Explore, play, and learn this summer at Rice Creek! Exploring Nature is an educational program designed to encourage young people's curiosity about their world through science activities, games, and nature walks. We invite you to experience our state-of-the-art science facility, 350-acre natural area, and 5 miles of trails skirting forests, fields, ponds, and streams.

Exploring Nature is an area tradition, first established in 1983. Our dedicated and passionate instructors have been involved with Exploring Nature for many years, and most are certified teachers.

Exploring Nature 2021

(April 13) We are thrilled to announce that we have received approval to run Exploring Nature in person this summer! The dates will be July 5-9, 12-16, and potentially also 19-23. We will update this page with additional information in the coming weeks. For now, please save the date(s)!

We have kept 2020 dates and links on this webpage as a reference for next year; we ask that you please do not register or make payments at this time.


Week 1: July 6–10, 2020
Week 2: July 13-17, 2020
(2020 program cancelled; 2021 dates TBD)

Daily Schedule
Monday- Friday, 9 am - 2 pm, drop-off begins at 8:45 am


Per week
Standard rate: $150
Rice Creek Associates member rate: $130
After-care: $60


Registration is open March 1 - June 20, 2020 or until full

Online Registration Form (Form closed)
Pay Online (link removed) 


  • Full and partial scholarships are available based on financial need through generous funding from Rice Creek Associates and private donors.
  • Apply for a scholarship by May 31 using our regular registration form
  • We will notify families of their scholarship decision by June 5 and payment (if any remaining) will be due by June 20, the registration deadline.


New this year, we are providing optional daycare for program participants from 2 - 5 pm. This is a time for monitored free play, with no formal programming. We will provide a safe space, books, puzzles, games, and a snack for participants enrolled in after care. After care costs $60 per week (just $4 per hour).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is paper registration available?

If you prefer to fill out a physical form, we have printable registration form (link removed) available. Directions for mailing/dropping off form, immunization records, and payment provided at the bottom of the form.

Are lunch and snacks provided?

Fees do not include lunch or snack, as they are not provided for the regular program. The after-care cost includes a snack.

How are groups assigned?

Children will be split into groups per age/grade and groups will be filled on a first-come basis, upon receiving full payment with completed registration materials.

What is the deadline for immunization records?

Immunization records must be received by the application deadline, June 20, 2020. U.S. Post Mark by 6/16 to ensure receipt by 20th.

How do I request a refund?

Program fees for withdrawing are refundable by check, less $25 per child per week, when we receive written notification by June 20 that your child cannot attend.

Due to instructor plans, no refunds will be given after 6/20

Contact us

Have additional questions? Please contact us at rcfs@oswego.edu or 315-312-6677.