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Summer Adventure Camp 2019

The 2020 Summer Page will be updated by Saturday, Jan 11.

2020 Summer Registration begins Saturday, Jan 18th, 8am.

2020 summer programs will be similar as they were last year; mostly the same parks, same times, and same counselors. The biggest change so far is that Bryant Lake Regional Park won't be available to us this year as they take on major renovations.


Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm

Two Age Groups

ages 8-16, ages 12-17


1:4 staff-to-camper ratios


artists and teachers lead all activities


from Minneapolis to most sites


Step into a world of swords and sorcery, catapults and castles, mythical heroes and legendary beasts!

Be initiated into an ancient and esteemed House of The Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own arms and armor! Create your own culture and histories! Defend your lands from monsters and opposing Houses! Construct gigantic castles, labyrinths and fortified cities! Battle on trails, fields and shorelines as you seek out lost relics of power! Tell a hundred stories by your word and deed in the most enchanting, wooded and mystical parks across the metro region!

Adventures in Cardboard seeks to re-inspire creative outdoor play by immersing participants in fantastic worlds that they help to create.

Our camps are places that demand the use of legs and feet as much as hands and head, where artist-instructors seek to unleash a zeal for creative role-playing, and where “wonder” is the preferred path to igniting a passion for design, construction and playful exploration of the natural world.

Our mythical realm is a dangerous place, but our camps are safe places for all people, of all genders. Bring your reality into our open world and expand everyone's horizons!

“Our kids wait for Adventures in Cardboard more than they wait for Christmas!”

-Paula Warford

“My son continues to talk about AIC, and it's clear that his week in Theo Wirth Park was the highlight not only of his summer but of his year and even perhaps of his 10 years on this earth. He will definitely be back next year!” 

-Miranda McGowan

“Do you guys know how amazing you are?  I appreciate this camp experience so much for my children. The environment of creativity and acceptance is so special. My son had a rough year at school and this week has been magical (after only 2 days!!) He's happy and calmer than I've seen in over 9 months. So thank you!  Kindest Regards and Huzzah! (My kids tell me we must say this at least 4 times a day now).”


“My kids come home totally wiped out from all the awesomeness!”

-Kim Pierce

“The BEST camp ever!! My boys loved all aspects of the camp - building weapons and castles, writing spells and incantations, playing capture the flag, searching for treasure (relics), and playing in the woods. The staff is engaged and supremely creative.”

-Shannon Baker Overdahl

“My son loves every minute of this camp and he's a hard kid to please (unless a screen is involved.) It's an amazing week that is unplugged and full of boyhood wonder!”

-Larissa Judt

“My son LOVES this camp! According to him, it's the most fun he's ever had. We will definitely sign up again and for many years to come! So well organized and the camp leaders are amazing.”

-Melanie Sizer Moriarty

“Hands down one of the best camps in the Twin Cities! Julian and his staff create a magical adventure full of fun and creativity! My daughter is already looking forward to camp next year and hopes to become a camp leader someday! I highly recommend this camp to children that love the outdoors, building castles, designing weapons and armor out of cardboard, theater and being creative. Great Job to all of the staff at Adventures in Cardboard! A special thanks to Zoe and Patrick! You have both been great role models and your love of all things glittery and your creative hearts have meant a lot to Riley!

Good luck to the House of Drake in the final battle!”

-Jennifer Jouppi

“My son had the best time attending this camp last week. In fact, he made it clear this was his favorite camp ever. He was so totally engaged - bringing his creations home at night and working feverishly to improve them. He practiced his 'epic deaths' and sword fighting techniques often. He was so happy and so energized by this camp - we'll certainly go again. Thanks for creating such a magical experience for kids!”

-Nancy Lyons

“This camp is a perennial favorite in our family for so many reasons. We love the fact that it takes place outdoors, it highlights medieval history, promotes creativity, theater and teamwork, and is just really fun.”

-Jennifer Bertram

“My two boys just finished their first week and said this was the best camp they had ever attended. We loved that they allow the kids to roam around and be kids! The instructors are great and we are definitely coming back. Now they are home still working on their weapons and armor just because it’s fun! It's a great idea and I hope it continues to be successful forever!”

-Kristin O’Brien

“Thank you, my son fully enjoyed the camp, saying it is the best camp he has ever attended!!!”

-Angela Rosales

“You guys are doing an amazing job. I’m so impressed with your program and want to thank you for creating the most memorable week of Chase’s summer (this year and last). Chase can’t wait for next year (and we’ll try to sign up for two weeks this time!)”

-Scott Litman

west bush lake park




Classic camps are the original AiC camps adventurers know and love! All weeks of classic AiC include castle building, arms & armor, games and swimming whenever beaches are available at hosting parks. The terrain varies widely from park to park. Adventurers will have elective opportunities over the course of each week to customize their experience.

The Armory

Build anything you want for your character or your Esteemed House. Usually people begin by designing their own suit of armor and personal arms: The Realm can be a dangerous place! Work independently or collaborate with a team. Add spikes, fins, scales, plates, helmets, gauntlets, shields limited only by your imagination. Go classic or go mythic. Create your heirloom sword, ax, mace, halberd, spear or other deadly accoutrements. Use and improve what you make in daily games of capture the flag.

Or... scrap the arms and armor and work instead on magical tomes, artifacts of power, hoods, capes, crowns, wands and rings of power!

Or... work on a farmstead and corral, a shop in the village, a tavern with games of chance, a forest hut for your sorcerer or a library for your wizened sage.

Each week will also have optional special projects with visiting local artists. Create a village, work on a giant maze, focus on siege engines, specialty bows or on more advanced live-action games.

The Castle Village

Design and build an actual castle or fortified village to inhabit, attack and defend with basic woodwork framing and large cardboard construction. Make walls festooned with battlements. Raise towers. Install a gatehouse with portcullis, arrow-loops and drop-holes for defense.

Later in the week this sprawling fortification becomes the locus for many role playing activities. It's final size and the variety of activities that go on inside of its walls is up to our collective imagination. And for every person who manages to become Queen beware the Sword of Damocles that hangs above your head!

The Games

Develop group identities and team strategies to defend or storm the castle in daily competitions of Capture the Flag, Kingdom, Skirmish and other games. Each site usually hosts plenty of paved paths for bicycle patrols, open fields for pitched battles, shoreline beaches for longboat raids and wooded trails for haunted towers and wizardry! Some sites have caves, gorges and other extraordinary features to explore. Always seek magic and unusual characters in such remarkable places when you stumble into them.

Adventurers are divided into six different houses each with its own set of virtues and weaknesses. The Houses of Arko, Drake, Sanglier, Áquila, Hákarl and Hart collaborate and compete in games that seek to instill integrity, chivalry, creativity and collaborative play. Each esteemed House has its own magic related to its unique eorð-sigil or déor-dweomer. Each House also possesses a complex backstory that you will develop and add to as your week progresses. Rumor has it there are secret Houses whose initiates have been sworn to deny their existence.

Click here to view backstory ideas for games and props design!

Swimming & Boating

Swimming breaks are available at sites where local lakes are available. Sometimes when swimming is not available we'll still have the opportunity to use boats or even sometimes build them out of cardboard for our games.



All Advanced Camps are similar to Classic Camps,but the average age of adventurers is older. We include all of the same activities as Classic Camps but with a focus on strategic and tactical gaming in Tactical Weeks and a focus on story and character in Theatrical Weeks.

Tactical Camps

These camps are organized around extended rounds of a live action strategic game called Dominion. We will roll out all the relics, encounter characters and backstory for game-changing variation and chance, but Tactical Camps require higher levels of fair play and maturity. Tactical Camps feature stricter rules, more competition and a greater focus on strategy and battlefield tactics. In the past counselors have balanced shifting power dynamics by joining teams when one team seemed ascendant. By popular demand counselors will not intercede this year to balance play but will seek to instill the best spirit of the game and let be what will be! Come and test yourself: if you were transported into a tragic fantasy conflict of ascension would you have the cunning, skill and character it would take to organize your warband and capture the throne?

Theatrical Camps

Theatrical Weeks are more immersive role-playing camp experiences for participants who may already have some gear and a sense of character from past participation. It is suggested that you have at least one year of camp experience before participating in a Theatrical Camp. The counselors create open-ended scenarios where, after a first day of orientation, you are free to explore and participate as you will. This year we will have upgraded encounters, new set pieces including an actual library to explore as well as the fortified town. You can build in the Armory all day, seek out tactical battles in The Realm, seek out mysteries and hazards or build political and financial power in the village. Raise a rebel army with hobgoblin bandits and sieze the castle. Disappear into the library and unlock the ability to create and use magical potions. Or... just relax in the natural beauty of the woods. In any case, YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS will have a large responsibility for helping to create the world we will all be inhabiting. Be prepared to immerse yourself in your character and in The Realm at a much higher level.

AiC is for Girls and All Genders!

Adventures in Cardboard is for girls as much as boys. It is open to all people and all genders.
Our instructors are sensitive and skilled and they are trained to be aware of gender dynamics especially when it comes to combat play: an activity often tragically associated only with boys. But every week we see that battle games and tragic fantasy role playing is play that is enjoyed by people of all genders.
Unless adventurers instruct us otherwise, we always make sure there are several houses that are at least half-filled with girls and non-binary gender individuals. This insures that all adventurers will:
  • experience activities in cohorts of equal gender ratios,
  • be able to battle other houses that are similarly composed,
  • and it helps us avoid a competition-dynamic based on gender.
We are currently at about 25% girls having doubled their participation since 2014, but we know we can do much better. To that end we strive to build a culture and legacy of respect for all people at camp, but also especially for girls and non-binary genders who are sometimes under-represented in the domain of battle play and tragic fantasy. Every person at camp will find instructors that can be big sisters, big brothers and big siblings to them for the week; 75% of our instructors are women and non-binary genders: all of them are skilled and capable artists, teachers, actors and martial artists of all ages.
Please let us know if we can answer any further questions for you about gender dynamics at camp.
No matter what pronouns you choose to go by, know that battle play and competition is only a part of the Adventures in Cardboard experience. You can avoid it entirely if you like and stick to role playing experiences. There are a plethora of cooperative and theatrical activities available and campers may participate in cooperative and/or competitive activities as they like! 

2019 Summer Schedule

Click 'status' to see which sessions of camp are still open. Click any header to organize the list in any other way. There are three sessions of camp simultaneously happening each week in separate locations. Information about busses is posted below this table.


Information about Busses

Half of our sessions have busses available from Hiawatha Ave and 46th St. or North Commons Park in Minneapolis.

Our busses are staffed by the very instructors who will be leading your adventurers through a week of camp. These friendly people will meet adventurers every morning and help facilitate a safe, friendly and engaging atmosphere on the ride to camp.

Drops-offs at each bus station begin at 8am. Busses leave at 8:20am and return by 3:30pm.

All bus service is optional and you can select it if you wish when you register for a $30 fee for service Mon-Fri.

Adventures Studio Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers to and from to our very own Adventure Studio located in the Flair Fountains Building at 4501 Hiawatha Avenue, Minneapolis, Mon-Fri, on the weeks indicated. 

North Commons Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers from North Commons Recreation Center at 1801 North James Ave, Minneapolis to French Regional Park, Mon-Fri, Gold Week 6.


All locations are chosen for natural beauty, tranquility and options for creative outdoor play.

Battle Creek Regional Park, Maplewood

Carver Elementary School, 2680 Upper Afton Rd., Maplewood
  • minutes from downtown Saint Paul
  • expansive hillside vistas in an idyllic glacial deposit valley
  • deep gorges and sylvan forests
  • fantastic trails
  • no swimming onsite

Bryant Lake Regional Park, Eden Prairie

Water's Edge Picnic Site, 6800 Rowland Ave., Eden Prairie
  • extensive woodland trails, serene and quiet ponds and plenty of open prairie
  • rock terraces that form an impressive castle height
  • swimming onsite

Caponi Art Park, Eagan

South Parking Area, 1220 Diffley Rd., Eagan
  • 60 acres of rolling wooded hills
  • dramatic glacial-shaped topographic for maximum strategic impact in games
  • huge amphitheatre-shaped hills and valleys
  • no swimming onsite

French Regional Park, Plymouth

Skyview Picnic Area, 12605 Rockford Rd., Plymouth
  • dramatic rocky hills and topographical shifts
  • incredible woodland variation in an enclosed nature exploration area
  • miles of bogside and lakeshore trails
  • no swimming onsite

Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis

Lower Wabun Picnic Area, Shelter F, 4655 46th Ave. S., Minneapolis
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • a unique ecosystem in the region with its own flora and fauna
  • miles of unbelievably gorgeous trails along a babbling brook
  • abounding with bridges, islands and hidden crevasses
  • epic battle fields over 400' in length!
  • no swimming onsite, limited creek wading and fording

Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis

The Pavilion and Beach Parking Lot. 3200 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • rolling hills and forests with lots of shade, bike paths, tremendously varied and beautiful woodland terrain
  • swimming onsite

Tony Schmidt Park, Saint Paul

3500 Lake Johanna Blvd., Arden Hills
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • plenty of twisting, maze-like wooded trails, lots of hidden places, some swamps and open fields
  • bright and sunny parts of the woods are crisscrossed by bike paths, optionally Tony Schmidt has plenty of dark and spooky interior places to explore as well
  • swimming onsite

West Bush Lake Park, Bloomington

Shelter #1, 9401 West Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington
  • minutes from south Minneapolis
  • quiet and majestic oak forests on gargantuan hilly promontories
  • miles of beachfront walks for possible canoe and dragon boat assaults.
  • diverse topography for maximum strategic impact in games
  • no swimming onsite, but boating is available

“The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.” ―B.B.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

fixed up castle
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