Camp FAQs

For Parents and Guardians

Yes! 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 more 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. 

There are no fully indoor spaces at camp. During the week, campers will spend all their time outside, so please plan accordingly. We have large tents, heaters, and evaporative coolers for when the weather gets to extremes that make outside activities unpleasant (see our Extreme Heat Policy for more details).  As the farm is in a floodplain, the plumbing and sewage systems are limited. Bathrooms at camp are modular “Honey Buckets”  that are single-occupancy and lockable, providing privacy for campers during use. In addition to 3 standard Honey Buckets, Oxbow also has 2 ADA-accessible Honey Buckets; 1 near the farm stand (near the check-in/check-out table) and 1 near the Kids’ Farm. Hand-washing stations are also available in the living playground area. The farm DOES have filtered, running water that is safe to drink, available at “riser” spigots located throughout the farm, including in the Kids’ Farm, Living Playground, Orchard, and Check-in/Check-out table. This water is great for filling up water bottles, but can have a slightly metallic taste due to our metal pipes. While perfectly safe to drink, some campers don’t love it, so we recommend campers put a mint leaf in their bottle, or you can provide them with a flavoring packet to improve the taste and help them stay excited to keep hydrated. 

All Oxbow Camp staff are certified in adult and children First Aid and CPR, though we do not have a nurse on site and therefore Oxbow staff/volunteers cannot administer internal medications including over-the-counter items. We understand many of our campers may have health conditions which require medication during their time at camp. Our registration questions include an inquiry on each campers’ medical history with the opportunity to list medications and specific care instructions. This information is shared with relevant instructors and camp staff. If your child has an epi-pen or Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions or uses an inhaler for asthma, we ask that the child always carry it in their daypack. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to check with their camp instructor during drop-off and let them know where it is in case of emergency. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at camp@oxbow.org. 

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lunch, water, and substantial snacks brought in low waste containers and a reusable water bottle
  • Sunscreen and hat
  • Clothes/layers for inclement weather (we’ll be outside all day) including: rain coat, warm layers, t-shirt for warmer weather, boots for mud, hiking and farming.
  • Extra full change of clothes (shirt, pants/shorts, socks), each item labeled with campers’ name. We suggest making a list or taking a photo of the items your child brings to camp so you can be sure your family gets all your child’s items back at the end of the camp week. If you think your child may have left an item at camp and want to check our lost and found, please reach out to camp@oxbow.org. 

The biggest thing to remember is that our farm camps take place exclusively outdoors, unless the weather is dangerous (lightning or heavy wildfire smoke, for example). Wear or pack weather-appropriate clothing for the forecast. Use your judgment!  

Please see our weather-related closures policy and other important information here.

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 learn about the core activities and focus for the day. 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. Each day has a few pre-planned activities centered around the week’s theme, sometimes including a special guest leading a project or lesson. For the rest of the day, camp instructors leave space for kid-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 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 themselves in their own way. 

Camper quote: “This is the most creative farm 

Our counselors are trained in helping campers make new friends, but we are happy to honor group requests as much as we’re able. Please see our policy regarding this for more information.

Payment is due at the time of registration. If cost provides a hardship, please reach out to us to discuss payment options and accommodations 

Cancellations: Oxbow will retain $75 for administration and processing fees. 

Cancellation made 14 days or less prior to the camp session starting date: Oxbow is unable to offer any refunds or credits. 

In extreme circumstances in which it would not be safe to host camp, Oxbow will cancel and refund 100% of camp program fees. For information on our Acts of Mother Nature policy and cancellations due to COVID-19, please see our policies page. 

For more details, visit our policies page.

Absolutely! Our farm is open to the public during our Farm most weekends (and select weekdays during the summer), where you can come to visit, make a picnic, walk our trails, and stop by to get some fresh produce at our Farm Stand. Visiting hours are updated on our website here. For an opportunity to explore Oxbow in a more guided and educational format, we encourage you to sign up (or encourage your child’s teacher to sign up) for one of our Farm Adventure programs – available Spring, Summer and Fall (weekdays only.) More information is available here.

We love it when campers’ families and other adults want to get involved with camp too! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our thematic camp topics and enjoy your summer outside in the Snoqualmie Valley. We are looking for potential volunteers, 15 years old and up and ideally with some experience working with children, to spend a week (or more!) supporting camp groups during Summer Camp. We generally pair parents/guardians/siblings with a different group from their camper for the week, to offer independence for the campers and let adults focus on supporting their camp group as much as possible. If you are interested and want to learn more, contact our volunteer coordinator at camp@oxbow.org and check out our website: www.oxbow.org/get-involved/volunteer  

Note: at this time we’re not looking for volunteers for our spring camp!

While masking is encouraged for any campers/staff who have concerns about exposing themselves or others to airborne illness, we will not require any campers to wear masks while at campWe will continue to implement rigorous hygiene, health and safety procedures and policies during all our camp sessions, and will adjust our safety policies based on King County/Washington State Department of Health recommendations, and clearly communicate any changes before they are implementedYou can refer to the Oxbow Summer Camp COVID Policies document for our current procedures and policies. 

Summer camp is for children ages 7-11: We love having kids of all ages visit Oxbow. However, as our groups have grown, we are making an effort to understand and serve kids better, according to their age group. 

Spring camp is for kids ages 11-15: We’re excited to launch our Spring Farm Camp for older, more focused environment enthusiasts. It will be a practical experience, diving into farming, food systems, and conservation. Spots are limited – you can register on our website here.

If you plan to register your camper for multiple weeks, we recommend choosing two different camp themes. Each week of camp is intended to be a standalone camp experience. We strive to provide similar opportunities to all of our campers, so many planned activities and daily topics will be consistent from one week to another within the themes. By choosing two different themes, you’re providing us a chance to better engage all campers and share new experiences with your child. Thank you in advance! 

Yes, if a camp session is full, you can still register and be added to our waitlist. If anyone cancels or changes their session we’ll reach out to you to inform you of the new opening and help you with your registration process. 

For Campers

Well, it depends on which session you choose. But you can be sure you will be joining a group of kids, volunteers, and staff who are excited about farming and nature! We will run around, play, learn, make some crafts, and have lots of fun exploring the ins and outs of a real-life farm.

Bugs can be a farmer’s best friend. They are an essential part of the environment and even help our plants and crops grow. We’ll learn how to be around them safely, and help you to feel comfortable and confident in the great outdoors.

Always! Our fantastic staff members and volunteers are here to help you at all times; we want you to come as you are, ready to learn new skills and even meet some new friends.

If you need to talk to your parent about something, we can help you get in touch with them. But we promise you will be having so much fun, you won’t even think about it!

We encourage you to leave your toys (or phones/tablets) at home or in the car to avoid distractions or lost items. We understand you might want to bring something to make you feel more comfortable, but we are here for you with a day full of fun activities and friends; let’s give your toys a well-deserved break.

You will bring water and a lunch from home to make sure you have enough energy for the day. And here at the farm, we will harvest some veggies together, try new flavors, and you might even cook some new yummies!

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 240 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.