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 Camp Balcones

 Camp Fire's Summer Day Camp

Summertime Adventures Await!


Explore, learn, and grow with Camp Balcones - Camp Fire's Summer Camp is Austin’s premier urban nature and science day camp that sparks curiosity and inspires learning in kids ages 6 – 14 years old while preventing summer learning loss. Each week features a nature or science theme in addition to traditional camp activities like swimming, hiking, archery, canoeing, crafts, creative expression, and other fun-filled activities.


Camp Balcones has four unique weekly STEAM-based themes which incorporate hands-on, project-based activities. Your child will explore nature, identify plants and animals, and have fun with unstructured play in a safe environment with new friends and camp instructors.

Camp Balcones runs for 8 weeks during the summer, beginning on June 3rd, 2024. Camp Balcones is available Monday through Friday from 8AM to 4PM with an option for late 5PM pickups.

Ages 6 - 14   Please NOTE: Camp is for Campers who have completed KINDERGARTEN

Cost: $425 per week

Transportation $50.00 per week.  

This year we have made some adaptations to our camp program. 

    1. We are limiting participation to a total of 60 campers each week. Each group is  up to 15 campers and two counselors/assistants. This group will be together throughout camp. 

    2. Campers have the option of arriving at camp by a parent or guardian each day or traveling via one of our two van routes. Each van route will hold 10 campers and those campers will remain together all day.

3. Campers riding the van will be picked up between 8:00 - 8:30 AM each morning and dropped off by 4:00 PM each day.



Van Number One - This van will pick up at Maplewood Elementary.

Van Number Two - This Van will pick up at Northwest Recreation Center.

Van Pickup Time is 8:00 AM. Drop off is 4:00 PM for both routes. 

If you are not utilizing our van services, your camper must be dropped off at the Turkey Creek Pavilion. Drop off begins at 8:00 AM and Pickup is between 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM. Late pickups are permitted until 5:00 PM if selected during the registration process. 


We will follow CDC recommended guidelines, which at this time do not require facemasks. If you require that your child wears a facemask, we will enforce that policy on your behalf.

Campers will not be changing for swimming. We ask that parents ensure their child is wearing their swimsuit under their clothing each day so that they can remove the clothing, swim, towel off, and put their clothing back on over their swimsuit. 

As the CDC and the American Camping Association update and refine guidelines we will update and refine our processes. 



8:00 - Van Pickups or  parent drop-offs at camp

8:30 - Morning Announcements,  Vans Arrive

9:00 - First Activity Period, Morning Snack

10:00 - Second Activity Period 

11:00 -Third Activity Period 

12:00 - Lunch

1:00 - Archery

2:00 - Fourth Activity Period

3:15 - 3:30 - Vans Depart

4:00 - Campers picked up at camp or van stops

A limited number of partial scholarships and sliding fee spaces are available.

Please call Camp Fire at 512-349-2111 or at 479-685-8730 to learn more

"Camp Fire sparks an interest in kids in the world around them. When you see Camp Fire in action, the impact clicks. My girls have had a great time at the summer camp ‐ and they still talk about what they learned and did even months later."

Alicia, Camp Fire Parent

Weekly Camp Themes

Natural History


We are going all the way back to learn how our Lone Star State came to be! This week we will dive into the natural history of Texas, learning how Native Americans lived and changed the land, how Texas is home to multiple and varying ecosystems, and how geology affects both human civilizations and other animal populations. How do resources affect migrations? What caused Texas’ gold rush? What is the Balcones Escarpment? Why do we find aquatic animal fossils hundreds of miles from the ocean? We’ll investigate these questions and many more as we travel through the geologic timeline.


Example Concepts:

  • Geology, rock layers, rock cycle, fossils

  • Native plant and animal species, wild edible plants, local wildlife

  • Migration

  • Natural resources, conservation

  • Climate, biomes

Camping 101

We’ll practice basic outdoor skills one would need to safely and confidently camp in a park or natural area, such as setting up tents, starting and managing campfires, hiking and navigating, tying useful knots, and more. We’ll also learn how to be good stewards of the environment by practicing Leave No Trace principles. By the end of the week, we won’t quite be ready to tackle the Appalachian Trail, but we will be able to safely enjoy any city, state, or national park!

Example concepts:

  • Camping, tents, knots, fire safety

  • Outdoor cooking

  • Leave No Trace, hiking, wilderness first aid

  • Hydration, water filtering

  • Emergency preparation


Nature Hacks

There are lots of hints that nature will give you if you know how to look and listen. This week we’ll learn to read some of nature’s signs, as well as some tricks for being more prepared when hiking or camping. The key word will be resourcefulness: how to use what’s around us to improve our outdoor experience.

Example concepts:

  • Plant identification

  • Telling time w/ the sun

  • Orienteering

  • Duct tape crafts

  • What to pack for hiking and camping


Outdoor Detectives

Being a detective means looking, listening, and having awareness. We’ll concentrate on finding and reading clues, like animal tracks and scat, weather conditions, and logical deductions, as we search for knowledge about the world around us. We’ll learn how to use equipment like magnifying glasses, telescopes, and microscopes to aid in our searches.

Example concepts:

  • Identifying animal tracks and scat

  • Wildlife migration

  • Scavenger hunts

  • Logic puzzles

  • Observing/tracking local weather conditions


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