Outdoor Education

Field trips with an emphasis on outdoor learning

Turn the outdoors into your classroom.

Camp RIO is a facility designed for outdoor discovery and adventure. We provide adventure-based learning tailored for your students, teachers, staff and administrators. Students spend the day exploring the natural world through activities such as archery, plant and animal identification, team-building, canoeing, and many others.

Our 85-acre property is comprised of rare and native Rio Grande Valley habitat. In fact, 75 of those acres are protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement championed by the Valley Land Fund. This unique and dynamic environment provide the perfect backdrop to the discovery, community-building, and excitement you will experience here at Camp RIO.

“Every time I go to Camp RIO I have more and more fun and learn different things! I feel like a student again. The kids are bringing back information that they knew but didn't understand until today!”

IDEA Frontier Middle School Teacher

“I really enjoyed the day, and from the kids I spoke with, they did as well. The emphasis on working together and letting the kids figure out how to solve problems is empowering for them.”

IDEA Frontier High School Teacher

“The organization was phenomenal. Activities were very engaging and fun! Students learned about photosynthesis, adaptations, and team building.”

IDEA Quest 5th Grade Teacher


We strive to engage students with outdoor adventure lessons founded on our core mission to develop leaders through transformational experiences in the outdoors. Each grade level participates in activities which provide achievable challenges suited to their academic maturity and physical capabilities. These lessons are designed to supplement the classroom experience of all students. TEKS and grade-specific scopes and sequences are the undercurrent of all the activities we offer at Camp RIO.


Canoeing • Geocaching • Plant and Animal ID • Photography • Survival Skills • Archery • Tomahawks and Slingshots • Land Stewardship • Team Building • Nature ELA • Animal Encounters • Riflery • Hiking • STEM Activities • Orienteering • Natural History

Download a Sample Daily Schedule

Curriculum Activities by Grade


Camp RIO does not currently have a way to provide meals to students at the camp. All visiting schools will need to send sack lunches in coolers for students, or have students bring their own lunches. We eat picnic style outside in most cases.


Access to Camp RIO is via bus only.  We are unable to accommodate large numbers of small vehicles moving in and out of the camp property. Camp RIO provides transportation to all of it's schools. We are also able to offer transportation to a limited number of non-IDEA schools for the remainder of the 16-17 school year.  We would be happy to discuss this option with you if you do not have a bus.


What days are you open? 

We are open Monday through Friday. Please contact us for available dates.

How many students can I bring? 
You may bring up to 130 students on a single day.

Is there a fee to attend?
Yes. We would be happy to send you a price quote. Please contact us for information.

Do you provide transportation?
Yes. Camp RIO provides transportation to all of its schools. We are also able to offer transportation to a limited number of non-IDEA schools.  We would be happy to discuss this option with you if you do not have a bus.

Can you accommodate students with special needs?
Yes. Most special needs students will be able to participate. We even have “off road” wheelchairs for their use. We are not responsible for transferring students with wheelchairs into canoes, for example, so you would need someone who is trained in that with the student.

Do you have a nurse?
We do have a certified health aide on the property, and all staff are trained in first aid, CPR, and AED. We also have a nurse station equipped with anything you may need while here.

Do you have air conditioning?
No. We do not have air-conditioned buildings, but we have a room with A/C in the event of an emergency.

I just had a baby. Is there somewhere I can go to pump? 
Yes! We have a private room where you can go to take care of this need.

Parents are asking if they can come see the camp. Is this possible?
No. Parents are not able to come onto the camp property at this time. Please ask them not to follow the buses.

What happens if it rains or is cold?
We consider rain a beautiful part of being outdoors! We have ponchos available for all staff and students if needed, and we will not go indoors unless it becomes unsafe for us to be outside. We also enjoy the occasional cold weather, but we do have indoor activities if the weather becomes intolerable. We do encourage you to be prepared to stay outside for all weather.

What about the Zika virus? 
There have been a few reports in Brownsville of Zika, so we recommend spraying staff and students before arrival (especially anyone who is pregnant or thinks they may be pregnant). Feel free to bring bug spray as well.

If you feel the need to create a permission slip to include authorization for bug spray application in the event mosquitos are really bad, that will be up to the individual school. It is really weather dependent on if they are a problem (cold and/or windy weather usually means no mosquito problem).

Can parents pick students up directly from the camp?
We discourage this in general, but we can make accommodations as necessary.

Do you have professional development available?
Yes! Please contact us for professional development opportunities.

We proudly partner with The East Foundation

Click Here to learn more

Find out more about Outdoor Education at Camp RIO

Call us at 956-204-0036