2023 sword logo

“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!"

-Jennifer Jouppi, 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

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

-Paula Warford, 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 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

“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).”

-anonymous 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

“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

Full Days

Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, low structure, maximum fun

Professional Staff

artists and teachers lead all activities

Strong Staffing

1 experienced staff person for every 4 or 5 campers

Elementary, Middle & High

camps for ages 8-16

Busses Each Week

from Minneapolis to most sites

Adventures in Cardboard is for girls and non binary kids just as much as boys. We know that battle games and tragic fantasy role playing are enjoyed by all people of all genders. Our instructors are sensitive and skilled and will be aware of gender dynamics when it comes to combat play and every person at camp, boy, girl and non-binary, will find instructors that will be supportive big siblings to them throughout the week.
 
Unless adventurers instruct us otherwise, we always make sure there are several houses that are at least half-filled with girls and/or non-binary kids. This insures that all adventurers will:
 
  • 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.
We strive to build a culture and legacy of respect for all people at camp, and also especially for girls and non-binary people who are often under-invited into the domain of battle play and tragic fantasy. 
 
--
 
Whether any kid is necessarily even interested in battle play, know that there are a plethora of cooperative and theatrical activities available at camp every week and battle play and other competitive activities can be avoided entirely! 
 
Please let us know if we can answer any further questions for you about gender dynamics at camp.
bryant-castle-AIC

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.

Ninemile Email

How to Register?  Which Program to Choose?

Click here if you're at all worried about registering!

With over forty weeks available which week of camp should you choose?

  • If you're new we suggest finding a Classic Week at a park near you, ages 8-15, though we now offer Older Classic Weeks for ages 11 and up.
  • Some people wonder if because we have a Girls and Non-Binary Kid Week if all our other camps are for boys... absolutely not! All of our camps are for all genders!
  • If you have kids that are eleven to sixteen years, Tactical or Theatrical Weeks are also fantastic options, both very similar to Classic Weeks.
  • 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 most weeks and a bus from north Minneapolis to French Regional Park.

It's good to have a few different weeks in mind before you register in case some of your choices fill. Any camps in Minneapolis and West Bush Lake Park can fill very quickly.

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.

The Armory

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!

The Games

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. 

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

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 are the original camps adventurers know and love but for OLDER PARTICIPANTS. 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.

The Armory

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!

The Games

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. 

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

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 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) have a minimal 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.

All our camps or for girls, boys and all genders; girls and non-binary kids usually make up between 1/4 to 1/2 of any of our camps. Yet it's also wonderful for some girls and non-binary folks to have their own space and we are committed to providing that as best as we can.

In all other ways Girl and Non-Binary Kids Week is a Classic Week of camp with all the same programs that kids of all genders have come to love!

These camps, like all our camps, may include staff of all genders.

Theme Weeks are similar to Classic Weeks but the Band of Storms diverges more heavily from the lore of the Six Houses of the Realm.

This year Storms explores a classic 'whodunit' murder mystery and a sci-fi apocalypse week.

In the first theme week the culprit is amongst us and everyone is a suspect. Each day new clues can be discovered and new information will be available for intrepid detectives. Can your house win capture the flag and solve the murder?

In the second week, you and your rag tag band discover an oasis of land with resources ripe for the taking... but other groups are fighting you for the prize! An assortment of over ninety nerf blasters and gear will be mixed with melee combat and armor, with nerf darts used as currency!

Enchanted Weeks are a new offering for 6 and 7 year olds. These are half days from 9:30am to 12:30pm at Adventures in Cardboard's fantastic Station 24 Studio in Minneapolis, $285/week. Our interior theatrical space, in an old fire station, will become the locus of immersive new cardboard worlds - undersea adventures, miniature back yard adventures, lunar mountain adventures, any theme is open.

Enchanted Weeks will be very different from our other summer camps - please make sure your kiddos are OK with the fact that there will be no sword play in Enchanted Weeks.

Beaumaris,_1610

2023 Summer Schedule

Listed below are camps with spots still open and camps you can get on a waitlist for.

You can also get on our General Waitlist and we'll stay in contact about the registration process both this year and next!

Check back from time to time as things change often between now and summer.

Click any heading below to group sessions of camp as you like.

STATUSWEEK
DATESLOCATIONPROGRAMBUS OPTIONSBAND
OpenWeek 1Jun 5-9French RegionalAll Ages Tactical, ages 8-16noneThunder
OpenWeek 4Jun 26-30Nine Mile/Oak GroveOlder Classic, ages 11-16noneMountains
OpenWeek 12Aug 28 - Sep 1Caron Park (Faribault)Classic, ages 8-15noneThunder
OpenWeek 12Aug 28 - Sep 1Moir ParkTactical, ages 10-16noneIron
OpenWeek 12Aug 28 - Sep 1Tony Schmidt Tactical, ages 10-16Powderhorn BusStorms
WaitlistWeek 2Jun 12-16Caponi Art ParkTactical, ages 10-16noneStorms
WaitlistWeek 4Jun 26-30Tony SchmidtTactical, ages 10-16noneThunder
WaitlistWeek 5Jul 10-14Tony SchmidtClassic (girls and non-binary kids), ages 8-15noneStorms
WaitlistWeek 6
Jul 17-21Caponi Art ParkTheatrical, ages 11-16noneThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 8Jul 31 - Aug 4French RegionalOlder Classic, ages 11-16Powderhorn BusThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 5Jul 10-14Caponi Art ParkClassic, ages 8-15Powderhorn BusThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 4Jun 26-30Caponi Art ParkClassic, ages 8-15Powderhorn BusStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 4Jun 26-30West Bush LakeTactical, ages 10-16noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 3Jun 19-23Caponi Art ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 3Jun 19-23Nine Mile/Oak GroveClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 3Jun 19-23Tony SchmidtClassic, ages 8-15noneThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 3Jun 19-23West Bush LakeTactical, ages 10-16noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 2Jun 12-16Nine Mile/Oak GroveClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 2Jun 12-16Tony SchmidtClassic, ages 8-15noneThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 2Jun 12-16West Bush LakeTactical, ages 10-16noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 8Jul 31 - Aug 4Theo Wirth ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 8Jul 31 - Aug 4Tony SchmidtTheme, ages 8-15noneStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 8Jul 31 - Aug 4West Bush LakeClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 7Jul 24 - 28Station 24Enchanted, ages 6 & 7noneEnchanted
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 7Jul 24-28Theo Wirth ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 7Jul 24-28Tony SchimdtClassic, ages 8-15noneStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 7Jul 24-28West Bush LakeClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 6
Jul 17-21Nine Mile/Oak GroveClassic, ages 8-15Powderhorn BusMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 6
Jul 17-21Tony SchmidtClassic, ages 8-15noneStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 6
Jul 17-21West Bush LakeClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 5Jul 10-14Nine Mile/Oak GroveClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 5Jul 10-14West Bush LakeClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 11Aug 21-25French RegionalClassic, ages 8-15noneThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 11Aug 21-25Moir ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 11Aug 21-25Theo Wirth ParkTactical, ages 10-16noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 11Aug 21-25Tony SchmidtClassic, ages 8-15Powderhorn BusStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 10Aug 14-18French RegionalClassic, ages 8-15Powderhorn BusThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 10Aug 14-18Moir ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneIron
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 10Aug 14-18Theo Wirth ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 10Aug 14-18Tony SchimdtTheme, ages 8-15noneStorms
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 9Aug 7-11French RegionalClassic, ages 8-15North Commons BusThunder
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 9Aug 7-11Station 24Enchanted, ages 6 & 7noneEnchanted
Full, Waitlist FullWeek 9Aug 7-11Theo Wirth ParkClassic, ages 8-15noneMountains

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 (BLACK): 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 (GREEN): A school bus will transport adventurers from North Commons Recreation Center at 1801 North James Ave, Minneapolis to French Regional Park on Week 8.

2023 campsite map

The Four Bands

The staff in all four 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!

Band of Storms

Coordinators: Maggie, Fletcher & Roger

Band of Mountains

Coordinators: Kelley & Leo

Band of Iron

Coordinators:  Brett, Tyler & Kevin

Counselors: Taelyn, Kelly, Eric Bowles, Bill, Erik Dagoberg, Henry, Charlie, Rory, Luca, Lauren Alex, Ani, Cat, Mabel and more!

Band of Thunder

Coordinators: Rachel "Alfie the Elf", Faithann & Logan

Counselors:  Noah, Ranea, Ace, Nat, Armory Pete, Oliver, Ahnika, Daniel, Kirian, Mike and more!

Edit Battlesides

OUR SUMMER LOCATIONS

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

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

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

Caron Park, Faribault

6816 170th St E, Fairbault, MN
  • near Northfield, an hour south of the Twin Cities
  • fantastic rock cut creeks
  • glacial erratics of astounding proportions
  • diverse topography for maximum strategic impact in games
  • some creek wading onsite depending on conditions

 

Theodore Wirth Boat Landing, Minneapolis

Public Access Parking Lot, 3130 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

Moir Park, Bloomington

10320 Morgan Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • rugged forested areas
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • creek wading onsite

Nine Mile Creek / Oak Grove, Bloomington

10455 Humboldt Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • rugged forested areas
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • creek wading onsite
french castle grant 6
boat with nick and slight shrug 2

“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.

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