“Our kids wait for Adventures in Cardboard more than they wait for Christmas!”
-Paula Warford, parent
“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 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, parent
“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, parent
“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, parent
“My kids come home totally wiped out from all the awesomeness!”
-Kim Pierce, parent
“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, parent
“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, parent
“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, parent
“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, parent
“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, parent
“Thank you, my son fully enjoyed the camp, saying it is the best camp he has ever attended!!!”
-Angela Rosales, parent
“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, parent
Step into a world of swords and sorcery, catapults and castles, mythical heroes and legendary beasts!
Join an ancient 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 opposing houses and monsters! Construct giant castles, labyrinthine villages and fortified cities! Battle on trails, fields and shorelines as you seek out lost relics of eldritch power! Tell a hundred stories by your word and deed in enchanting wild places!
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.
- experience activities in cohorts of equal gender ratios,
- be able to battle other houses that are similarly composed,
- avoid a competition-dynamic based on gender.
Which Program to Choose?
With over fifty weeks available which week of camp should you choose?
- If you're new we suggest finding a Classic Week at a park near you.
- If you have kids that are older, then Tactical, Theatrical and Advanced Weeks are also fantastic options. These are similar to Classic Weeks but more exclusively for older participants.
- If you are a returning family you may want to consider going with a familiar band of counselors and you can search the bands for your favorite counselors below.
- If you need a bus we have at least one camp with bus service from Minneapolis every week.
It's good to have a few different weeks in mind before you register in case some of your choices fill. Minnehaha Park, Theo Wirth Park, Bryant Lake Regional Park and even West Bush Lake Park can fill very quickly.
Is it OK for an 10 or 11 year old to take a tactical or theatrical camp? Of course it is! All camps are designed for mixed age groups, ages listed are merely suggestions to try and set an average age for the kind of experience you or your kids are looking for. It's our camper's summer however, and we'd like to see them where they and you most want them to be, so if your nine-year old likes spending time with older kids or wants to follow an older sibling, you can make it happen.
Classic Weeks suggested ages 8-15
These are the original camps adventurers know and love. All Classic Weeks include
- free role play and building in the castle village,
- the creation of individual props, costumes, arms & armor,
- playing tactical and exploratory games on the trails,
- and swimming or boating whenever there are safe places for water activities.
Adventurers will have elective opportunities over the course of each week to customize their experience and by Thursday and Friday campers can pretty much gravitate to their favorite activities as they like.
Build anything you want for your character or your group.
Adventurers begin by designing their own arms and armor: the Realm can be a dangerous place after all. 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 guild of wizened sages.
Each week will 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 and fortified village to inhabit, employ your trade, defend or attack. Make walls festooned with battlements. Raise towers. Install a gatehouse with portcullis, arrow-loops and drop-holes for defense. Add a smithy, a tavern, an inn, a stables, a thieves' den, a sacred temple, catacombs beneath the castle, anything goes!
Later in the week this sprawling fortification becomes the locus for many free 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 or King? Beware the Sword of Damocles that hangs over your head!
Develop group identities and team strategies in daily competitions of Capture the Flag and other tactical games. Each site usually hosts plenty of paved paths for bicycle patrols, open fields for pitched battles, shoreline beaches for longboat raids and woodland trails for haunted towers, wizardry and scouting! Some sites have caves, gorges and other extraordinary features to explore. Always seek magic or unusual characters in such remarkable places when you stumble into them.
Adventurers are divided into six different Esteemed Houses each with its own set of virtues and weaknesses. The Houses of Arko, Draech, Sahn-Gliér, Áquilah, Hákkarl and Hart collaborate and compete in games that seek to instill integrity, chivalry, creativity and collaborative play. Each House also possesses a growing history that you will develop and add to as your week progresses.
Swimming & Boating
Swimming is available at sites where safe swimming spots are available. Sometimes when swimming is not available we still have the opportunity to use boats or even build them out of cardboard.
These weeks are similar to Classic Weeks but with a heightened focus on strategy and competition gaming in Tactical Weeks and with a heightened focus on role playing and creating-your-own-structure in Theatrical Weeks.
In both weeks the story is still king!
Tactical Weeks suggested ages 11-16 These weeks are typically organized around extended rounds of a live action strategic game called Dominion. We roll out all the relics, characters and backstory, but Tactical Weeks require higher levels of fair play and maturity. Tactical Weeks feature stricter gaming rules, more competition and a greater focus on team strategy and battlefield tactics.
Counselors join their teams in the fray seeking to instill the best spirit of the game but they will 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, resourcefulness and character it would take to organize a warband and capture the throne?
Theatrical Weeks (or Free Role Play Weeks) suggested ages 11-16
In Theatrical Weeks there is no schedule! Different activities of camp are always open and you can go WHERE you like, WHENEVER you like!
Theatrical Sessions are completely immersive role-playing camp experiences for participants. This does not mean we bother teaching theatre skills or worrying about a stage, you will not be forced to spend any time playing Zip,Zap,Zop, great game that it is.
Instead counselors create open-ended scenarios where, after a first day of orientation, you are free to explore and participate as you will. You can even just be yourself transported into a mythical world.
We typically have upgraded encounters, new set pieces to explore as well as a fortified town ready to inhabit. You can build in the Armory all day, join tactical battles in The Realm, seek out or create your own mysteries and hazards in the town or wilderness and build political and financial power near the castle. Raise a rebel army with hobgoblin bandits and seize the castle. Disappear into the library and unlock the ability to create and use magical potions. Or... find Johnnie Robin and 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 deeper level.
Advanced Theatrical suggested for ages 14-17
Like Theatrical Week but suggested for our oldest adventurers.
Come with friends, meet new ones, find your people and create a new world for the week!
Advanced Tactical AKA "Hard Tactical" suggested for ages 14-17
This week raises the competitive stakes to the limit of what’s possible. More of a post-apocalyptic survival situation than competing kingdoms, you will be dropped into the wilderness with only a cardboard dagger. Find or form a small band of comrades as quickly as you can then battle with other small groups for control of the forest. Not only must you build everything from scratch, but you must first find tools and supplies before you can even start building weapons and gear!
Elements of tech development and nerf play are available for the lucky teams that find the blueprints. Relics and magical power for enchanting items are also hidden in the forest. But what is yours one day will likely be somebody else’s tomorrow!
Outside of each team’s unique crafting area, anything that you carry with you (except your dagger) can be looted if you are tagged out. Your small band can bond or split with other bands, self-selecting into a shifting alliance of teams within pre-defined rules that will keep the game competitive throughout the week!
Hard Tactical is an experience designed for the most mature and cooperative players; toxic behavior of any sort simply cannot be tolerated. Hard Tactical might be for you if you are looking to be your best self in an extremely competitive environment where loss is constant!
If this sounds like you then we invite you to try your best! Test your mettle! Test your sense of indomitable cheer under pressure! Test your ability to stay cooperative and forgiving and not lose your sense of humor in the highest spirit of the game, in the harshest conditions and under the most punishing losses!
We double dare you!
2021 Summer Schedule
Here's an easy-to-view schedule of our entire season. To see what weeks of camp are still be open today scroll below!
white box = classic week (suggested ages 8-15) green box = tactical, violet box = theatrical (both suggested ages 12-16)
black box = hard tactical, Dark Violet box = advanced theatrical (both suggested ages 14-17)
Julian is co-coordinating any weeks in bold.
Many of our sessions have busses available from Powderhorn Park Recreation Center and one from 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 8:30am and return typically 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.
Powderhorn Park Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers to and from the Powderhorn Park Recreation Center at 3400 15th Ave S, 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 on the weeks indicated.
East Metro Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers from Carver Elementary School at 2680 Upper Afton Rd, Maplewood to Tony Schmidt Regional Park on the weeks indicated.
The FIVE Bands
The staff in all five bands are equally experienced and fun-loving. They are artists, teachers and fantasy enthusiasts of the highest order, all are masters of art, performance or fantasy lore. We've balanced their strengths and interests in each band to bring you all the competitive games, cooperative free role playing and creative open building that you have come to expect from Adventures in Cardboard!
OUR SUMMER LOCATIONS
All locations are chosen for natural beauty, tranquility and options for creative outdoor play.
Bryant Lake Regional Park, Eden Prairie
6800 Rowland Road, Eden Prairie
- many quiet creeks and ponds
- dramatic rocky castle crests
- shady woodland hills abound
- extensive forest trails
- swimming onsite
Caponi Art Park, Eagan
South Parking Area, 1220 Diffley Rd., Eagan
- 60 acres of rolling wooded hills
- 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
- swimming possible, check with staff
Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis
Lower Wabun Picnic Area, Shelter F, 4655 46th Ave. S., Minneapolis
- 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
Moir Park on Nine Mile Creek, Bloomington
10320 Morgan Ave S, Bloomington
- miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
- rugged forested areas
- expansive oak savannah and fields
- swimming onsite
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.”
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien