GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Participate in scientific fun by attending one of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Family Discovery Camps! Designed for children in grades K-6 and family members of all ages, these immersive camps are designed to provide a memorable and inspiring experience for kids and adults alike.

Four weekend sessions will be hosted this July and August at the University of Florida’s Natural Area Teaching Laboratory and the Florida Museum, each offering an exciting opportunity to bond with family and learn about science. Camp attendees can expect a hands-on experience led by a UF scientist. Each session will explore a different theme, with a new scientist at every session to distribute learning materials and share their expert knowledge.

a young boy with a net, next to a body of water
A young boy uses a net to catch amphibians at a previous Family Discovery Camp. ©Florida Museum/Bonny Matejowsky

“The camps are a really great opportunity for families to come together, and I love to see how adults get just as excited as their youngest relatives,” said Janelle Peña-Jiménez, the Florida Museum’s public programs coordinator and Family Discovery Camps organizer.

This year’s camp themes are insects, archaeology, fish and birds. Sarah Steele Cabrera, a research assistant at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, will lead the insects camp. Nigel Rudolph, an archaeologist and graduate of UF’s masters of historic preservation and conservation program, will lead the archaeology camp. Basil Williams, a collections technician at the Florida Museum’s ichthyology department, will teach campers about fish. The camp on birds will be led by Glaucia Del-Rio, assistant curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum.

To complement the recent opening of the Florida Museum’s new “Water Shapes Florida” exhibit, campers will explore the role each topic plays in shaping Florida’s aquatic ecosystems. At the end of each camp, children and their families will also be provided with take-home enrichment activities, so they may continue fostering their scientific curiosity at home.

“I’m a firm believer that when kids get to participate in a hands-on experience like this, it sticks with them,” Peña-Jiménez said. “The hope is that by creating a memorable experience, we can help inspire our next generation of future scientists.”

Camp sessions last two hours and will take place on the following dates:

• “Discover Insects,” July 13, 9-11 a.m.
• “Discover Archaeology,” July 20, 9-11 a.m.
• “Discover Fish,” July 27, 9-11 a.m.
• “Discover Birds,” Aug. 3, 9-11 a.m.

Due to the outdoor location and hands-on nature of the camps, attendees should dress accordingly with appropriate footwear and clothes that can get dirty or wet. Preregistration is required. Fees are $15 for non-members and $12 for museum members.

For more information, or to register, visit


Writer: Emma Riutort,
Source: Janelle Peña-Jiménez,
Media contact: Kaitlin Gardiner,