate Camp Experience is the supreme recreation camp, which includes full-day traveling. This will give your child the opportunity to sample the activities and adventures the Park Commission has to offer. Each camp day will start at the Mercer County Tennis Center in Mercer County Park. From there, campers will be transported to two different facilities or parks to learn, explore and have fun. Campers will visit Howell Living History Farm to harvest potatoes and make chips; the Wildlife Center for a live animal presentation; the Golf Academy at Princeton Country Club for expert golf instruction; and the Tennis Center for lessons and drills. Also planned, is hiking at Baldpate Mountain, kayaking and fishing at Mercer Lake, a picnic lunch, and visits to the Tulpehaking Nature Center as well as Arm & Hammer baseball stadium. This program is for children entering grades 5 through 7, and will be held the week of Aug. 7 through 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Drop-off and pickup will be at the Mercer County Tennis Center. Daytime transportation to activities will be provided by the Park Commission.

If paddling is your child’s preference, then Aquatic Adventure Camp is a perfect fit. Designed to balance the fun of summer with science, Aquatic Adventure Camp will have your child exploring fresh water ecology, testing Mercer Lake’s water, kayaking creeks and coves, and observing wildlife. Always a favorite, Aquatic Adventure Camp also includes activities such as fishing, hiking and a cookout. Campers will memorialize their week by making a Gyotaku T-shirt. Aquatic Adventure Camp will be held at Mercer County Marina, July 31 through Aug. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Baldpate Mountain Nature Camp is a weeklong camp packed with hands-on nature explorations, science experiments, hikes through the forest and unstructured nature play. The 1,200 acres at Baldpate Mountain provide a rich and diverse ecological setting for children to explore and let their natural curiosity aid them in learning about the environment around them. Camp days are devoted to a nature-specific topic and may include bugs, forest ecology, birds and tracking. Two different age groups accommodate children entering grades 1 through 3 and those entering grades 4 through 6. Two one-week sessions are available, July 10 through 14 and July 17 through 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you are looking for a half-day camp for your preschool-age child, check out Wild Discovery Camp. Specifically designed to capture the curiosity and energy of children entering pre-k and kindergarten, Wild Discovery is a playful introduction to the wonders of nature. Story time, nature-themed art projects, walks and explorations will make up your child’s morning. Hunts under rocks and logs for crawlies and visits with live animals will increase campers’ awareness of the wonderful wild world. Wild Discovery Camp will be held the week of Aug. 14 through 18 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Baldpate Mountain in Titusville.

All camps are programs of the Mercer County Park Commission and are led and taught by Naturalist staff. Camps are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and spots are limited. At this time, the Park Commission is unable to provide before or after care for children attending camp. For information and to download registration forms, please visit http://www.mercercountyparks.org/#!/activities/summer-nature-camps.

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