With summer break less than two months away — school ends June 7 in Miami-Dade and June 8 in Broward — now is the time to start planning how your child will spend his or her free time when school is out. In this guide, you’ll find 14 noteworthy summer camps in Miami-Dade and Broward counties for middle and high school students where they can be citizen scientists, paint, act, dance, or try a new skill — like archery — under towering Banyan trees.
Campers ages 6 through 17 can participate in myriad activities at different parks throughout Miami-Dade County. There are arts camps, fishing camps, golf camps, learn-to-swim camps for all ages — from toddlers to adults, camps for kids with disabilities, empowerment camps for girls, overnight camps and much more. Programs for kids and adults with disabilities are also available.
In Broward, camps are free at six neighborhood county parks: Boulevard Gardens Community Center, Franklin, Lafayette Hart, the Rev. Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park, Roosevelt Gardens and Sunview parks.
When: In Miami-Dade, weekdays; June 12 through Aug. 11; pick-up and drop-off times vary according to camp programs. In Broward, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., June through August
Cost: General camp programs (arts and crafts, some sports) costs $40-90 per week, depending on the location. Cheerleading, dance, basketball and “GEM” (Girls Empowerment & Mentoring) Summer Arts Camp for Girls start at $100 a week.
Contact: In Miami-Dade, 786-315-5410; email@example.com; miamidade.gov/parks/activities-summer-camps.asp; In Broward, call the six indivdual parks listed above; phone numbers are listed at broward.org/Parks/ProgramsClasses/Pages/YouthActivitiesPrograms.aspx.
Over 10 weeks, kids and teens, from 5 to 16 years old, will gain a strong foundation in their choice of performance art, dance, fashion, visual arts and instrumental music. Hip-hop, tap dance, jazz, African, contemporary and modern dance will be taught. The program culminates with an instrumental music concert, a choral concert, drama presentation, a fashion show and a student art exhibit in August.
Jungle Island encompasses 18 acres of adventure where campers will learn about animals from all over the world, as well as those that live nearby, in the Everglades. Utilizing hands-on learning methods, campers, ages 5 through 12, will learn about what it’s like to be a zookeeper as they handle playful lemurs, feed squirrel monkeys, observe free-flying parrots, toucans and macaws, and learn about the habitat of orangutans, kangaroos and other exotic animals that call Jungle Island their home.
For its inaugural year, downtown Miami’s new Frost Museum of Science offers four week-long summer camps, (each offered twice during the summer), for incoming second- through fifth-graders, with a focus on engineering, the physics of flight, marine science and the human body. Each camp includes a planetarium show and “free exploration time” inside the museum.
The Code Kids Computer Coding and Robotics Camp is perfect for technology-oriented or video game-loving kids, ages 6 through 13, and is convenient for parents as it’s held at 16 classrooms in Miami-Dade and Broward counties — from South Miami to Jupiter.
The program teaches kids coding, how to build apps, computer programming, game design and helps them develop skills for S.T.E.M.-based learning.
Fort Lauderdale-based Fat Village Center for the Arts is a community of professional working artists who lead courses, workshops and camps to help people unleash their creativity. The drawing and painting summer camp is an intensive two-week course where students, from first grade through 12th grade, will learn structural drawing, perspective, depth and proportion to scale. Merit and need-based scholarships are available.
For 22 years, Funky Fish has been Broward County’s ultimate beach camp, where campers ages 4 through 17 learn how to snorkel, skim board and paddle board, among other water sports. The ratio of certified CPR instructors to kids is 7:1. The weekly camp culminates with a glass-bottom boat trip to a coral reef and a shipwreck — which parents can also attend. Campers will make tie-dye shirts, hemp surfer jewelry and other beach attire while enjoying “pizza picnics” and learning cool facts about the ocean and sea life.
The museum offers 11 five-day summer camps for every type of explorer. Some of the camps for kids, ages 6 through 12, include: “Birds of Paradise,” where campers will learn to identify birds from all over the world via an interactive National Geographic exhibit; “SteamPunk Science,” where kids combine new technology with classic objects; and “Junior Scientist,” where kids “walk in the shoes of a different scientist each day.” All camps include an IMAX Film Adventure.
Since 1990, Shake-A-Leg Miami has helped empower thousands of children and adults with physical, developmental and economic hardships by utilizing Biscayne Bay to offer therapeutic water activities. In its summer camp, kids and teens of all abilities from 6 to 17 can learn how to sail, snorkel, fish and kayak during their choice of four water-based camps on Biscayne Bay.
Parents can expect their kids, ages 6 through 12, to learn teamwork, assertiveness in public speaking and time management as they work with their peers to create their own one-act musical theater plays at Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores. Campers will come up with plots and characters, guided by teaching artists who have backgrounds in acting, dancing and stage work. A final show culminates at the end of the camp. No previous acting experience is required. Scholarships are available.
Described as an “environmental day camp with a sleep-away camp feel,” Camp Live Oak, which has three locations at state parks in Fort Lauderdale, Dania and in North Miami, offers many outdoor activities for 5- to 13-year-olds, like scuba diving, Spanish immersion camp, mountain biking, archery and “tinker workshops” — where kids can take apart and rebuild cool objects. There’s even a camp for toddlers (3 and 4 year olds; $60 weekly) called “Lil’ Sprouts.” Fourteen- and 16-year-olds can earn community service hours by volunteering with “Teen Eco,” where they’ll help to oversee younger campers on field trips.
For as little as one week or for all eight weeks, kids ages 8 through 12 can explore the waters of Crandon Park in Key Biscayne. Marine biologists will guide kids on seagrass adventures as they kayak through shallow waters and snorkel around a fossilized reef teaming with sea life. Scholarships are available for 80 inner-city youths to attend the last four weeks of camp for free. Call to inquire.
Founded more than 20 years ago, the Miami Equestrian Club offers horseback riding lessons, as well as pony riding lessons (for younger kids) on nearly 18 acres of farm land in Kendall. Instructors will teach 4- to 16-year-olds the basics of how to ride a horse (or pony), how to groom their horse, and other skills. All skill levels are welcome. Also available is equestrian therapy for campers with special needs.
Girls and boys, ages 4 to 17, will learn different techniques of dance, like jazz, hip-hop, ballet and Flamenco. In music, they’ll learn the basics of playing piano and violin. The dance classes are taught by professional dancers and choreographers. There will be an end-of-summer recital. Full-day and half-day options are available.
The Miami Seaquarium will host a summer camp for 5 to 18-year-olds who are interested in learning about the animals of the sea.
When: Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 12–Aug. 19
Where: 4400 Rickenbacker Cswy., Key Biscayne.
Cost: Camp costs $850 per session: June 12–July 14 and July 17– Aug. 18. The early bird special is $175 per week and is available online until June 1; pre-registration is $195 per week and ends at 12 p.m. on June 9; late registration is $250 per week. Lunch is an additional $30 per week.