About 750 people spent some time in the mountains Saturday, exploring Camp Cuyamaca as part of the annual 6th Grade Camp open house.
Most of the participants were families with children who will attend the camp this year with their school. There were also educators and other community members who wanted to learn more about the site, which is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education, and the educational program there.
"It's a great way for families to learn about 6th Grade Camp before they actually come out here," said Katie Anderson, a program specialist at the outdoor school. "Parents definitely have a lot of questions."
The weeklong program started Monday with the first schools of the 2013-14 school year.
Parents said the open house helped to alleviate concerns for them and their students.
"It looks like fun. I want to go to camp," said Johnny Bird, whose son will attend camps this year. "I'm excited for the kids."
For his wife, Brenda, the open house was a chance to revisit the camp, which she attended when she was in 6th grade. Camp Cuyamaca has been connecting kids to science through nature since 1946.
The camp experience is a great way for student to learn to be more independent and to get away from cell phones and TVs, said Steve Hill, whose Daughter Corrin will attend soon.
Corrin said she was looking forward to spending the time in the wilderness with her classmates.
"I'm excited to come to camp," she said.
The open house featured a variety of activities including tours of the facility, hikes, hands-on science lessons, rock climbing, rock sanding, live music, and a chance to see live owls up close.
"I think it was a roaring success," said Tina Chin, senior director of the SDCOE Outdoor Education program. "It's a great opportunity to invite the public in to see the great work that the San Diego County Office of Education does."
Photo: Shawna Sobrero, an outdoor education program specialist, tells visitors about some of the animals native to the area around Camp Cuyamaca as part of the annual 6th Grade Camp open house.