Iowa Wildlife Camps at State Parks are a conservation education and outdoor recreation day-camp program based in various Iowa state parks. Drop-off and pick-up for each camp is in the park. Transportation is not provided to and from the park for campers.

Registration opens Monday, January 23, 2023 at 6 am.

State Park Camp Offerings

All State Parks camps are for campers going into 3rd-7th grades.

Springbrook – Woods and Water in Western Iowa

Campers will spend a week exploring the rolling hills of Springbrook State Park learning about the mature timber stands, wetlands, and cultural history of the park.

  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Wild Edibles
  • Atlatl/Archery
  • Fishing
  • Wetland Exploration

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Beach Shelter at Springbrook State Park

Maquoketa Caves – The World Beneath our Feet

Campers will spend a week diving into one of Iowa’s largest cave systems, learning about the unique geologic features that define the park as well as the wildlife that inhabits the region.

  • Cave Exploration
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Atlatl
  • Fishing
  • Wetland Exploration
  • Outdoor Skills

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Visitor Center at Maquoketa Caves State Park

Walnut Woods – Iowa's Largest Stand of Black Walnut Trees

Campers will spend a week gaining valuable outdoor skills and learning about the natural world in an environment not too far from home. Paddling, fishing, and purple martin nest-house inspection will be highlights to talk about for seasons to come.

  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Purple Martin House Inspection
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Wild Edibles
  • Outdoor Skills
  • Atlatl/Archery
  • Fishing

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Main Lodge in Walnut Woods State Park

Ledges – A Gorgeous Sandstone Gorge

Campers will spend a week exploring steep slopes covered in mature oak trees and creeks lined with sandstone ledges while learning about the human and natural history of the park, highlighted by numerous stone bridges built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Wild Edibles
  • Creek Exploration
  • Prairie Exploration
  • Woodland Exploration
  • Camp Games

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Oak Woods Shelter in Ledges State Park

Backbone – Iowa's First State Park

Campers will spend a week exploring the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the natural wonders of Iowa in one of the most unique landscapes in the state. Coldwater streams full of trout coupled with an extensive trail system will leave a lasting impact on campers.

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Wild Edibles
  • Creek Exploration
  • Fishing
  • Prairie Exploration
  • Woodland Exploration
  • Camp Games
  • Park History

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: CCC Museum in Backbone State Park

Big Creek – The Land of Lakes and Prairies

Campers will spend a week exploring one of Iowa’s most popular fishing destinations. Learning valuable outdoor skills, fishery management practices and conservation ethics will awaken an awareness of our state’s natural resources.

Activities:

  • Fishing
  • Paddle Sports
  • Prairie Exploration
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Wild Edibles
  • Outdoor Skills

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Beach Shelter (Shelter Number TBD)

Lake Darling – Continuing Iowa’s Conservation Legacy

Campers will spend a week exploring the lake and woodlands of Lake Darling. Named after J.N. “Ding” Darling, a champion of conservation, campers will learn about Iowa’s natural heritage and the importance of wild places on the landscape. Fishing, kayaking, and art projects will provide hands-on experiences to connect campers to the natural world.

Activities:

  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Creating Nature Art
  • Fishing
  • Prairie Exploration
  • Woodland Exploration
  • Camp Games

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Location: Main Lodge in Lake Darling State Park

Camp Pricing

State Park Camp Tiered Pricing

Tiered pricing allows families to select a fee, from provided options, that most aligns with their families’ budget. We ask that families use the honor system and choose the tier that they are able to afford.

Location Name Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Springbrook, Walnut Woods, Ledges, Big Creek $300 $250 $200
Maquoketa Caves
The cost of Iowa Wildlife Camps at Maquoketa Caves State Park has been reduced thanks to generous support from Friends of Maquoketa Caves.
$250 $200 $150
Lake Darling
The cost of Iowa Wildlife Camps at Lake Darling State Park has been reduced thanks to generous support from Friends of Lake Darling.
$240 $190 $140
Backbone 
The cost of Iowa Wildlife Camps at Backbone State Park has been reduced thanks to generous support from Friends of Backbone State Park
$300 $250 $200
*Backbone  - reduced cost available to the first 20 registrants). $240 $190 $140

Learn more about tiered pricing below.

This year Iowa Wildlife Camps will offer a tiered pricing system. Tiered pricing allows families to select a fee, from provided options, that most aligns with their families’ budget. We ask that families use the honor system and choose the tier that they are able to afford.

All campers will receive the same high quality camp experience regardless of which tier is chosen. Each family’s cost for camp remains confidential.

Tier 1 - This price covers the direct cost of our program for your camper. It also contributes to costs that enhance your camper’s experience such as maintaining the spaces they will visit, providing funds needed to maintain and grow our program, and making camp more accessible to all families. 

Tier 2 - This price most accurately reflects the direct cost of our program for your camper.

Tier 3 - This is our subsidized rate for families that find the full cost a bit out of their budget.

Families in need of additional financial assistance to attend Iowa Wildlife Camps should fill out a financial assistance application.

The following policy outlines refund amounts based on when a camp session is cancelled.

  • If you cancel your camp session within 48 hours of registering a 100% refund will be provided. 
  • If you cancel your camp session 8 weeks or more in advance of the first day of the camp session a 75% refund of camp fees will be provided.
  • If you cancel your camp session 4 weeks or more prior to the camp session's start date a 50% refund of camp fees will be provided.
  • If you cancel your camp session within 4 weeks of the camp session's start date, no refund will be provided.

If Iowa Wildlife Camps cancels a camp session, you will be given the option for a full refund or when available, to transfer your registration to another available session.. Refunds will not be issued for missed days of camp.

Call our UI WILD office at 319-467-3287 or email coe-IWC@uiowa.edu with any questions.

Camp Information and Policies

Camper Expectations

Campers are expected to be respectful to themselves, others, and nature. If a camper does not follow these guidelines, staff will communicate it to families. Staff will also notify families if a camper becomes ill or injured at camp. The Director reserves the right to dismiss any camper whose choices or conduct becomes detrimental to the program, others, or themselves. No refunds will be made for dismissed campers.

Attendance

In case of emergency or to notify us of an absence, please call our UI WILD office at 319-467-3287. Refunds will not be issued for missed days of camp.

Camp Activities

All camp activities are subject to change in the event weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances prevent safe participation in planned activities. Alternative activities will be prepared for these circumstances.

Inclement Weather

In the event of severe weather that prevents safe participation in camp activities, state park camps may be cancelled for the day. A pro-rated one-day refund will be issued if inclement weather requires a day of camp to be cancelled.

Campers at our Iowa Wildlife Camps at State Parks are dropped off and picked up at a designated location within the state park. The specific location will be shared in your registration confirmation email.

Please note that no busing options are available for our state park camps.

Drop-off – 7:45 – 8:30 am
Pick-Up – 3:30 – 4:15 pm

Registration will open on Monday, January 23, 2023 at 6 am.

Create an account to register for Iowa Wildlife Camps:

1. Go to our Registration Site

2. Select New User or Log –In to your existing account.

3. If you are creating a new account, fill out all the required fields to create your account.

4. Once you are in your account you can take the following steps:

  • Select Add Person - this is where you should add the campers you will be registering this summer. You can add multiple people (campers) here.
  • Select Alternate Contacts - this is where you should add the contact information for additional emergency contacts.
  • Select Pick-Up Authorizations - this is where you should add the contact information for trusted adults that are approved to drop-off and pick-up your camper.

5. Explore session by selecting Reservations, then select Explore Sessions.

6. Sessions can be filtered by Session Name, Grade, and Dates. Select Filters to filter sessions.

Because we spend most, if not all, of our time in the outdoors you should come prepared for sun, rain and everything nature may bring. We recommend either wearing or bringing:

  • Sunscreen
  • T-shirts verses tank tops to prevent sunburned shoulders
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Proper shoes are important. This could be a pair of tennis shoes, hiking boots or sandals that stay on feet snugly and are designed for hiking and exploring outside

Please label all items!

  • Campers should bring their own snack, lunch, and water bottle. Additional water will be provided. We’ve seen a reduction of non-recyclable waste generated at lunchtime. We would love to see this continue. If possible, avoid over-packaged products and bring reusable containers.
  • We will follow a carry-in/carry-out policy.

Please label all items!

You may print or digitally save a copy of your dependent care receipt by following these steps:

  • Login to your account.
  • Select the menu bar in the upper left side of your screen.
  • Select My Account.
  • Select Finances.
  • Select Print a Statement.
  • Select the year and print or save the document.

Our Federal Identification Number is 42-600-4813

Contact Us

Ellen Carman
Director of Iowa Wildlife Camps
ellen-carman@uiowa.edu
319-467-3287

Or email coe-IWC@uiowa.edu