Emerald Childrens Camp – Pripyat

small hut in woods with cartoon characters

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The Emerald Children’s Camp is an adventure camp located in the forest just outside Pripyat in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Before the 1986 accident at the nearby nuclear power plant it was a place for the children of the city to have adventures away on their own. After the disaster the liquidators used it as a base for clearing the local area. It is now abandoned and disappearing into the forest.

Key Points

  • Emerald Children’s Camp is located within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
  • It is hidden in the woods along a clear track
  • Last used for children in 1986, it was used by the liquidators in the clean up after the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
  • The small chalets and play areas remain
  • Some buildings are starting to show signs of their age and abandonment

Emerald Children’s Camp in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Just outside of the village of Kopachi there is a track into the woods. At first it seem like a gentle stroll but then the remains of wooden huts appear. All are decorated with Russian cartoon characters. Fading in the extremes of weather and the thirty years of neglect.

This summer camp for the children of Pripyat had 100 cabins dotted around the woodland with a cinema and canteen. The children from the city would come and stay in the summer months to explore the outdoors and play in the small river that runs along the edge of the camp mirroring the cooling lake from the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station.

In 1986, after the disaster it was abandoned, although liquidators made use of the huts during their time in the area. Today the huts are fading fast, but you can imagine excited children away from their parents for a summer of adventures as you wander the abandoned site.

Things to look for in Emerald Camp

  • Abandoned and rusting play area
  • Russian style cartoon characters on chalets
  • Chalets tucked away in the woods
  • Traditional phone box
hut in woods with bear painting on side
Rusting handle on wooden door
fish cartoon on wooden building
abandoned rusting slide with leaves
wooden huts in an overgrown woodland
wooden door with red painted number 87
gas masking hangin on a wall with green paint and red rust
Abandoned slide in Emerald Childrens Camp in Pripyat
huts in a woodland
wooden hut with cartoon character
Rusting swing in woods
Yellow hut in woods near Chernobyl

Photography Notes

The Emerald Camp is just a short walk through the woodland from the main road leaving the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The woods are home to wildlife including lynx and deer, which can be seen if you are quiet and are the first to visit during the day.

The huts are scattered within the woodland. Trees surround the area and and finding clear lines through the trees can be quite difficult. Leaving the path is not allowed so alternative perspectives and wide angle shots make the best of the area.

Some of the huts are on the path and these can be explored more easily. These have weathered painted wood which is textured and merges with rusting metal giving some beautiful intimate images. There are a few belongings within the huts, left by the liquidators which add to the atmosphere.

The camp is quite difficult to photograph but the fun that children had in the location can still be felt today despite the trauma of the past.

Places Near Emerald Children’s Camp in the Exclusion Zone

Finding the Emerald Children’s Camp

Emerald Children’s Camp is located between Chernobyl and Kopachi. It is hard to find and care has to be taken to avoid contamination. You will need to check with tour guides as it may be impossible to visit at the moment.

Visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone can only be done as part of an organised tour.

Theses tours can be booked online and depart from Kyiv in Ukraine, about 2 hours drive from the first checkpoint into the Exclusion Zone.

Find out more about planning and booking a tour to the Chernobyl Exclusion zone

View tours to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Book Here.. 

Find out more about Visiting and Photographing the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone