While the Eureka! McConnell Science Museum will always be a magnet for elementary-aged kids, leaders are making a push to reach people from ages 3 to 90 with the wonder of science and math in the world around them.

Eureka! has vastly expanded summer camp offerings this year, both in age ranges and types of camps, according to Education Director Bree Hare.

For the first time, there are full-day and afternoon camps for 3-year-old children, day camps in Palisade, overnight expedition camps and overnight trips for the 55-year-old and above Explorers.

Halfway through the summer, enrollment has already exceeded last year's entire summer enrollment, from 900 students last year to 1,000 so far this year.

Executive Director Jenn Moore said the museum wants to expand learning about math and science beyond the typical classroom.

"A classroom doesn't have to have walls and a chalkboard," Moore said. "On overnight trips you can really learn a lot about team-building and character development."

The museum partnered with the Riverside Educational Center, which serves at-risk youth, to send students on an overnight expedition to Leadville. Students learned about forestry and bugs while also going on hikes and playing in nature.

"A lot of the kids here don't have the means or maybe their parents aren't into the outdoors and so they never get outside and experience the opportunities that are right at their fingertips," Hare said. "So not only are they learning science, but they're getting to experience the natural environment around them."

The weeklong day camps remain the most popular option for children, with new themes this year like stop motion animation, forensic science and escape rooms.

Seven-year-old Rachel Hughes visited the museum on a school trip and attended her first day camp this week. The theme was "Water Everywhere.!

"My favorite thing was to learn about tsunamis," she said. "They're really big waves that can wash everything off of a city."

Oliver Burnham, 10, and Wyatt Taylor, 9, were learning about rocks and geology this week.

Oliver has attended so many camps that he can't remember them all, and he keeps coming back because he "likes learning new things."

Hare said she hopes to keep expanding summer camps next year, including overnight and out-of-town excursions and camps targeted to older students.

"Our goal is to be a multi-generational facility," she said. "We want to get them hooked on science when they're young so they keep coming back through the years."

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