tanglewood nature center and museum

Summer Camp 2021

Updated 1/21/21. As soon as we have guidance from New York State and Chemung County on the 2021 summer camp season, we will let you know! We are planning and hoping to be able to run summer camps - but until we have a little more detail on "how many children can enroll" and other protocols, we are not going to open registration. We look forward to spending another safe, healthy summer outside! 

For reference, we are keeping up all of the updates and safety protocols that we used in 2020 - please feel welcome to scroll down and see what we learned from the Health Dept. and state, and how we adjusted to keep campers safe. 

Camp Update 6/25/2020:

Camp will run! Camp will begin on Monday June 29th.
All parents/guardians will need to sign this waiver for summer camp 2020.

Camp Update 6/17/2020:

Dear camp families and prospective camp families: 

  • Yes, we have received the day camp guidelines from New York State. Here is a brief overview, and here are the more thorough guidelines
  • No, we have not received any updates from Chemung County Health Department, and we cannot run our camp without their inspection and approval. We are working with them closely. (As of 6/25, we HAVE received this approval and will run camp!)

So, we continue to plan how to run a safe and fun summer camp program to provide needed childcare and enriched summer learning for our community. We hope to receive approval from Chemung County Health Department ASAP.

At this point, we want to share what we know so that any family who does not feel that summer camp is the right fit for them can cancel (and receive a complete refund). 

Parents and guardians need to know: 

  • camp will be almost entirely spent outdoors: when it's hot, when it's drizzling, etc. 
  • camp will have a private, restricted space solely for campers and camp staff, so in the event of a thunderstorm they have a space to retreat to (the Lodge). The Lodge will be cleaned and sanitized daily. 
  • children will only be allowed to participate if they are from our local region, the Southern Tier of NY.
  • extended care hours have been reduced. There will NOT be care available before 9am or after 4pm. (If you need care before 9am, or past 4pm, you will need to make other plans; we cannot accommodate earlier arrivals or later pickups.) 
  • camp participants will be limited to 10 children. Some of our camp registrations currently exceed ten; we will cancel registrations in order of their date of registration. (Last in, first out.) 
  • children WILL NEED to bring a mask from home to carry with them throughout the day; they will need a clean mask each day. The kids will not need to wear the mask unless they must gather closer than 6' from each other. When they cannot be distant from each other (ie, they are passing other children in the hallway to go to the restroom) then they will need to wear their mask for that brief period.
  • staff will wear masks throughout the day, at any point that they are closer than 6' to any camper.
  • if there is a confirmed COVID19 case among a) our staff, b) a camp child, or c) a camp child's family, then camp will be closed for two weeks for quarantine and cleaning. Refunds will be processed for impacted families. 

Special changes and considerations: 

  • pick up and drop off will be from within the car. Staff will walk over to do a daily health check including a temperature check of the child; adult will remain in the car; child will exit and proceed to the Lodge to wash their hands and begin their day.
  • children will need to bring some of their own art supplies from home in a pencil case or baggie to reduce the amount of shared surfaces (we will send another email with exact packing list, but expect to send your child with their own crayons, a pair of scissors, a glue stick). Children will also need to bring a large beach towel which will be used as their "spot" so that kids can be socially distanced from each other sitting on the grass. 
  • parents will need to provide a list of at least three approved adults who can pick up their child at the end of the day. If a parent/guardian has been exposed to COVID19 and must quarantine, OR if a parent/guardian has symptoms that are in line with COVID19, OR if a parent/guardian has a confirmed case of COVID19, that parent/guardian and other adults from that household ARE NOT ALLOWED to come pick up their child from camp. Please make sure you have other emergency pick up names that are available to pick up your child in the event that you are not allowed to. 
  • children will need to bring a sun hat, several complete changes of clothing including socks and underwear, rain boots, rain coat, LARGE refillable water bottle to keep them hydrated over several hours of hiking, sunscreen and bug spray that they can apply to themselves. Children will be hiking and playing outside on wet grass, in the rain, and in the heat. Staff will ensure that they are safe and prevent heat stroke, dehydration, and chills/hypothermia as we do every year. But this year, camp will be more outdoors than ever, so your child will need to be prepared for and happy about hiking and playing in the rain or the heat. 
  • if your child does not cope well or enjoy playing during sensory experiences like wearing wet socks, sweating, or being unable to hold hands or sit closely by an adult, then please carefully consider if this camp season will be appropriate for them

Camp Update 5/26/2020: 

Hi members and supporters of Tanglewood!

Though this spring and summer is an uncertain one, we wanted to provide an update on what we do know about summer camp so far. The local and regional health status for the Twin Tiers is subject to change, and we will continue to adjust our plans and keep you in the loop as we learn more. 

So as of today, 5/26/2020, we are not sure yet if we will be able to run summer camps, but we are making plans in case we are able to do so. We want to be best prepared to run a safe, healthy, fun camp if possible, so we are planning in advance. 

Here's what we have so far: 

  • We will be running only one camp at a time, including children grades K-5 in that single camp group, so that siblings from a household will be together. 
  • Camp's home base will be in the lodge, a separate building from the nature center, and we will be implementing a rigorous environmental cleaning routine to keep the lodge safe and disinfected. Guests and visitors are not permitted in the lodge.
  • Although the weeks will not be highly focused around one topic area as in previous years, there will be general themes woven in through each week. Importantly, much of the camp day will be spent outdoors, in the fresh air. 
  • We will be limiting camp registration. The total number of campers allowed will be determined by Chemung County, and we don't know what the cap will be yet. We will let you know once we know.
  • Since we are not sure how many children will be allowed to attend camp each week, we are closing registration at this time. We don't want to process new registrations until we know from the county how many kids are allowed in a single week. 
  • We are reducing before/after care hours. The regular camp program runs from 10am-3pm as usual. Before care and after care options will run from 9am-10am, and 3pm-4pm. Drop off before 9am or pick up after 4pm will not be possible.
  • We are reducing the number of people who will come into contact with the camp children. Summer camp will be taught by two of our fantastic permanent staff members, Ian McLaughlin and Maggie Groce, with Jamie Ziegler overseeing daily operations of camp. 

What next?

  • If you are currently registered and would like to cancel your camp registration, please contact Deanna, our office manager. She will waive any administrative fees. 
  • If you are currently registered and wish to stay enrolled, no action is needed at this time! 
  • If Chemung County or state government determines that camp cannot run, we will fully refund all registrants.  
  • If you have any questions at all about curriculum or what summer camp will be like, please contact Camp Co-Directors, Jamie Ziegler and Maggie Groce

We miss educating and we hope that your families are healthy, well, and happy - and are able to enjoy visiting our animals virtually, as well as taking time outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and trails. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together on our plan, which will always be centered on the health and well-being of our community.

Tanglewood is excited to provide a unique opportunity for your child to learn about their relationship to the natural world while supporting their physical, social, and intellectual growth.  Each camp offers a wide variety of activities that provide campers with outdoor adventures.  Your child will explore and make discoveries on our 300 acres and have up close encounters with our resident animals.  Our summer camps are for children finishing Kindergarten through 5th grade.  Please click on the summer camp catalog link below for more information.


This catalog includes information on each camp, how to register, what to pack, and more - everything you need to know is in the camp catalog! 

Parents and grandparents at a family/senior membership or above can register children/grandchildren.  Membership must be current at time of registration and during the selected camp session.  If you need to become a member, please click here Online Membership Application .  Membership applications are processed Tuesday-Friday during business hours.

Shot records need to be submitted every year.  Due to the increasing numbers of people infected with dangerous communicable diseases in the US, we are only allowing Medical Exemptions for vaccinations. Medical Exemption Form (.docx) is linked here, or contact Deanna at 607-732-6060 for a paper copy of the Medical Exemption Form. Thank you for helping us keep the camp children, visitors and staff healthy. 
You can email shot records to tanglewoodoffmgr@outlook.com

or mail them to 443 Coleman Ave., Elmira, NY 14903. 

Everything you need to know is in the camp catalog!


As always, our goal is to make our unique and fun programs available to all. We have a camp assistance fund created by generous donors. In 2020, we have limited scholarship opportunities and scholarships are on a first come first served basis. To learn more about the scholarships for financially eligible families, or to contribute to the scholarship fund, please contact DeannaCamp Tuition Application.pdf and Membership Waiver Application.pdf.  You must fill out applications and submit proper documents in order to be considered.

Everything you need to know is in the camp catalog.

For a brochure outlining the rights and responsibilities of campers and camp operators in New York State, click here: "Children's Camps in New York State" 


Upcoming events

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Nature Center and Museum location:
443 Coleman Avenue Elmira NY 14903

Phone: (607) 732-6060

Nature Center and Museum hours: OPEN Tuesday-Friday, 9am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-4pm. CLOSED Sunday-Monday. Trails are open dawn to dusk year-round.

Admission to the Nature Center and Museum is FREE to all. Please consider becoming a member of Tanglewood!

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