Summer doesn't have to lay waste to young minds. An abundance of camps in and around Salt Lake City will help keep the cognitive juices flowing until the next school year. City Weekly has found 10 camps that promise to be so much fun, your kids won’t even know they’re learning. Plus, for a few brief hours each day, their eyes will be ripped away from the TV and computer screens that threaten to turn them into indoor zombies.
Birds of a Feather
Up to half a million shorebirds visit the Great Salt Lake each year on their annual migrations. Birds are a big deal in Utah. The Tracy Aviary—in five weeklong camps for second to fifth graders—helps kids understand birds’ importance through engaging, accessible activities, like examining owls from Harry Potter and ancient Egyptian mythology. Also, they can create arts and crafts or learn bird science in partnership with Utah Museum of Natural History.
Tracy Aviary Avian Adventure Summer Camp, 589 E. 1300 South, 801-596-8500, TracyAviary.org
Back to the Garden
Ever heard of Nature Deficit Disorder? In 2005’s Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv wrote that people deprived of interaction with nature suffer psychologically. The bottom line: Kids need to get outside. Luckily, Red Butte Garden is offering weeklong camps for kids in kindergarten to fourth grade, where kids can be themselves and explore their natural curiosities while studying everything from bugs to ancient apothecary techniques.
Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 801-585-0556, RedButteGarden.org
Rock & Roll, Part 1
To be true “rock” stars, kids learn the ups and downs of rock climbing, safety, knot-tying and belaying. Momentum—Utah’s largest indoor climbing gym—offers five-day camps for ages 6-14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., including lunch and Friday’s finale of pizza and a reptile show. These vertical warriors will be nearly ready to ascend some of the Wastach’s finest routes.
Momentum Indoor Climbing, 220 W. 10600 South, 801-990-6890, MomentumClimbing.com
Since 1997, Bad Dog Rediscovers America has challenged youngsters to actualize finger-painting potential and stimulate sculptural creative impulses, among other artistic endeavors; this summer’s no different. Bad Dog is offering a variety of weeklong camps for ages 5-12, like “Art Around the World,” “Creature Lab” and “Heroes vs. Villians.”
Bad Dog Rediscovers America, 230 S. 500 West, Suite No. 220, 801-322-3816, BadDogKids.org
In a town bursting with film festivals and art houses, it’s little wonder that the kids want make their own films. Spy Hop helps bring creativity and the latest in technology together, providing kids with a safe, supportive community and top-quality mentors. This summer, Spy Hop hosts four-day camps on game design, songwriting, claymation, documentaries and more. The more intensive Write-Shoot-Ride program (July 6-Aug. 18), teaches students all phases of filmmaking.
Spy Hop Productions, 511 W. 200 South, 801-532-7500, SpyHop.org
Leap, Slide, Shuffle, Glide
There’s grace in movement and art in kinetic form—plus, dance is simply fun. The Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program puts the point-step in the first months of summer, offering weeklong sessions from June 14 to Aug. 17 for kindergarteners to high school seniors, touching on techniques for classical ballet, funky modern dance and hip-swingin’ hip-hop.
Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program, 190 S. Wasatch Drive, 801-581-7374, TannerDance.Utah.edu
Some kids are drama queens ... in a good way. The U’s nationally recognized acting program helps embellish this character trait into an artistic skill (and maybe a career). There are sessions for ages 5-8, pre-teen and teen. All three culminate in a performance for friends and families and, more importantly, help build character on and off the stage
University of Utah Youth Theatre School, 240 S. 1500 East, Room 206, 801-581-6098, YouthTheatre.Utah.edu
It might only be rock & roll, but the kids like it. With 16 one-week rock and jazz camps, each with eight workshops and eight rehearsals, students will improve quickly. Students meet other musicians, play songs they like, learn from their peers, record in a professional studio and, possibly, play at MusicGarage.org gigs. Plus, at about $10 an hour, it’s the cheapest music deal going. Rock on!
Music Garage, Utah Arts Alliance, 2191 S. 300 West, 801-577-2263, MusicGarage.org
To develop one’s artistic ability, it helps to work around and with others (at least at first). Critiques from others help, as do discussions with experienced professionals beyond one’s peer group. Luckily, the Visual Art Institute puts all these components together for two intensive two-week figure-drawing workshops for junior high and high school students. There are also drawing workshops for elementary school students.
Visual Art Institute, 1838 S. 1500 East, 801-474-3796, VisualArtInstitute.org
Designed for junior high and high school students to experience college life while unleashing their inner geeks, Westminster’s program includes camps in mid-July on aviation, money, writing, athletics, outdoor recreation and a study of the Great Salt Lake. Participants live on campus, and some camps offer college credit.
Westminster College Experience Camps, 1840 S. 1300 East, 801-484-7651, WestminsterCollege.edu/camps