Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center

Summer Camp FAQ

Want to know what Oxbow summer camps are really like before you register? Signed up for camp and don’t know what to expect? Here are the answers to the questions we hear most frequently about our camps.

Where the HECK is Oxbow?

Not that far away! Oxbow is at 10819 Carnation-Duvall Road (Highway 203) in Carnationthat is IN King County! We are 10 minutes from Redmond and less than 30 minutes from Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Bothell and Woodinville.

Google Maps can direct you close to Oxbow, but will send you to our delivery entrance. Summer campers should enter through our West Entrance on 268th Ave NE. Directions to our West Entrance can be found here.

What kind of a farm is Oxbow? Are there animals?!

Oxbow is a 30-acre mixed vegetable farm and center for environmental conservation. Vegetables are our bread and butter, so to speak, but we offer a variety of fruits and herbs as well, depending on the season.

As for animals, here is the answer we give to the kids: We DO have animals, but only the wild kind. Our property is more than 100 acres, and the woods is teeming with life! We frequently see rabbits, coyotes, foxes, beavers, moles, snakes (the safe kind), blue herons, eagles, ospreys, and owls. We have even spotted elusive bobcats and black bears! In their own ways, all of these animals play a part in the work we do here.

The textbook “farm animal” crowd–cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, etc.–are not found at Oxbow. We respect the lure of domestic animals, but we think vegetables are actually more fun.

 

Is Oxbow a real farm? Is it a safe place for kids?

Yes AND yes. Oxbow produces thousands of pounds of vegetables every week for sale to our CSA customers, farmers markets, local restaurants, and wholesale. We started in 1999 as a real vegetable farm and continue, today, as a real vegetable farm. We believe that the authenticity of our farm is a valuable asset in our mission to educate kids. Kids will see BIG farmers on BIG tractors in BIG fields doing real farm work. It is a great opportunity for them to start to understand where their food comes from.

That said, we have a separate 1+ acre farm—the Kids Farm—devoted exclusively to our education programming. This farm is FOR the kids and the produce there is educational. The Kids Farm is adjacent to our Children’s Garden, an enclosed area with an all-natural playground, a child-friendly tractor to climb on, raised garden beds, a picnicking area and a small, shaded amphitheater.

The staff involved in summer camp are trained educators hired for their experience working with kids. We take the physical AND emotional safety of our young visitors seriously. 

What will my kid ACTUALLY be doing at farm camp?

That’s a good question! There is no one answer. There is so much for kids to do at Oxbow that there is no way to fit in everything into one week of summer camp. We have hiking trails, a playground and climbing tractor, dozens of acres of fields to explore, a river, two wetland ecosystems, and countless other activities. We are not like other camps that rotate kids through a predetermined set of activities each day. Instead, instructors tailor each day’s activities based on their perception of the energy and interest of their group.

For example, a high-energy group of five-year-olds may spend their day playing hide-and-seek in the rhubarb patch, race to collect raspberries to blend into popsicles on the bicycle blender, and search for insects to build a bug city. A rowdy group of nine- and ten-year-olds might work together to plant, water, and weed a row of cabbage if their instructor wants to challenge them to cooperate. A quiet, curious group of any age might take a silent walk through a field of cover crop and focus their senses on observing the different ecological mechanisms at work.

Above all, our summer camp curriculum is child-led and play-based. We believe that kids learn by exercising their natural curiosity. We try to create an environment where each child can learn and self-express in his or her own way.

But, my kid doesn’t like vegetables…

This may be the current state of affairs, but it is not a fundamental quality! We promise! Being on a farm is an experience that we find softens kids supposed hatred of vegetables. No store-bought bag of baby carrots can compare to a carrot picked from the ground, washed, and eaten within thirty seconds of harvest. You may be surprised at the difference it makes for kids to see firsthand where these grocery store oddities come from.

Aside from that, summer camp is high fruit season. We will have blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blackberries, plums, apples, and pears for those who are especially discerning.

What should my kid bring to farm camp?

The biggest thing to remember is that our farm camps take place almost exclusively outdoors, unless the weather is dangerous (ie., lightning). Thus, kids should bring weather-appropriate clothing for whatever is forecasted. Raincoats and boots for rainy days, sunscreen for sunny days, etc. You be the judge! Think of what you would want if you were going to spend the day outside. We recommend sending a towel and a change of clothes on Monday that can stay at camp and be used in the event that it’s needed.

Additionally, they should have a morning snack, refillable water bottle, and a sizable lunch.

Where can I learn more?

Summer camp homepage: Your portal for all things summer camp

Ten reasons to send your kid to farm camp

Summer camp video: A day in the life of an Oxbow summer camper

Directions: Again, Google Maps is a good resource for getting close to us. Here are specific details for finding our main entrance from Highway 203.

Contact us: The farmers are available by phone (425-788-1134 x3) and email (education@oxbow.org).

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