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Nature Classes and Camps for Kids in Orange County

Nature Classes and Camps for Kids in Orange County

Outdoor Learning — Nature Classes and Camps Directory

We are so lucky to have nature classes and nature camps for kids in Orange County. Although, I’ve always valued and promoted purely unstructured play – there are also benefits to outdoor learning. I’m hoping this becomes an ultimate list of all the outdoor learning opportunities and field trips for kids in Orange County.

Nature Classes in Orange County


Inside the Outdoors Summer Day Camp
Locations: Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Beach
Ages: 6-18 years old
Cost: $275 (Extended Camp available from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm for an additional fee of $75)

(Disclosure: I work as social media manager for Inside the Outdoors Foundation for every school year starting in 2017-18 up until the most recent school year in 2022-23. They became sponsors before I started working for them. I don’t charge them for the featured listing, but I still want to support their work.)


OC Zoo Preschool Programs
Location: OC Zoo inside Irvine Regional Park
Ages: 3-4 years old
Cost: Cost is $5 per child (one parent included). Fee to park paid separately.

OC Zoo Programs for older kids
Location: OC Zoo inside Irvine Regional Park
Ages: 5-6 year olds ONLY programs and 7-10 year olds ONLY programs
Cost: Cost is $5 per child (one parent included). Fee to park paid separately.

Wild Tales at Upper Newport Bay
Location: Muth Interpretive Center
Ages: 2-4 years old
Cost per class: Free, registration required

The Dragonfly Shops & Gardens
Fairy Garden workshops for kids (check their calendar)
Location: Orange
Ages: Varies
Cost per class: Varies

Locations: Enter your zip code into their website to find a location near you
Ages: 18 months – 5 years old, sometimes up to 8 years old
Cost: $180 per 8 week session


Family Nature Hikes or Programs

Back Bay Science Center

  • Community Day

Environmental Nature Center

  • Family classes and community events

Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks

  • Family classes and community events

Laguna Canyon Foundation

  • Tot Walks
  • Family Hikes

Newport Bay Conservancy

  • Restoration events
  • Kayak tours

Ocean Institute

  • Family programs and community events


Nature Camps in Orange County

Inside the Outdoors Summer Day Camps

Earthroots Field School

Environmental Nature Center

Ocean Institute

Sea and Sage Audubon

Starr Ranch Junior Biologists

Turtle Rock Nature Center in Irvine

Schools with a Play-Based or Outdoor/Nature Focus

Annaliese Schools in Laguna Beach (Private School)

Environmental Nature Center (Nature Preschool)

Journey School in Aliso Viejo (Public Charter School)

Multi-Age Program at Orangethorpe Elementary in Fullerton (Public School)

Piper Preschool (Irvine)

St. Paul’s Preschool in Tustin (Demonstration site for the Outdoor Classroom Project)

Turtle Rock in Irvine (Preschool, Kindergarten, Academy)

Organized Outdoor Groups for Parents to Get Their Kids Out in Nature

Hike It Baby Orange County
Cost: $10/year membership


2023 Summer Camps

OC Summer Camps with Outdoor Themes | Summer Nature Camps

Summer 2023 will start the season for summer camp sign-ups. Most sign-ups start in March and that’s when I start updating my annual post about summer nature camp or at least those with outdoor themes. Here’s a link to my post on OC summer camps with outdoor themes. I will be updating it as new info becomes available. 

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