For Kids & Families

SummerQuest Weekly Themes

At the Crane Estate, Ipswich

Credit: Jake Belcher




Stewards Program (Weeks 5-8 for Ages 12-14): Are you an older camper ready for a deeper dive into nature, the coast, history, art, and culture? Stewards will be ready for fun and intellectually stimulating weeks that will challenge them through place-based projects involving expanded property exploration, scientific data collection, outdoor skill building, creativity, personal curiosity, and more through week-long sessions following the themes for Weeks 5-8 below.

2024 Weekly Themes

Week 1: Coastal Detectives Calling all beachcombers and budding coastal naturalists! This is a week of investigation and discovery as we dive into exploring the coast. Use your skills of observation and imagination to see the shore as never before – meet marine critters, create coastal art, and learn how people have relied on the ocean throughout history. From dunes, to marsh, to beach, to maritime forest, there’s so much coast to explore!

Week 2: Nature’s Superheroes Get out your capes, superheroes! This week Captain Crane needs YOU to assemble a team of heroes to protect the estate from danger. Work together to discover the “superpower” adaptations of Crane critters from cryptic camouflage to salty seaside survival. Explore the environment like never before and discover your own natural superpower of being uniquely you!

Week 3: Shipwreck Scholars Calling all detectives! We have a fascinating mystery to solve together. Over a hundred years ago, a shipwreck occurred on Steep Hill Beach; incredibly, the wreckage still exists today. We need your help to uncover what happened all those years ago: was it pirates, a storm, a sea monster, or something even more mysterious? Join us on this adventure as we work to solve this puzzle and make surprising discoveries along the way! 

Week 4: Create at the Estate Get inspired by the natural beauty of the Crane Estate this week as we open our eyes to see the art all around us and challenge ourselves to create something new every day. Admire the design of a spider web, see how many colors you can find in one hike, mimic a bird’s song, create songs, poems, and stories, and try new arts and crafts inspired by nature. We are all artists here!

Week 5: Marine Mania Discover what lives in the beach sand, marsh creeks, and dunes of the Crane Estate. We need explorers like you to help document the coastal critters that call Crane home, from huge herons to invasive crabs, to petit plankton. Join us for a weeklong BioBlitz identifying coastal plants and animals from the Great Marsh to Cedar Point dunes to Crane Beach. Meet new critters and see what it takes to survive in these rugged and beautiful places.

Week 6: Feathered Frenzy Here at the Crane Estate, our coastal habitats possess an incredible diversity of avian life. In such a dynamic environment, it’s no surprise that our feathered friends display such resourcefulness, beauty, and adaptability. Learn how to identify our summer birds and their roles in the ecosystem, how they fly, what they eat, the stories of their migrations, and the special role we play in conserving species through our stewardship of this special place.

Week 7: Home Sweet Home. Habitats! Wildlife lovers, have you ever wondered where different species sleep at night? Some animals carry their homes on their backs, while others travel far distances each year to different homes. This week we will investigate the various habitats that animals call their homes and how they influence habitats to suit their needs. From the tiniest snail to the biggest tree and the birds and deer in between, these organisms each have a unique home sweet home.

Week 8: Magic of Nature When you connect with nature, magic is all around! This week, we will use our imaginations to explore nature in a new way – create fairy house villages and plant potions, sandcastle kingdoms, and sing-along spells. Work with your team to dream up a fantastical beast with special adaptations to survive in the whimsical world of the Crane kingdom!

Week 9: Time Travelers This week we will set off on the journey of a lifetime! Travel back in time to the ice age to learn how the drumlins that make up the Crane Estate were formed. Flash forward to learn about the indigenous Pawtucket people who have inhabited this land for thousands of years and then to the colonists who farmed the salt marsh hay starting in the 1600s. Finally, we will party like the Crane’s did in the early 1900s at the Great House and the Casino. Discover the Crane Estate’s natural and historical resources, which have been valued for millennia! 

For dates and tuition rates, proceed to SummerQuest Schedule and Pricing.

Please review the SummerQuest Registration Information page before proceeding to the registration site.

SummerQuest Camp Information
SummerQuest Parent Testimonials

The camp is a one of a kind experience on a majestic property like no other.

– Camp Parent

My daughter loved camp! Given the restrictions and the closure of the camp she normally attends, we had to scramble to find another open and safe option. We are Trustees members and I was so happy when I got word that some of your camps would be outside and still running. I don’t usually consider SummerQuest because we are in Salem and Ipswich feels like a trek. Realistically, the drive isn’t bad and it was always a nice relaxing way to start the morning/afternoon. My daughter, an only child, has been stuck with us since March (since the school closure) and it was starting to show how much she missed being around other kids. When we picked her up on that very first day, she couldn’t stop talking! It was as if she was lit up! As the days progressed, her enthusiasm for camp only continued. She was definitely sad to say goodbye on her final day. Thank you so much for providing a camp option this year that had safety protocols that helped us feel comfortable sending her to camp at all this year. We have seen a significant benefit to her being out of the house and with other children in such a beautiful and enriching setting. Thank you! Thank you!

– Camp Parent

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