Cub Creek Science Camp

Some children might visit a zoo over their summer vacation. Others actually get to stay at one. If your child dreams about wild animals, fascinating science experiments and far-off adventures, Cub Creek Science Camp has a summertime solution.

Located near Rolla, Mo., Cub Creek is a 240-acre exotic animal ranch that provides a hands-on camp experience to children ages 7 through 17. “We’re the only camp of our kind in the world that we know of—we built a zoo on our property for the kids!” says owner Lori Martin. From feeding to petting, campers truly interact with the animals. This 21-year-old institution houses more than 100 species, as well as some 1,500 campers each summer.

Cub Creek refers to itself as six camps in one: a traditional, animal, science, arts and crafts, adventure and nature camp, allowing youngsters to customize their experience around their interests. For each week at camp, campers select two courses and a variety of classes. This means a camper focused in veterinary science and geology still can take an afternoon to enjoy pottery or archery.

Cub Creek campers don’t just get to meet and mingle with the animals—which they do, as the enclosures allow kids to “go into a colony of ring-tailed lemurs and have them totally surround you in the trees,” for example—but they also get to interact with other children from almost every state and approximately 10 countries. “Kids come and are nice to each other,” Martin says, noting that this “culture of kindness” encourages children to meet other kids from all over with similar interests.

The latest addition to the Cub Creek program takes campers all the way to the ocean for the new Animal Camp Jamaica. “The first group comes down this summer,” says Martin. “It’s geared for the camper who is seriously thinking about pursuing marine biology. It’s a marine tropical paradise; I’ve traveled to a lot of places, and Jamaica is just beautiful.” The three, 13-day programs feature opportunities like snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as climbing a waterfall, kayaking along the coast and assisting an area school.

But before a camper can head to Jamaica, they must get some experience at Cub Creek. Registration is now open for the upcoming summer sessions, which are available in one-, two-, four- and six-week plans.

On the Cover: Cub Creek Science Camp has been offering children a hands-on summertime experience since 1993. For more information, call 573-458-2125 or visit

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