Essex County News

Local Children Invited to Register for Essex County Summer Camps


WEST ORANGE, NJ – Children of all ages are invited to participate in spring and summer camp opportunities at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, Essex County Codey Arena and the Essex County Environmental Center.

The zoo has several weeklong camp adventures that will introduce children to the extraordinary world of animals, nature and science. Campers and their parents/guardians are invited to learn about these opportunities attend zoo’s second annual Summer Camp Open House on March 3 from noon to 3 p.m.

According Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, these affordable programs provide the campers with a fun and enriching experience while school is on recess.

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“Young people can learn about nature and animals through exciting hands-on activities while visiting Essex County Turtle Back Zoo or our Environmental Center,” he said. “Youngsters will have a fun-filled adventure when they go to one of our affordable camps at either facility. For a great physical challenge, they can hit the ice at Codey Arena in our Learn to Skate programs. Every day brings something new in Essex.”

At this free open house event, prospective campers and their parents can meet camp counselors, learn about the science-based curriculum, try a camp-styled activity and say hello to a few of the zoo’s Animal Ambassadors. 

The weeklong Spring Break Mini-Camp is from Monday, April 2 to Friday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Students ages 5 to 10 become world travelers as they learn about animals and cultures from around the globe. Discovery activities, science experiments and special animal experiences make this a fun way to spend spring break. Enroll for one day or attend all week. 

The Zoo Summer Camp will be held from July through August from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Campers will be introduced to the extraordinary world of animals, nature and science. The age-appropriate themed camps for children ages 5 to 14 include hands-on scientific inquiry, teacher-guided lessons, behind-the-scenes experiences, up-close animal encounters, and fun crafts and activities. Zoological Society members may register beginning Saturday, March 17; online registration for the general public begins Saturday, March 31. 

To learn more about these programs or to register, visit Advanced registration and payment are required. Turtle Back Zoo is located at 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange.

The Essex County Environmental Center is offering Nature Explorers Spring and Summer Camps for children in pre-school to grade 5.

The Nature Explorers Spring Camp is a three-day program for children in grades 1 to 5. Children will have the opportunity to explore nature at the Essex County Environmental Center.

The sessions are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3; Wednesday, April 4; and Thursday, April 5 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $150 per child for all three days or $50 per child per day.

The Wilderness Skills Summer Camp is for children in grades 5 to 8. Traditional Earth Skills Instructor Mike Dennis will lead two sessions of outdoor skills building. During session one, students will take a traditional approach and, during session two, a modern approach will be followed.

Participants will identify plants, learn to track animals, create fire, go canoeing, make natural rope, build shelters and more. Children can sign up for one or two sessions. Session one is Wednesday, June 26; Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Session two is Tuesday, July 3; Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There is no camp on Wednesday, July 4th. The cost is $195 per child/per week.

The Nature Explorers Summer Camp is a one-week program for children in pre-kindergarten to grade 4. Students will explore woodland and river habitats for insects, birds, amphibians, Lenape life and much more.

Children can sign up for one or two weeks per grade level. Sessions for children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten will be held July 9 to 13 and July 16 to 20 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Sessions for children in grades 1 and 2 will be held July 23 to July 27 and July 30 to August 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Sessions for children in grades 3 and 4 will be held August 6th to 10th and August 13 to 17 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $160 per child/per week for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten sessions; $180 per child/per week for grades 1 and 2; and $200 per child/per week for grades 3 and 4.

A minimum number of participants, advanced registration and payment are required. For information, call the Environmental Center at 973-228-8776. The Essex County Environmental Center is located at 621B Eagle Rock Avenue in Roseland.

Essex County Codey Arena has sessions of its “Learn to Skate” camps available for young skaters as well as hockey and figure skating camps.

Spring Learn to Skate classes are held for eight weeks from March to May on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $140. Summer Learn to Skate classes are held for six-to-eight weeks from June to July on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the cost ranges from $125 to $145.

A Summer Figure Skating Camp is held weekly from Monday, June 25 to Friday, August 3. Full-and half-day sessions are available. The cost is $400 per week for full-day sessions and $285 per week for half-day sessions.

The schedule for Summer Hockey Camps is as follows:

D1 Hockey Development Camp - Monday, July 9 to Friday, July 13

Great Saves Goaltending Camp - Monday, July 9 to Friday, July 13; Monday, July 23 to Friday, July 27

Erik Nates Hockey Camp  - Monday, July 16 to Monday, July 23

Simply Defense Hockey Camp - Friday, July 20 to Sunday, July 22

Pro Ambitions Hockey Camp - Monday, July 30 to Friday, August 3.


For information about and fees for the skating programs, call the arena at 973-731-3828. Essex County Codey Arena is located at 560 Northfield Avenue in West Orange.

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