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Camp Explore

girl holding fishing pole at dock on river

Camp Explore

Looking for a unique, fun and educational outdoor experience this summer? Check out Camp Explore at the Outdoor Adventure Center, with programs for rising fifth-eighth graders and rising ninth-12th graders.

Camp registration is now open.

For any Camp Explore questions, please contact Camp Director Emily Grant at Or meet our camp team at the following events:

  • Feb. 17, Camp Explore informational table: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • March 10, Camp Explore informational table: 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • April 21, Summer Camp Open House: 12:30-3 p.m.
Camp Explore at the OAC logo

Camp Explore age groups/programs

group of kids doing activity with hula hoop

For rising fifth-eighth graders. Join us for a thrilling week of hands-on activities and classic camp games!

Explore the one-of-a-kind Outdoor Adventure Center, fish and hike at Milliken State Park, and bike to Belle Isle with our enthusiastic camp counselors in a variety of on- and off-site outdoor adventures. End the week with a lock-in and pizza party!

Session 1: July 8-11 (Trailblazers Session 1 registration)
Session 2: July 22-25  (Trailblazers Session 2 registration)
Session 3: Aug. 5-8 (Trailblazers Session 3 registration)

Monday through Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday: 1:30-8:30 p.m.

$150 per camper

Before and after care available – $5/camper/extended care session

group of summer campers walk down trail

For rising ninth-12th graders. This session of camp is a hands-on leadership experience for high schoolers.

Campers will discover their own leadership style and work together to complete a service project at Milliken State Park. On Wednesday, the group will travel to Maybury State Park for an overnight campout, complete with bike riding, campfire cooking and s’mores!

June 24 to 27 (Leaders in Training registration)

Monday and Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to campout
Thursday: Checkout begins 4 p.m.

$200 per camper

Before and after care available – $5/camper/extended care session

Sample activities

Camp Explore participants will enjoy activities like:

  • Archery
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Fire cooking*
  • 9-Square in the Air
  • Capture the Flag
  • Hide and Seek
  • Water games
  • Bike riding
  • Team building
  • Dance Party
  • Goldrush
  • Action Auction
  • Service project*
  • Fire building*
  • Access to the one-of-a-kind DNR Outdoor Adventure Center exhibits, and much more!

*Leaders in Training Camp only

girl shoots bow and arrow

Packing list

Please pack the following items to ensure a comfortable and successful camp day. Mark all items with your camper’s name.

  • Backpack.
  • Lunch.
  • Refillable water bottle.
  • Extra clothes.
  • Close-toed shoes that securely fasten (no Crocs or slip-on shoes).
  • Sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Rain gear – we go out rain or shine!
  • Hat and sunglasses (optional).
  • Any medications (must be given to the health team at check-in).

Personal possessions such as backpacks and other belongings are the responsibility of the participant. The OAC is not responsible for any lost/stolen items.

boy holding fishing pole with OAC summer camp staffer

Camp policies/philosophy: Respect for all

At Camp Explore at the Outdoor Adventure Center, our main rule is RESPECT.

We believe that everybody should enjoy our camp equally and feel safe, secure and accepted regardless of color, race, gender, popularity, athletic ability, intelligence, religion and nationality.

  • I will RESPECT NATURE: I will walk on trails, enjoy the surroundings but not take souvenirs, dispose of garbage properly, leave wildlife alone and clean up when I leave. Traveling through wilderness, humans are the visitors. We are passing through the homes and habitat of wild animals, and our behavior should be much like what is expected when visiting another human's home.
  • I will RESPECT OTHERS: I will use kind words, listen, be fair, and keep my hands and feet to myself. I will respect their property.
  • I will RESPECT the FACILITIES: I will keep the grounds clean, and respect equipment, waterfront, buildings and restrooms. If something is broken, I will tell a counselor.
  • I will RESPECT MYSELF: I will think and act in a positive way, make safe decisions, drink plenty of water, and wear sunscreen and bug spray. I will respect my belongings.

Core values

Curiosity: We seek to learn more about the world around us. We approach every day with an open mind and open eyes so we are always ready for new opportunities.

Kindness: We recognize that one kind act can create another. We are intentional in creating a positive community, so all feel welcome in this space.

Stewardship: We seek to be responsible stewards of Michigan’s natural resources. Through service learning and projects, we can protect and strengthen our communities.

Camp goals and outcomes

The Outdoor Adventure Center’s mission is to connect visitors to Michigan’s natural resources. At Camp Explore, we put that mission into action. Campers will gain outdoor skills, discover new friendships and develop as leaders, all against the backdrop of our beautiful Michigan state parks. Our camp values – kindness, curiosity and stewardship – direct all that we do. Through a Camp Explore experience, campers will:

  • Practice outdoor skills like archery, fishing and bike riding, which will help them become lifelong users of the outdoors.
  • Meet peers and develop communication skills through traditional and informal teambuilding exercises.
  • Experience the beauty of the Detroit Riverfront and learn stewardship ethics so they can actively care for their river and surrounding areas.
  • Grow in resiliency, through time in the outdoors and exposure to age-appropriate challenges.

Above all, Camp Explore makes space for every kid and staff member, so they can come to know the benefits of time in the outdoors.

four OAC Camp Explore staffers pose for photo