Summer Day Camps 2021
Frequently Asked Questions


Arboretum Education Office
Mon - Fri, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.*
*We are temporarily working from home during Covid-19, we may return phone messages from a home phone 

Covid-19 safety for 2021

For your safety during summer 2021
We are keeping our groups small and avoiding the need for campers from different groups to mix together. All sessions will be held primarily outdoors and will follow all current state and university guidelines for COVID-19 safety protocols, which are subject to change.

Masks are required
In compliance with University guidelines, all staff and program participants will be required to wear masks at all times (even when outdoors) that meet the CDC standards covering both the mouth and nose, and removed only for eating and drinking, and extreme physical exertion. Kids can safely and comfortably wear masks, learn how you can talk to your children about wearing face masks, and get tips to help make masks more comfortable. Please contact us to discuss if you have a written mask exemption from the child's physician.

Summer 2021 Program update

We are pleased to offer for summer 2021
In-person Day Camps
and Activity Kits To-Go

We are unable to offer some programs for summer 2021
Due to University safety guidelines regarding the pandemic, we are unale to offer: the Children's Garden Program, the teen CIT program (not available for new recruits) or Summer Group Field Trips this season. We hope to see you back for those programs next season!

Children's Garden, To-Go!
We are unable to offer the Children's Garden Program for summer 2021. University safety guidelines for 2021 heavily restrict food preparation and eating during camp programs. A huge part of Children's Garden is the prep and eating of the snack (often the kids' favorite part!). This was a factor in the difficult decision to cancel this season. Don't despair, our Children's Garden team has made two amazing Green Thumb Garden Kits To-Go, so you can create your own garden and follow the weekly garden lessons where you live! Please click the link to order one or both kits. Rest assured, we'll be back at it next year!

Teen CIT Program for Summer 2021
This program is not being offered to new recruits in 2021. We will be reaching out in March to those who were accepted last year to gauge interest and availability for a possible reduced schedule this summer.

Why Arboretum camps

What makes Arboretum Camps unique?
Arboretum campers have the opportunity to explore the 1,200 acres of Arboretum gardens, forests and trails in nature-themed camps that inspire a love and appreciation for the natural world. Trained, experienced educators lead every program, while combining science and hands-on learning with fun themes, wow-worthy special guests, and exciting opportunities.

What is the camper to teacher ratio?
There are about 8 campers in each group with one teacher.

Camper comfort

Can you accommodate campers with special needs?
We welcome any child who can participate safely and successfully in our camp program. Over the years children of many different abilities have attended camp, and we encourage you to contact us so that we can determine whether our program can meet your child's needs. If you would like your child to attend with a 1:1 aide, please contact us to make arrangements at 612-301-1210.

Dietary Restrictions
You completed a form when you registered your child for camp that provided an opportunity to list any dietary restrictions or concerns. We do our best to accommodate these restrictions when we plan our snacks ahead of time, but if you are concerned you are always welcome to send your child with an alternate snack from home. Malia, the Arboretum Day Camp Coordinator will send a helpful email the week prior to your child's camp. You are welcome to reply to that email with any special dietary requests or concerns you may have for your child.

What if my child won't know anyone at camp?
We think camp is perfect for meeting new people and making new friends! Your camper's group counselor will take time on the first few days to help everyone get to know each other. Small camp sizes and a teacher-to-camper ratio of 1:8 facilitate introductions and pay attention to each kid's unique needs and personality. By the end of their camp session with us, your child will have gained more confidence to meet new people in other parts of their lives.

What if my child doesn't want to do an activity?
Campers will remain with their groups at all times at all activity areas, but your camper will never be forced to participate in an activity that makes him/her uncomfortable. Of course, your child will be encouraged to try new things and face new challenges with the support of friends and a caring teacher.

May I visit my child at camp?
If this is your child's first year at camp, we understand that leaving them might be challenging. You are welcome to walk them to their camp on the first day and stay as long as needed in order for them (and you!) to feel comfortable.

Do you provide a snack?
YES! The Arboretum prides itself on providing healthy, local and organic (or fresh from the garden!) snacks whenever possible.

What does my camper need to do to participate successfully in camp?
We strive to create an environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and inspires curiosity for all campers. For this reason, campers must be able to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. Campers must be able to:

  • Maintain appropriate language and actions
  • Hands to themselves
  • Respectful language to fellow campers and camp team
  • Staying with their group
  • Follow directions for their own and others' safety
  • Use respectful words to communicate their needs
  • If your camper is struggling we will have a quiet, friendly space that campers can take a break and calm down or recharge before returning to their group. We do reserve the right to remove any camper that repeatedly cannot meet these expectations.

Registration & Cancellation

How do I change or cancel my camper's registration?
If you would like to make a change to your camp registration before your child's arrival date, please email or call the Education office at 612-301-1210.

Registration fees include a $25 non-refundable deposit

Refunds less a $25 cancellation fee will be given for those cancelling 30 days or more before the start of camp. No refunds nor exchanges will be given to those who withdraw less than 30 days prior to start date.

Exchanges are permitted 30 days or more before the start of camp with no penalty. No refunds nor exchanges will be given to those who withdraw less than 30 days prior to start date

Can I get my child on a waiting list if a program is full?
Yes, please place your child's name on the waitlist if you are interested in a session! There is no charge to be waitlisted, and you will not be obligated to register if a slot opens up. We will notify you as quickly as possible if such an opening occurs, in the order you were waitlisted. While there is no guarantee an opening for you child will become available, we do encourage you to add your child's name to the waitlist--programs with long waitlists have higher odds of adding more sessions, either in the current season or in future years.

Safety - General

What do you do on very hot days?
Our staff will modify activities as needed, and all staff are trained in heat illness prevention and recognition. Hikes or activities in direct sun may be cancelled if the Camp Staff thinks it's necessary. All of our other outdoor activities take place in or near shaded areas, which helps when campers need to cool off. On exceptionally hot days, we may relax in one of the air-conditioned buildings or add water play to outdoor activities!

What happens in case of an emergency?
Camp staff are certified in Red Cross CPR and First Aid, and are trained to handle severe allergic reactions. Emergency plans are in place to handle severe weather, medical emergency, and public safety concerns.

What happens in case of severe weather?
Camp staff are trained in emergency procedures. If there is lightning or a tornado warning has been issued while the children are at camp, staff will bring them directly to a designated safe area.

Child pick up by another: How do I arrange for another person picking up my child?
Yes, we use a sign in and out process to maintain camper safety and ensure that they are picked up only by the adults that are designated to pick them up. Please come in to the sign-in/sign-out table each day to drop off or pick up your camper. The adult who will be picking up the child will be designated each morning on the sign-in sheet. Authorized individuals are responsible for signing your child in and/or out.


Prepare for camp!

What do I need to send to camp each day? What should campers wear to camp?

  • Clothing: Campers should wear clothes designed for active play. Campers should also wear clothes that they don't mind getting dirty! 
  • Other Helpful Tips: Each Arboretum camp is so unique! Some camps suggest costumes, others involve swimsuits...Malia, the Arboretum Day Camp Coordinator, will email each of you the week before camp begins with a helpful list of items you may want to bring.

Should my child wear sunscreen and/or bug spray?
We suggest that these are applied before your child's arrival at day camp. The Arboretum has child-friendly lotions and/or sprays for re-application if needed. If a special brand is required, please send it along with your child.

Is lunch included?
Lunch is not included in Arboretum Day Camps.

    If your child would like lunch before or after a half-day camp, we suggest bringing a bag lunch so you can have a picnic at their favorite Arboretum spot, or stop with your child at the Arboretum Cafe for a treat!
    Full Day Camps include a special time for lunch and fun bonus activities, however lunch is not included. Please pack a lunch for your child to bring to camp.

Logistics & details

If your child is enrolled in a full-day bundle camp that takes place at two different locations within the Arboretum, transportation will be provided by licensed camp staff via an Arboretum van.

Do you offer early drop-off or late pick-up?
Yes, but only for campers age 5-11 who register for the full-day bundles which offer this added benefit:

  • Drop off from 8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. 
  • Pick up between 4 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Extended drop-off times are not available at this time for other camps. 

Instructions for Arboretum Entry
As you enter the Arboretum, tell the gatehouse you are here to drop off your child for Day Camp and they will waive you through at no charge.

Directions to the Learning Center and/or Picnic Shelters (see map):

  1. After you pass through the gatehouse, take the first right.
  2. Drive past the main parking lots, you will loop behind them and come to a T intersection. You should see a hill directly in front of you.
  3. Turn right.
  4. Follow the curved road past the picnic shelters. 
  5. Enter the Learning Center Parking lot (see map), or parallel park in the spaces designated along the road

Directions to the Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center
The Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center can be tricky to find.
Please read directions carefully!

  1. From Highway 5/Arboretum Drive, where the Arboretum is located, turn South onto County Road 41. Drive 0.5 miles.
  2. (County Road 41 is located 0.6 miles East of the Arboretum main entrance.)
  3. At the first light, turn Right onto 82nd Street. Drive 0.3 miles.
  4. After a sharp left bend in the road, the gated entrance to the Center and Red Barn will be on your right. You will see a long silver fenced gate that will be closed.
  5. On the right of the fence is a silver call box with a keypad and a round "CALL" button. Push the CALL button for assistance, and the Bee Center attendant will automatically open the gate for you!
  6. Park in the Bee Center lot and enter the Bee Center! The classroom is inside the building on your right.
  7. You can also view the directions from your location with this interactive Google map.


Do you have a program for high school students?
Sorry, the CIT program is not offered for 2021. The Arboretum is pleased to offer a Counselor-in-Training program to kids age 12 to 15! The Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program is designed to provide opportunities for responsible, positive youth mentors to increase leadership skills by sharing passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural world with younger campers and gardeners. CITs will assist Day Camp and Children's Garden program staff in providing a safe, supportive, and exciting experience for all participants, as well as assisting with other projects. Learn more at <This link is not active for 2021.

Do you offer scholarships?
No. We do not have any funding for scholarships at this time. If you know of an individual or organization who would be interested in becoming a sponsor for Day Camp Scholarships, please contact Jill Leenay, Education Business Manager, at 612-301-3484.

What if I don't want pictures taken of my camper?
During the registration process you will be asked to give consent for photo release of your camper. If you choose not to consent we will make sure that camp and publicity staff are aware that they cannot take any photos of your camper.

Equal Opportunity
The University of Minnesota and the Landscape Arboretum provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression

Who can I speak to if I have more questions or concerns?
We greatly appreciate any information, suggestions or tips you would like to share with us.
Filling out the registration form with as much detail as possible will give us the opportunity to prepare any special accommodations and give your camper the best experience possible. Camp leaders are not always available to speak to but you are welcome to email our Education Office staff at or call 612-301-1210.


Summer Youth FAQ

Arboretum Education Office
Mon - Fri, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.*
*We are temporarily working from home, we may return phone messages from a home phone 

Cancellations & Exchanges
Cancellation policy

The best chance of being enrolled in a sold out class is to add your name to the waitlist. Click the orange "waitlist" button next to the class and complete the form. There is no obligation to register if a spot opens. If the waitlist shows enough demand, additional sessions may be added.

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