10 Outdoor Science Labs for Kids and Teens | askBAMLand

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Ready to turn outdoor spaces into science masterclasses?

Think of your backyard as the coolest lab around!

Boldly stepping outside can transform conventional learning into an adventure brimming with discovery and hands-on learning.

When kids and teenagers engage with nature, they ignite a curiosity that books alone can't kindle.

Exploring ten top outdoor science labs will unlock a universe of learning for kids and teens.

These labs offer practical experiences that go beyond the classroom, perfect for the budding scientist looking to experiment in the great outdoors.

You don't have to take our word for it; the proof is in the pudding—or should we say, pond water samples?

These programs have a track record of inspiring young minds to embrace environmental science, sustainability, and love for nature.

By participating, students gain a deeper understanding of ecological systems, scientific principles, and the importance of stewardship.

They're not just learning about the world; they're learning how to change it.

Key Takeaways

  • Outdoor labs provide immersive science education.
  • Programs across various locations foster hands-on learning.
  • Students gain environmental awareness and stewardship skills.

Table of Contents

Outdoor Science School (California)

Have you ever imagined science class being as thrilling as a mountain adventure?

Well, guess what—you can stop imagining!

Pack your hiking boots because there's an Outdoor Science School waiting for you in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains!

What's better than breathing in fresh pine-scented air while learning about the wonders of ecology, geology, and astronomy?

This isn't your typical classroom environment; we're talking about real-world learning where you can touch, see, and live science.

Ready to explore?

At the Outdoor Science School, the natural world becomes your laboratory.

Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Ecology: Discover the rich biodiversity of the mountains hands-on! Who needs a book when you can observe life cycles in their natural habitat?
  • Geology: Rocks are more than just, well, rocks here. Find out how the San Gabriel Mountains were formed—one exciting expedition at a time.
  • Astronomy: Under the clear mountain skies, you'll see more stars than a Hollywood premiere. Bring the universe closer with nightly stargazing sessions.

Now, you might be wondering, "Do I need any fancy equipment?" Not at all!

Your curiosity and a willingness to engage with the environment are all that's necessary.

And the best part is that this program runs Monday through Friday, making it the perfect weekly escape into nature.

With a focus on interactive education, each day serves up a buffet of learning opportunities crafted for kids and teens like you.

By integrating outdoor experiences with scientific inquiry, you can expect:

  • Immersive Activities: Say goodbye to yawns and hello to awe as you get up-close with local wildlife and ecosystems.
  • Personal Growth: Challenges that encourage teamwork, leadership, and persistence. Yes, you can do it!
  • Memory-Making: These are the stories you'll tell for years. Trust me.

So, ready to swap your desk for the great outdoors?

The Outdoor Science School in California is where adventure meets education, creating an unforgettable learning experience.

Just don't forget your sunblock!

NatureBridge (Various Locations)

Ever wondered what it’s like to have a classroom that includes towering granite domes and gushing waterfalls?

At NatureBridge, you get to step out of the four walls and immerse yourself in nature's own laboratory.

With locations in breathtaking national parks like Yosemite and the Marin Headlands, curiosity and adventure are the norms here.

So, what can you and others your age expect?

Imagine hands-on environmental science programs that take you through scenic trails and wildflowers, offering more than just a peek into ecology and earth sciences.

These programs are tailored for different age groups and occur year-round, meaning there's always an opportunity to start learning.

Think about this: How often do you get to say, "Today, I learned about ecosystems by hiking through one"?

NatureBridge makes this a reality for over 30,000 students each year, helping form a compassionate connection to our planet.

Their mission hits home - connecting young minds to science and self-discovery, minus the screens and tech distractions.

Here’s a snapshot of what they offer:

  • Exciting Locations: Golden Gate, Yosemite, Olympic, and more.
  • Ages: Programs are available for a variety of age groups.
  • Cost: Programs range from $225-$275, making it an affordable adventure.
  • Technology-Free: A real break from screens to connect with the environment.
  • Educational Perspective: With a focus on stewardship and the wonder of the natural world.

NatureBridge also acknowledges the cultural significance of its locations, operating with respect on the unceded territories of the Coast Miwok and Ohlone, among others.

So, not only do you learn about nature, but also about the historical and cultural narratives of these lands.

Ready to lace up your hiking boots and engage in some serious fun learning?

NatureBridge is waiting for you.

IslandWood (Washington)

Hey there, outdoor enthusiast!

Have you heard about IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, WA?

It's not just your average outdoor camp—this place is all about diving hands-on into the wonders of nature.

Imagine you're surrounded by lush forests and learning about sustainability right where the action is.

Exciting, right?

Here’s the scoop on IslandWood:

  • Location: 4450 Blakely Ave. NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
  • Contact: 206.855.4300
  • Status: Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
  • Tax ID: 31-1654076

Think of IslandWood as your open-air classroom where you can connect with the environment.

You get to be a part of cool programs that mix adventure with education, giving you real-world skills in environmental science.

Whether you're a little sprout or a growing sapling in your teen years, there’s something for you.

Plus, it's a charitable organization, so your involvement supports a great cause!

What Can You Do at IslandWood?

  • Explore nature trails with expert guides
  • Conduct environmental science experiments
  • Learn about local ecosystems and their conservation
  • Engage in community building activities

Ready to trade your indoor lab for a forest canopy?

Remember the address and give them a ring to jump into your next adventure.

UIFontsghr chase curiosity at IslandWood!

NorthBay Adventure (Maryland)

Have you ever imagined combining the thrill of adventure with learning?

NorthBay Adventure in Maryland does just that!

It's an exciting place where middle schoolers can spend a week-long residential experience that's not only fun but also enriches their minds.

  • Duration: 5 days, 4 nights
  • Focus: Academic engagement and social emotional development

Imagine waking up to the fresh breeze of the Chesapeake Bay, ready to dive into environmental science like never before.

At NorthBay, students actively explore ecosystems and engage in conservation efforts.

It’s learning, but with a twist of adventure!

  • Subjects: Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
  • Activities: Authentic investigations of environmental issues

They say actions speak louder than words, right?

Here, kids learn how their choices impact the future and the world around them.

They're not just told about these issues; they get to experience them hands-on.

  • Team Building: Increases collaboration skills
  • Day Trips: Packed with educational pursuits

Every day is different at NorthBay.

Your child could be mastering science one day and practicing teamwork the next.

It's an education that sticks because it's not just heard; it's done.

Plus, who wouldn't want to learn about gravity by launching water rockets?

Sounds cool, doesn't it?

Remember, it's not just a trip.

It's a legacy-building adventure that empowers students to make a difference in their communities.

So, why not let your kids embark on a journey that blends the thrill of discovery with the joy of learning?

NorthBay Adventure awaits!

Keystone Science School (Colorado)

Hey there!

Have you ever dreamed of unraveling the mysteries of the stars, rocks, and local environment with a hearty dose of adventure?

At Keystone Science School (KSS) in Colorado, kids and teens just like you get their hands dirty (literally!) while diving into the wonders of nature.

Imagine spending your days in the breathtaking Rockies, engaging in activities that balance fun with educational value.

Whether it's peering into a telescope to witness the marvels of the universe, examining fascinating rocks to learn about geology, or exploring environmental science in an immersive way, KSS has a knack for making science an adventure!

KSS isn't just any outdoor classroom; it's a place where you can nurture your inner scientist:

  • Program Length: From 6 to 12-day camping-based trips.
  • Activities: Outdoor skills development like climbing, backpacking, and more.
  • Age Range: Programs are designed for K-12 students; there's something for everyone!

The excitement doesn't end there!

KSS offers both day camps for younger explorers and more intensive overnight options.

If you're a teen eager for a challenge, the Adventures program will take your breath away (and not just because of the altitude).

Roam Colorado's stunning parks, climb rocks, and paddle through rushing waters - all while fostering leadership skills.

Best of all, by pairing up with local initiatives like Angry James Brewery, KSS shows how community partnerships can lead to tasty results and support a great cause.

Their Hot Pink Gorilla Sour Ale isn't just a mouthful to say; it's a unique way to sip for science!

Think about it: Where else can you transform your curiosity about the world into a real-life outdoor escapade?

Keystone Science School is your gateway to not just answering the call of the wild but also to understanding it better.

Will I see you there?

Nature's Classroom (New England)

Have you ever imagined a classroom under the canopy of towering trees or beside a babbling brook?

Well, Nature's Classroom turns that into reality.

With locations scattered superbly across New England, this educational wonderland is a goldmine for hands-on science fun!

Are you thinking, "What's in store for my curious kid here?" Picture this: students stepping out from their everyday school environment into a world where learning is an adventure.

Nature's Classroom orchestrates outdoor education programs tailored to include key elements of science, math, and social studies.

  • Science: Measure the pH level of a stream or spot local wildlife and understand their habitat.
  • Math: Use natural resources to calculate areas or create geometric shapes you find in nature.
  • Social Studies: Dive into outdoor survival skills or navigate using cardinal directions—learning history and geography by truly living it.

Why does this matter?

Because students at Nature's Classroom not only read about the carbon cycle—they witness it within the layers of a forest floor.

And it's not just about observing; it's about doing.

They might track animal prints in the mud or identify plant species, adding layers to their knowledge with every leaf turned.

Can you imagine their thrill?

The challenge of identifying bird calls, hands immersed in soil testing, or the quest of a nature scavenger hunt—it's science in action!

This approach aligns beautifully with state standards, ensuring your kids gain valuable insights without missing a beat academically.

And best of all, they bring home more than just muddy boots and pine cones—their backpacks are filled with practical knowledge and unforgettable memories.

Isn't that what true learning should be about?

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (Minnesota)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to explore the great outdoors while learning about the environment?

At Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, you don't just wonder, you discover!

Nestled in the picturesque setting of Finland, Minnesota, this center isn't your typical classroom—it’s a 2,000-acre playground for your mind.

Imagine waking up to the crisp, clean air of northern Minnesota and spending your days hiking through mixed forests of maple, birch, and spruce.

Canoeing on tranquil lakes and snowshoeing across silent, snowy trails are just a part of the daily routine here.

And guess what?

You’re not just having fun, you're gaining some serious knowledge about ecology, wildlife, and how to live sustainably.

  • Location: Finland, Minnesota
  • Size: 2,000 acres
  • Features: Lakes, creeks, high peaks
  • Overlooking: Lake Superior
  • Activities: Hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing

Youth Summer Programs cater to K-12 students, offering a range of immersive experiences.

From short overnight stays to full-week adventures, every program is packed with learning opportunities guided by experienced naturalists.

Did you know that Wolf Ridge has been welcoming curious minds since 1971?

That’s over five decades of educating and inspiring.

And it’s not just during the summer; this center offers programs all year round.

So whether you’re strapping on snowshoes or dipping a paddle, every season has its unique charm and lessons to offer.

Here’s something for the fact-lovers: Over 12,000 visitors annually walk the trails and learn at this center.

And with 18 miles of hiking trails, two lakes, and two high peaks, you're bound to find a new adventure every time you visit.

Remember, there’s no substitute for the hands-on learning you can experience at Wolf Ridge.

Ready to let your curiosity run wild in nature's own science lab?

Pack those bags, it's learning adventure time!

Teton Science Schools (Wyoming)

Ever wondered what it would be like to learn science by wading through creeks and exploring forests?

At Teton Science Schools in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you can do just that!

These schools are not your typical classrooms; they are gateways to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and what a classroom it is!

Program Details:

  • Duration: June 17 - August 9
  • Schedule: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Extended Day: Available from 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Age Groups: Welcomes a variety of ages, but remember, kiddos must be potty trained!
  • Capacity: 13 campers

Your backyard for the duration of the program includes nearly 900 acres of creeks, ponds, and a mix of habitats from aspen forests to grasslands.

Bet you can't wait to slip on your boots and go out on 1-2 journeys each week!

Teton Science Schools have tailor-made programs where your learning comes alive as you get hands-on experience.

You’ll literally be up to your elbows in nature, practicing scientific skills, all while having a blast.

Who knew learning could be this adventurous?

Planning for little explorers?

They’ll need some downtime too, so there's a cozy 1 hour of rest and relaxation each day factored in.

And for parents, the cost is $600 - a worthy investment for the budding scientist in the family.


  • Perfectly poised to make the most of Jackson Hole's unique features.
  • Designed with nature and education in mind.

Imagine learning in the heart of nature's playground.

At Teton Science Schools, that’s just another day at camp.

Ready to jump in?

Outdoor Lab Schools (Virginia)

Ever wondered where you could find an outdoor classroom that takes science lessons outside the four walls?

Look no further than Virginia’s Outdoor Lab Schools!

Imagine learning about biodiversity with your feet in the stream and the wind in your hair – that's what Arlington Public Schools offer.

The Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Lab is a gem nestled in nature’s lap, stretching across 225 acres.

It's where you, the urban explorer, can swap city streets for meadows and mountain trails.

Typically, up to six classes per week find themselves here, diving into all things science and nature.

  1. What's there?
  1. Meadows to run free in
  2. Mountains to climb
  3. Streams to hike beside
  4. Ponds to fish in

AstroCamp, another star in Virginia’s educational sky, sprawls over 406 acres, and it takes science to the heavens.

Two hours north of Raleigh, North Carolina, this camp combines summer fun with serious science using state-of-the-art equipment to study everything from physics to stars.

Don’t want to say goodbye when the sun sets?

The Overnight Outdoor Lab Camp has got you covered with platform tents and a roster of nature-related activities to fill your week.

  1. Summer Camp 2023 Highlights:
  1. Sessions for students entering 7th to 9th grade
  2. Hands-on experiences in June 2024

Picture yourself sleeping under Virginia's starry skies after a day packed with hands-on learning.

Ready to grab a backpack and step into the wonder of Virginia's outdoor labs?

Remember, it's here that the classroom has no walls, and the sky’s the limit!

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (Tennessee)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to turn the Great Smoky Mountains into your personal classroom?

At the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Tennessee, you can do exactly that!

It's not just about leafing through a textbook; it's about living the science.

What's Waiting for You?

  • Hands-on Learning: Get ready for science that's as real as it gets—from studying biodiversity to engaging in water quality projects.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Fancy making rock paint by a waterfall or enjoying a game of Camouflage in the woods? It's all about learning while playing.
  • Backpacking Treks: Challenge yourself with multi-day backpacking adventures where the trails teach you about ecology and conservation.

But hey, it's not just playtime.

The Institute is serious about nurturing young naturalists.

You might just bond with a scientist and uncover the secrets of the Smokies.

And teachers, there's something special for you too!

Professional development through Teacher Escape Weekends and Science Teacher Institutes is on the menu.

Programs Galore!

From tadpoles to trail-blazers, there's a program for every age and interest:

  • Youth Programs: For the budding environmentalists.
  • Adult Programs: Because why should kids have all the fun?
  • Educator Workshops: To take back the wilderness wisdom to your classroom.

Pack your bags for Tremont, where the mountains are your walls, and the rivers your streaming service.

Remember, learning is the adventure you've been looking for.

Are you ready to answer the call of the wild?


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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