Summer camp can be one of the most memorable experiences of a child’s life. It’s a time to make new friends and pursue interests in a fun, supportive environment. Cub Creek Science Camp offers children ages 7 to 17 a summer of adventure and education. “The last few years gave us new appreciation for what the camp experience means to kids, especially during a time when they weren’t able to interact with their friends and peers,” camp and creative director Ari Farley says. “We want to do everything we can to make sure we provide the best summer experience.”

Located on a 300-acre exotic animal ranch just north of Rolla, Missouri, Cub Creek is home to more than 300 creatures, including birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Through supervised lessons, kids and teens learn about proper handling and care along with important scientific concepts. Beyond practical skills and knowledge, they also develop lasting connections with the animals. Farley says bonding with animals can benefit the campers socially and emotionally. “When campers are feeling homesick, they can visit a sugar glider at night, brush a horse or just take some time to pet a cat or dog,” she notes. “Kids get to have a good time at camp, but if they’re having a hard time, the animals can make it better.”

For campers who want a more in-depth experience with an animal, Cub Creek has the Adopt an Animal program. “A lot of campers come for the opportunity to adopt one of our animals,” Farley says. Each of the camp’s creatures are adoptable. Participants get hands-on experience taking care of the animal of their choice, helping the camp’s animal team with feeding, cleaning, enrichment and other care. At the end of the week, they are then invited to share what they learned about their animal with the rest of the campers.

The camp also is renowned for its STEM program. Cub Creek offers a junior veterinarian course in which participants learn skills like reading X-rays, suturing, conducting basic animal exams and more. They even have the opportunity to observe a live surgery conducted by the camp’s veterinarian. Along with animal science, campers can explore chemistry, physics and ecology. “Science is embedded into everything that we do at Cub Creek,” Farley explains. “The classes are all hands-on, so kids are learning scientific principles through fun activities. One of my favorites is to teach about surface tension and light refraction with bubbles.”

At Cub Creek, the focus isn’t only on animals and science, the camp also offers a wide variety of traditional activities like swimming, fishing and hiking. Junior adventurers can hit the ropes course, visit the archery range or learn survival skills. Kids interested in art can take pottery, photography and craft classes. Other unique offerings include culinary science, improv, LARPing and bucket drumming. “Most of our campers are interested in animals, but we offer so many activities that they don’t have to be to have a great time,” Farley notes. “Because our programs are so diversified, everyone can find something they can get excited about.”

Located on a 300-acre exotic animal ranch just north of Rolla, Missouri, Cub Creek Science Camp offers children ages 7 to 17 more than 100 activities and hands-on encounters with more than 100 species of animals. For more information, call 573.458.2125 or visit

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of Cub Creek Science Camp

Pictured at top: Campers experience hands-on encounters with animals.
Photo courtesy of Cub Screen Science Camp