Urban Ecology Center Summer Camps: Discover the Wonders of Nature in Milwaukee

MKE With Kids is proud to partner with the Urban Ecology Center to help spread the word about the summer camp opportunities.

We may be buried under snow, but summer vacation is closer than we think.

And Summer Camps are already registering!

While summer vacation is an exciting time for kids, it can be stressful for parents who are struggling to put together a summer schedule.

With so many options available, it is sometimes overwhelming to choose the right activities and programs for your child.

But fear not, because there is one solution that provides a fun, educational, and convenient summer experience for your child: Urban Ecology Center Summer Camps.

Overview: Urban Ecology Summer Camps

Urban Ecology Center has a summer full of outdoor adventures planned for students completing kindergarten through eighth grade at their Riverside Park and Menomonee Valley locations.

(They are also offering early outdoor adventures for ages 3-4 with their grown-ups!)

Camp sessions are available weekdays between June 19 and August 25. All camps are 9:30 to 3:30 unless otherwise noted on their schedule.

Their urban nature camps offer inspiring activities in the great outdoors like fort-building, ‘treasure’ hunts, fishing excursions, birding ventures, exploring habitats, developing outdoor skills, jumping into nature books, climbing, and more.

Urban Ecology Center staff and educators encourage campers to be curious about the natural world around them and be responsible stewards of our neighborhoods and the environment.

Summer Camp Spotlights

There are dozens of exciting nature camps being offered including:

Early Adventures for Ages 3-4

You and your child can discover the natural world in your neighborhood together! Through hiking, stories, games and songs learn what lives in our park. What can we touch, smell, hear and see?

Story Book Tales for Grades 1-2

Begin with nature-themed books, visit different habitats, use puppets and ourselves to act out stories we’ve read, and have adventures in the woods.

Outdoor Detectives for Grades 3-4

Explore nature and science at local parks and nature preserves through outdoor explorations, including hiking, fort building and other hands-on activities. Field trips may include canoeing and visiting the Lake Michigan shore, weather permitting.

Nature Camp Overnight for grades 5-6

Returning this year after a hiatus, campers will develop skills and knowledge necessary to enjoy a camping adventure throughout the week, then cap off with an overnight tent camping experience Thursday-Friday. 

Paddling Camp for Grades 7-8

Explore the Milwaukee area by waterway! Begin the week learning paddling basics, then venture out to local waterways to hone your skills by canoe and kayak and explore our beautiful waters!

Explore all Urban Ecology Center Summer Camps >>


Thanks to generous donors, the Urban Ecology Center offers need-based scholarships on a sliding-fee scale based on family income and number of children in the household. They include a one-year family membership.

They also accept Wisconsin Shares Child Care Assistance for Urban Ecology Center camps. 


“I love that we go on field trips and that [there] are so many cool spots to play! And I think that it is just really fun here and I want to keep coming back!”
-Outdoor Detectives Camper, 2022

My camper gained confidence in making friends and what to expect. She seems more willing to try new things outdoors and has become more comfortable with being messy. She cares about the environment.”
-Parent of a Camper, 2022

Biking to Estabrook Park

“Summer at the UEC is my favorite time of the year! There’s so many ‘firsts’ packed into every day- first toad, first damselfly caught, first time rock climbing… The forest has something new to offer every day, whether it’s an emerging cicada or a new fallen tree to climb on.”
-Lizzie Klug, outdoor educator

“Urban Ecology Center summer camp participants get to be outside exploring nature the entire day. This means that they get to spend genuinely quality time connecting with the natural world. I also love that we give kids time to engage in creative play in nature which allows them to learn while exploring and playing in their own ways.”
-Regina Miller, educator and nature explorer extraordinaire

“[My favorite activities include] Biking outside, finding new places, being able to share these trails with my friends and family, looking at the lakes in a whole new way, picnics and spending time with my new and old friends.”
-Biking camper 2022

“I look forward to offering adolescents a chance to learn a new skill and have an adventure. Seeing students succeed at learning new skills and hopefully inspiring them to get active on their own is a gift.
-Chad Thomack, educator and outdoor adventurer 

“Los Campamentos de Verano son una buena oportunidad para disminuir un poco el ritmo, conocer mejor a los campistas y así poder hacer una conexión más significativa con ellos, lo cual es parte fundamental de nuestro trabajo como mentores y embajadores de la naturaleza.” 

-Miguel Santos, Educador y embajador de la naturaleza. 

Summer Camp Registration is now open! Please visit their new summer camp webpage to find the perfect programs for your campers!

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