Neal Bowlen guides campers in dogsledding at the summer Snow Dog Camp. Photo courtesy of Neal Bowlen.
Maybe you’ve seen the movies—White Fang, Call of the Wild—and know that dogsledding isn’t quite the same as taking a tube to the hill at Sugar House Park. But at Pawsatch, a dogsledding company offering the summer Snow Dog Camp, kids can learn the sport’s basics in less-harsh conditions (not blizzards) while bonding with the 30 huskies and malamutes. Started by Neal Bowlen seven years ago in the Park City mountains, Pawsatch offers winter dogsled rides in addition to summer mushing—the term for dog-powered transport—camps.
The two-day junior mushing incorporate just about every detail of dogsledding. Kids learn how to read a dog’s behavior and take care of necessary chores, from feeding to equipment checks. “It’s mushing 101 for kids,” says Bowlen, who has been dogsledding for more than a decade. “If your kids are dog lovers and love to work outside and get dirty, this camp is for them.” Each morning, the crew heads into the mountains, where kids train the dogs on a wheeled cart that mimics a winter sled. Commands like “hike,” “gee,” “haw” and “on bye” will become part of your kid’s vocab. The whole family can attend the overnight senior camp. “It’s like a tour for mom and dad,” Bowlen says. “The kids and my staff prep the dogs, the parents get dinner ready and then we go on a night run beneath the stars.”
Registration: First come first serve, ages 7 and up
Dates: Weekly sessions (Tuesday and Thursday), $250 (single day), $450 (two-day)
Cost: $315 for the Junior Mushing Camp, $475 for the Senior Mushing Camp
Location: Pawsatch Ranch, Park City
Contact: Neal Bowlen, 435-608-1063, pawsatch.com
Go wild with one of these animal-based camps
Fly like an eagle
Tracy Aviary’s camps give kids a chance to play with birds, while learning art, science and more. June 10–Aug. 9, grades K–5, $130, SLC, 801-596-8500, tracyaviary.org
This Place is a Zoo!
Kindergarteners hop like wallabies at Utah’s Hogle Zoo camps, while older kids get a crash course in zookeeping and conservation. June 24–Aug. 2, $225, $100 (Keeper Camp), SLC, 801-582-1631, hoglezoo.org
City kids live the country life at Wheeler Farm’s Summer Camp, milking cows and riding horses. Wagon rides and a blacksmithing demo are included. June 10–Aug. 16, ages 6–10, $60. Wheeler Historic Farm, SLC, 801-264-2241, wheelerfarm.com
Kids learn about terrible lizards at Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park’s Dino Day Camps. May 31–Aug. 26, ages 4–12, $45, $15 (4-year-old camp), Ogden, 801-393-3466, dinosaurpark.org
Meet the Critters
Friends of Animals Utah’s Critter Camps teaches kids about animal safety, wildlife and training their own pets at home. Late June–early August, ages 9–12, $300–$350, FOAU Rescue and Rehab Ranch, near Park City, 435-608-1424, foautah.org
At the Point
Thanksgiving Point has a ton of camps, but our favorites have animals, including ponies and butterflies. June 3–Aug. 19, ages 4–18, $20–$175, Lehi, 801-768-2300, thanksgivingpoint.org