Camps & Classes FAQ

General Camp

How old does my child need to be to attend camp?

The grade level listed for each summer camp refers to the grade the camper will enter in the upcoming Fall. For spring break camp, the grade level listed refers to the camper's current grade. Activities are planned for specific grades, and campers will benefit from being with their own grade level. Please note: children must be a minimum age of 6 and a maximum age of 18 to attend 2nd–12th grade camps.

How do we get to camp?

Transportation is provided from Portland for 2nd–12th grade camps and is an important part of the getting-acquainted process. In most cases, buses leave OMSI at 7:30 a.m. on Monday and arrive back to OMSI at 5p.m. on Friday. Programs that differ from these departure and arrival times will be noted in the confirmation packet. If necessary, parents can drop their children off at camp or meet the bus at designated places en route by making arrangements in advance. Your confirmation packet will contain an alternate transportation form that must be completed and faxed to Program Sales and Registration prior to camp (fax: 503-239-7800). For family and adult camps, you will be responsible for providing your own transportation to camp.

Coastal Discovery Center
3400 SW Abalone Street
Newport, Oregon 97366
541-819-0030

Hancock Field Station
39472 Hwy 218
Fossil, OR 97830
541-489-3233

How is your staff screened?

OMSI Science Camps are accredited by the American Camp Association. All staff go through an extensive interview and reference check process. Criminal background checks are performed on every employee and volunteer, which includes a review of the national sex offenders registry and a fingerprint check against the national database and the databases of seven western states.

How are your instructors trained?

All of our instructors have a minimum of 48 hours of program-specific training. They also have 80 hours of Wilderness First Responder training and certification, possess lifeguard certification, and commercial driver licenses with passenger endorsements.

What is your staff to student ratio?

We adhere to a 1:7 staff to student ratio at camp.

Do you have insurance?

A limited health insurance policy covering all participants is provided by OMSI and is included in the total cost of the program.

What about meals?

Food is provided for all OMSI camps. Professional cooks and kitchen staff design and set menus that support nutrition and health. Vegetarian options are always available, and special dietary concerns, such as lactose intolerance or food allergies, are accommodated with advance notice. OMSI staff is not responsible for campers’ dietary choices while at camp. On occasion, participants will provide and prepare their own meals as they relate to specific program activities.

What does a sample day look like at OMSI camp?

For residential camps, our days typically follow this schedule:
6:30 a.m. Optional morning walk
7:00 a.m. General camp wake-up
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Field activities
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the field
2:00 p.m. Rest and relaxation
3:30 p.m. Interest groups
5:00 p.m. Recreation and free time
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:15 p.m. Evening activity
8:30 p.m. Campfire
9:15 p.m. Return to cabins/prepare for bed
9:30 p.m. Lights out

What does a sample packing list look like for OMSI camp?

Our packing lists vary by site, age group and program, but here is an example of the typical items you will need to bring:

Clothing
Long-sleeved shirts
Long pants
T-shirts
Warm jacket
Raincoat and rain pants or poncho
Boots or tennis shoes (well-fitting, broken-in and waterproof)
Synthetic or wool socks

Equipment
Daypack to carry lunch and field gear
Two water bottles
Sunscreen and lip balm
Sleeping bag
Sack lunch for the first day

Optional
Camera
Binoculars
Field guides (birds, insects, rocks and minerals, etc.)
Sunglasses

Can students receive school credit for attending an OMSI science camp?

OMSI’s camps are designed to be highly educational, as well as active and fun. We will provide a certificate for successful completion of the science camp program that lists the number of hours of instruction provided. This letter can be submitted to the camper’s school, along with the course syllabus from the confirmation packet, to request school credit. Please check with your school regarding their credit policy.

Can I call and/or write my child at camp?

We ask that you do not call your child at camp, nor encourage him or her to call you. This often increases homesickness. In most cases, our counselors are able to interest the child in the exciting activities at camp and the homesickness disappears. You can send mail to most camps, however, it is wise to mail it the day before your child leaves home to ensure it arrives during the camp week. Camp addresses will be included in your confirmation packet. Mail with a return address and first class postage that arrives after the child has left will be returned. Please do not mail money or snacks. Campers on traveling programs are not able to receive mail.

What if my child left something at camp?

Lost and found items with names and phone numbers will be held at OMSI for two weeks following each camp. Please label all gear with participant’s name and phone number. Please call 503.797.4545 immediately after camp to arrange for their return. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity after two weeks. We are not responsible for lost or stolen property.

What if my child is not feeling well before leaving for camp?

If your child is ill please do not send them to camp. Please call the registration office at 503.797.4661 to let them know your child will not be participating.

My child requires injections, can your staff help with that?

OMSI has worked with OHSU and the Oregon Diabetes Association to ensure that select managers and instructors have received adequate training regarding emergency injection of epinephrine or glucagon as approved by our medical advisor Dr. Matthew Hansen of Oregon Health & Sciences University.

These managers and instructors are expected to act as needed under ORS 433.800. In addition, OMSI policy is to allow individual staff to voluntarily act under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 and administer requested injections or other medical procedures, should they individually choose to do so on a case-by-case basis.

Please notify the registration office when you are registering your child for the camp so that OMSI can arrange to have a trained staff member available to assist your child during the outdoor program. All campers who may need an emergency injection of epinephrine or glucagon or other medical procedures must provide OMSI with a copy of the physician's treatment orders, containing instructions as to requested injections or other needed medical procedures and supply all necessary medication or equipment.

OMSI reserves the right to refuse registration to a student whose medical needs cannot be reasonably accommodated.

Is there financial aid available?

Yes. Submit a financial aid application and registration form accompanied by a $100 deposit per camp. All applications must be submitted at least one month prior to start of camp.

I've already registered my child, but I need to update their authorized pick-up list. How do I do that?

If your child's program is more than 7 days away, you are welcome to make changes to your registration by logging back into the registration site. However, if the program is 7 days away or less, please call the registration office at 503-797-4661 to make any and all changes. Adding additional persons to any child’s authorized pick-up list must be conducted by the Primary Contact person listed on the registration form, or by the Secondary Contact if approved by the Primary Contact at the time of registration.

 

Residential Camps FAQ

What is Camp Hancock like?

Camp Hancock is located in the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. While visiting, campers will discover ecologically diverse fossils, investigate desert wildlife, climb a rock wall, meet the resident birds of prey and join in campfire sing-alongs. Campers can also stroll through desert canyons as the sun rises, view crystal-clear night skies through a telescope, swim in the John Day River, join hikes featuring breathtaking views and animal sightings, and learn more about Oregon’s geological past. The well-equipped, yet rustic camp, features wooden A-frame cabins with mattresses, padded flooring, heating and electricity. Bathrooms have hot and cold running water and, to conserve water, outhouses are also available.

What is the Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray like?

Located in the inspiring science hub of Newport, Oregon, The Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray is the new home of our longstanding coastal education programs. Nestled between the expansive dunes of South Beach and Yaquina Bay, there are numerous opportunities to explore the wide range of ecosystems on the Oregon Coast. On a walk straight from the cabin door to the beach, students can investigate the connections between ocean currents, geology, and ecological adaptation to better understand the web of life that depends on our one world-wide ocean.

What are family/adult camps like?

Family and adult camps are designed to accommodate a variety of skill levels—everything from lengthy hikes to near-camp explorations. Camps are open to all ages, including families, single adults, couples without children and grandparents. Fees are per person and cover accommodations, food, program instruction and equipment. All children must be accompanied by adults. Children ages three to six are half price and children two and under are free.

Backpacking Camps FAQ

What are backpacking trips like?

OMSI backpacking trips give campers the chance to explore areas not easily reached on a day trip. Each trip has a science and environmental education focus. In addition to learning about their natural surroundings, campers gain wilderness navigation skills needed to spend time in the backcountry. Campers will also learn about setting up tents, cooking, properly treating water and following “Leave No Trace” guidelines to minimize their impact on the environment. Campers need to bring their own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, dishes and clothing. Food and group gear are provided. Trip itineraries are subject to change based on snow and fire conditions. Most programs include five to seven miles of hiking each day.

Rafting Camps FAQ

What are rafting trips like?

Experience some of Oregon’s most beautiful rivers and learn about hydrology, ecology and geology from experienced OMSI guides and educators. These fun-filled adventures are held on either the Deschutes or Grande Ronde rivers. Campers experience life on the river by day and camping along the banks by night. We prepare meals as a group and all food is provided. Outdoor equipment and camping gear are required.

Traveling Camps FAQ

What are traveling camps like?

Experience hands-on science, enjoy breathtaking landscapes, make new friends and create lasting memories on a road trip across the Pacific Northwest. OMSI traveling camps focus on learning scientific concepts and making observations, as well as self-discovery and personal growth. Our 15-passenger van serves as a mobile base as we travel to the coast, the Cascades and/or central Oregon’s high desert for a unique perspective on the rich diversity of Northwest ecosystems. Food is provided and meals are prepared as a group. Camping gear and outdoor equipment are required.

Classroom- and Field Trip-Based Classes

How flexible are you on grade designations for classes?

The grade level listed for each summer science class refers to the grade a student will enter in the upcoming Fall. For school year and spring break classes, the grade level listed refers to the student's current grade. Please do not register a child who will be in a lower or higher grade than designated. This will ensure your child has the best possible experience. Exceptions will be made only if the child has been placed in a higher or lower grade by their regular public, private, or home school.

What kind of training does OMSI’s staff have?

OMSI is very selective in hiring staff for its science classes. All of our instructors have extensive experience working with children, and most are state-certified teachers. All instructors have demonstrated excellence in working with and developing programming for children and have a passion for inspiring students to understand and explore the world. Staff are required to provide fingerprints for a background check prior to employment and are certified in CPR and First Aid.

Do you offer before and after care?

For summer classes, before care (7:30–9:00 a.m.) and after care (4:00–6:00 p.m.) are available at both OMSI and Jesuit High School locations.

Pre-Paid Rates
For either before or after care: $40 per child, per week (rate adjusted if program takes place during a major holiday).
For both before and after care: $80 per child, per week (rate adjusted if program takes place during a major holiday).
Please purchase at time of registration.

Drop-In Rates
For either before or after care: $10 per child, per day (cash or check only).
$1 per minute late fee after 6:00 p.m.
Please note that before care and after care are not available for school year classes.

What is OMSI’s behavior policy?

Students are expected to behave appropriately. In the event a child is being overly disruptive, a time-out may be used. If disruptive behavior continues, a parent will be called to help resolve the situation. If overall behavior does not improve, the child may be asked not to return to class. Refunds will not be granted in these situations.

Where do I drop my child off for the OMSI location?

All students attending summer classes at OMSI should check in at 1800 SE Water Ave (directly across from OMSI’s North parking lot). There will be signs to guide you. For school year classes, specific location information will be emailed to you two weeks prior to your program.

Where do I drop my child off for the Jesuit High School location?

Jesuit High School is located at 9000 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Portland, OR 97225. Information and directions will be emailed or mailed two weeks prior to your program.

Do I need to present a photo ID when I pick up my child?

Yes, everyone that is picking up a student must bring a government-issued photo ID every day. No exceptions.

Does my child need to bring snacks and lunch to class?

Yes. Snacks are provided for kindergarten and first grade classes only. All other participants should bring a nutritious snack for both morning and afternoon breaks, as well as a meal and beverage for lunch. (Sorry, there are no microwaves available.) Please clearly mark your child’s name and phone number inside lunch boxes, coats, and other personal items to prevent them from getting lost.

Will my child’s class include a field trip?

Some classes include one overnight trip as noted in the catalog description. Day field trips are included in many classes. Occasionally, field trips not described in the catalog are added. All field trips are subject to change depending on class enrollment, availability, and scheduling. Please note that refunds will not be granted if a child cannot participate in a field trip that is included or added. If you do not want your child to participate in a field trip, you must make alternate arrangements during the scheduled field trip time. You will receive information about any field trips on the first day of class.

What if the weather is bad?

Please be sure your child is dressed for the weather! Field trips and activities are subject to change due to weather.

What if my child left something in class?

Lost and found items with names and phone numbers will be held at OMSI for two weeks following each class. Please call 503-797-4545 immediately after class to arrange for their return. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity after two weeks. OMSI is not responsible for lost or stolen property.

Is there financial aid available?

Yes. Submit a financial aid application and registration form accompanied by a $50 deposit per class. All applications must be submitted at least one month prior to start of the class.

My child requires injections, can your staff help with that?

Generally, OMSI staff are not trained to administer injections or other medical procedures. OMSI policy is to allow individual staff to voluntarily act under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 and administer requested injections or other medical procedures, should they individually choose to do so on a case-by-case-basis. Instructions as to requested injections or medical procedures must be provided by the physician. Please notify the registration office if you would like to inquire whether there are staff who are willing to consider acting under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 on a case-by-case-basis should your child need an emergency injection or other medical procedure in the manner described in the physicians orders. OMSI cannot guarantee that it will find willing staff to act under the statutes ORS 30.800 or 30.807 or that such staff will so act in every case.

I've already registered my child, but I need to update their authorized pick-up list. How do I do that?

If your child's program is more than 7 days away, you are welcome to make changes to your registration by logging back into the registration site. However, if the program is 7 days away or less, please call the registration office at at 503-797-4661 to make any and all changes. Adding additional persons to any child’s authorized pick-up list must be conducted by the Primary Contact person listed on the registration form, or by the Secondary Contact if approved by the Primary Contact at the time of registration.

Lab-based Classes FAQ

What is the cost?

Each class is $8 per ticket unless otherwise noted. It is one ticket per squid, robot, cow eye, or microscope with a maximum of two people (e.g. siblings, parent/child, etc.). Circus of Science, Physics Phenomena, Fabulous Fossils, and Ride the Segway are one ticket per person. Science Playground labs are one ticket per child, but parent/guardian attendance and participation is required. The OMSI-ma-Jig class costs $18 and includes all the materials needed to build and take home a wooden toy.

Is there an age recommendation?

Most lab-based classes are recommended for children in third grade and above, except classes in Science Playground are just for children in preschool and kindergarten (ages 3-6) and classes in the OMSI Shop are for adults only.

I bought a ticket for my two children, can I stay and watch the lab?

If your kids are third grade or older you are welcome to observe the lab, but please keep in mind there is limited seating in the labs and ticket-holders have priority. Parents are required to attend with children younger than third grade.

How can I buy tickets?

Tickets may be purchased online or at the OMSI ticket desk. Due to high demand, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets online in advance.

Can I return my tickets if I am not able to use them?

Tickets can only be returned in person in advance at the OMSI ticket desk. Bring in your ticket and you will receive a full refund. The space will then be made available for another participant.

Does my ticket include admission to museum exhibits?

No, your ticket is for the class only and does not include admission to the museum.

Where should I go when I arrive at OMSI?

You should go to the specific laboratory where the class takes place. Lab locations are listed in the description of each class.

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