Summer Camp FAQs

Where is Oxbow?


The view from above.

Where is Oxbow? Not that far away! Oxbow is nestled in the Snoqualmie Valley at 10819 Carnation-Duvall Road (Highway 203) in Carnation, WA, about 20 minutes east of Redmond.

Summer campers should enter through our West Entrance on 268th Ave NE. Directions to our West Entrance can be found here. Google Maps often directs visitors to our Delivery Entrance, so please pay extra attention and use the specific directions for the West Entrance on our website.

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


Learning the art of lettuce-washing.

Yes AND yes! Oxbow is farm and conservation center, and we have been producing delicious certified organic vegetables on our land for nearly 2 decades. Our farm grows produce for local grocery stores, restaurants, and for hunger relief. We believe that the authenticity of our farm is a valuable asset to our mission to educate kids. Kids see BIG farmers on BIG tractors in BIG fields doing real farm work, and it’s a great opportunity for them to start to understand where their food comes from.

Our 1-acre certified organic Kids’ Farm is separate from our production farm, and is used exclusively by—you guessed it—kids! This “demonstration farm” allows our littlest farmers to experience hands-on cultivating and harvesting in a safe and accessible space. The Kids’ Farm is adjacent to our Children’s Garden and Living Playground which includes tunnels to explore, a child-friendly tractor to climb on, raised garden beds, a working greenhouse, a picnicking area, and a small, shaded amphitheater, all devoted exclusively to our education programming.

Our summer camp staff are trained educators hired for their experience working with children, and are certified in CPR and First Aid. We take the physical and emotional safety of our young visitors very seriously (see further information below). 

 Are there animals?


Just a few of the wild creatures spotted at Oxbow.

Are there animals? We do not have domestic farm animals at Oxbow, but our property is teeming with life! We frequently see or hear rabbits, frogs, coyotes, snakes (the safe kind), insects, great blue herons, hummingbirds, eagles, and hawks all around our 230 total acres of fields and forest. 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.

What will my kid be doing at farm camp?


Teamwork in action!

What will my kid be doing at farm camp? There is so much for kids to do at Oxbow! As campers arrive, they will choose a morning activity and transition into the day. All campers then meet as a group for opening circle and story time, receiving a daily theme to explore. Most of the day is spent within a small group led by one of our instructors and trained volunteers, keeping a 1:12 instructor-to-camper ratio for older groups and a 1:9 ratio for younger groups. Each day has a few pre-planned activities, sometimes including a special guest leading a project or lesson. For the rest of the day, camp instructors leave space for child-led fun and guide campers through team building games and nature exploration. Oxbow has hiking trails, a living playground and climbing tractor, farm fields to explore, two wetland ecosystems, and countless other crafts and activities for campers to enjoy.

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

For example, an energetic 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 group of exuberant nine- and ten-year olds might work together to plant, water, weed, or harvest a row of cabbage if their instructor wants to challenge them to cooperate. A curious group of any age might take a silent walk through a field of cover crop, find a sit spot to observe nature and write in a journal, or make artwork with natural artifacts found on their hike.

But, my kid doesn’t like vegetables…


Vegetables: edible AND wearable!

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 when kids see firsthand where their food comes from. Campers sometimes even surprise themselves! As stated by a summer camp participant in 2016, “When the farmers aren’t looking, I eat kale.”

Aside from vegetables, summer  is high fruit season. During our camp days, we might enjoy blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and apples—sure to please any crowd.

What should my child bring to farm camp?


Mud happens.

What should my child bring to farm camp? The biggest thing to remember is that our farm camps take place exclusively outdoors, unless the weather is dangerous (lightning, for example). Wear or pack weather-appropriate clothing for the forecast: raincoats and boots for rainy days; sunscreen and hats for sunny days, etc. Use your judgment! We recommend sending a towel and an extra change of clothes in a clearly-labeled bag on the first day of camp—we will store it for the duration of camp and use it if needed!

Additionally, campers should pack a morning snack, refillable water bottle, and a sizable lunch every day. Please keep in mind our low-waste initiative and use reusable containers when possible!

What bathroom facilities do you have for my child to use?


Into the woods for a nature hike.

What bathroom facilities do you have for my child to use? Since we’re outside all day, camp groups use Honey Buckets, which are maintained on a weekly basis and equipped with anti-bacterial hand gel. If your camper can’t reach the hand gel dispenser, our instructors will help them out! We provide small seats for our tiniest campers to use the facilities comfortably. While out on the hiking trails, campers may choose to take a “nature moment” if needed. Our educators are trained to facilitate nature moments while respecting the safety and privacy of campers.

What is your health and safety policy?


Digging in, with a little gentle guidance!

What is your health and safety policy? Oxbow prioritizes the physical and emotional safety of our campers. All camp staff are CPR & First Aid certified and always carry a first aid kit, radio, and cell phone in case of emergency. Additionally, all summer camp staff receive training in early childhood development and emotional wellness to ensure that every camper receives the support they need. All injuries and behavioral incidents will be clearly communicated to parents/guardians, and a detailed response plan is in place for on-farm emergencies, which include weather/environmental threats, any accident requiring use of CPR/First Aid, and injuries requiring a visit to a hospital. Our online registration forms include space to alert us to specific concerns or needs, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about specific needs. We will do our best to accommodate.

What is your cancellation policy?


If you cancel 15 or more days prior to the camp session starting date, Oxbow will retain $75 for administration and processing fees.

If you cancel 14 days or less prior to the camp session starting date and once the camp has begun, we are unable to offer any refunds or credits.

To cancel a camp session at any time, please email education@oxbow.org or call 425-788-1134 x 3. Thank you!

Where can I learn more?


Summer camp homepage: Your portal for all things summer camp

Directions: Again, Google Maps is a good resource for getting close to us but you’ll need deviate from the directions to find our West entrance. Here are specific details for finding our WEST entrance from Highway 203.

Contact us: The Summer Camp Director is available during camp weeks by cell phone (425-419-6068)

Our main office can be reached at (425-788-1134 x3) and email (education@oxbow.org).