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Warmer days ahead Tennessee Aquarium summer camp sign-ups begin March 4 (non-members March 11)

Feb 27, 2024

Chattanooga, Tenn. (Feb. 27, 2024) – With green shoots and buds just starting to lend a bit of color to the winter-bare landscape, spring still feels ages away, but for parents, planning for summer activities is already in full swing.

On Monday, March 11, sign-ups for the Tennessee Aquarium’s popular summer camps will open to the general public. For Aquarium Members, early sign-ups begin Monday, March 4.

Whether your child is a first-timer or a veteran who loves the natural world, the Aquarium’s slate of general interest and themed sessions has a camp for every kind of kid.

For general campers, ages 5-12, weeklong camps are built around a theme, whether it’s debunking animal myths (Wild Legends), learning about species with special abilities (Secret Superheroes), or exploring the extraordinary ways animals keep tabs on the world around them (Sense-ational Animals).

Each day features games, crafts, and hands-on activities that tie into each week’s theme. Campers will explore the Aquarium, including going behind the scenes, interacting with animal care specialists, and encountering furry and scaly representatives from the Aquarium’s crew of Ambassador Animals.

There are also options for less-experienced campers or those with a narrower window of availability.

Jim Hill Fellow Joanna Joey Ramirez assists with the Tennessee Aquarium's summer camps.

As part of their day-to-day activities during a Tennessee Aquarium summer camp session, participants get hands-on tours of the galleries as well as being able to visit behind the scenes locations not accessible during a normal tour.

Are you new to day camps? Parents can sign their child up for a special Nature Nuts camp. This mini session for ages 5 to 8 offers the same kinds of activities and encounters as a weeklong camp in a three-day burst July 1-3.

Teens who want to spend time with their peers can sign up for a special tech-focused session, Nature Tech Teens, July 1-3. This camp, for ages 13-16, digs into how scientists and wildlife managers can use technology to help with tasks like tracking and identifying animals or testing water quality.

New this year, the Aquarium is offering Tiny Tides, a three-day, half-length camp for 4 and 5-year-olds. This introductory camp, featuring age-appropriate activities and environments, is ideal for newcomers to the camping experience and runs 8:30-11:30 a.m. July 1-3. Participants must be able to use the bathroom independently.

For older, more adventurous campers, even more options are available in the Aquarium’s specialty camps.

In addition to focusing on a specific goal, these sessions feature three off-site field trips per session to locations like state parks, national forests, and the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. Participants will enjoy spending their week exploring the wild (Trailblazers) and digging into natural engineering (Eco-Builders). Age ranges vary by camp session.

Campers feed stingrays in the Secret Reef suring summer camp.

Participants in the Tennessee Aquarium summer camp feed stingrays behind the scenes above the Secret Reef exhibit.

Generally, camps begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Before and after-care options are available for $10 per option.

Camp prices are as follows:

  • General camps: $252 Members/$280 non-Members
  • Specialty camps: $337.50 Members/$375 non-Members
  • Teen camp: $202.50 Members/$225 non-Members
  • Pre-K camp: $108 Members/$120 non-Members

For campers who need financial assistance, camperships are available to provide limited scholarships for applicable would-be participants. A limited amount of scholarships are available that subsidize 75-90% of each program fee for a single camp session.

Applications must be submitted by April 13. Applicants will be notified of their selection status via email or phone by May 3. Determination for scholarship awards is made (in order) by space available, financial need, and date of application submission.

Additional information about each camp, camp registration, and campership applications is available at tnaqua.org/educate/aquarium-camp/summer-camp/

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