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 Connect with Cuyamaca Outdoor School at Open House

Learn all about Cuyamaca Outdoor School, home of San Diego County's original 6th Grade Camp, while enjoying a day in the mountains at the school's annual open house Sept. 8 in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Parents, teachers, principals, students, alumni, and anyone interested in outdoor education are invited to spend the day connecting with nature. Visitors can tour the campus, participate in hands-on science activities, try rock climbing, and more. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school, 12561 Highway 79, Descanso. Additional details and directions are available here.

"Open house is a great way for parents to get to know camp ahead of their child's weeklong visit with their school," said Bob Mueller, executive director of Outdoor Education and Student Support Services for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). "We're really looking forward to giving kids a taste of all of the fun they will experience during their week of outdoor learning."

The open house isn't just for excited kids and cautious parents, it's also a great way for alumni to reconnect with 6th Grade Camp.

Cuyamaca Outdoor School is a science-based program in SDCOE's Outdoor Education department, connecting children with science through nature since 1946. More than 11,000 5th- and 6th-graders from throughout San Diego County, and as far away as Arizona and Orange County, attend weeklong camps every school year. Cuyamaca is the only program in San Diego County certified by the California Outdoor School Association as a Residential Outdoor Science School. Its curriculum is designed by credentialed teachers to take full advantage of Next Generation Science Standards, with lessons incorporating trail experiences and citizen scientist projects to create hands-on learning that is meaningful, memorable, and fun.

The annual open house provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the expansive campus, meet the outdoor school staff, get up close with a raptor, take a hike, or simply relax in the great outdoors.

Picnic lunches are welcome, or visitors may purchase hot dogs, beverages, and snacks from the San Diego County Outdoor Education Foundation. Proceeds from food sales fund scholarships for students in high-poverty areas.

Directions to Cuyamaca Outdoor School

  • Take Interstate 8 East (past Alpine) to the Japatul exit, Highway 79
  • Turn left at stop sign at the bottom of exit
  • Drive three miles and turn left at the sign marked Julian, Cuyamaca State Park, and Highway 79
  • Drive six miles and turn right at school camp sign
  • Parking is tight. Carpool if possible