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9 Enriching & Exciting Summer Camps for Kids in the Tacoma Area

Community Post April 28, 2017

Whether you work full-time during the summer or are just looking for some fun, engaging activities for your kids, Tacoma is absolutely packed with fun summer camps for kids! From adventurous outdoor fun to more educational options, there’s a huge variety of options to choose from.

Here are 9 summer camps recommended by Tacomans:

Metro Parks Tacoma Titlow & Norpoint Camps

Ages: 6-12; half-day programs available for ages 4 & 5
Dates: Various camps run from June 20 - September 2

Titlow Lodge & Park at the westernmost edge of 6th Ave [is home to] an amazing day camp park during the summer months,” Krista Osborne shares. “Each week is divided up into a new focus and adventure. Learning about the wilds of the forest, furry and feathered creatures, as well as exercise and just plain fun [are all] on the agenda. The lodge that’s used as an inside refuge during day camp was originally built in 1911 as a hotel and sits in a perfect spot to access all of the park amenities from, [like the] wooded trails, playfields, splash park, and bay.”

Krista still recalls several memories from the camp today: “I attended when I was a youngster [and made] all kinds of fun stuff with sticks and glue, learned about the woods and creatures, and I vividly remember wearing clogs on the day we were running laps around the playfield and how many times the clog’s heal ended up mid-way in my foot as it slipped half-way out. [This is a] FABULOUS summer camp for kids!”
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YMCA Camp Seymour on the Key Peninsula

Ages: Grades 1 - 12
Dates: Various camps run during July and August
Location: 9725 Cramer Road KPN Gig Harbor, WA 98329

YMCA Camp Seymour on the Key Peninsula is a classic!” says Brenna Harrington. “It is a great overnight camp for elementary and middle school-aged children. Campers stay in rustic cabins and get a true summer camp experience. There is archery, arts & crafts, canoeing and kayaking, and songs by the campfire in the evening. Kids will make friends and create lifelong memories!”

“They also have a day camp program for kids who don't want to stay overnight or for parents who want their kids doing something during the day,” adds Julie Hammon. “They have a shuttle that goes from the Gig Harbor YMCA for pick-up and drop off.”

Camp Seymour offers several different types of camps, each with a different focus. Kids in Grades 1-6 can head to day camp, kids can go to overnight camp starting in 2nd grade, and older kids can even go on overnight backpacking trips!

“Camp Seymour is a hand's down summer classic complete with campfires, canoeing and KP duty!” says Kelli Jo Hjalseth. “Stay for a weekend or a couple of weeks. My kids ate this one up!”

Linnie Smith completely agrees: “Most kids go there for 5th or 6th grade camp so it's really welcoming for the summer camp to be in the same place.”
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Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Race Team Summer Camp

Ages: 9-14
Dates: Camps run from June 26 - August 5
Location: 3211 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor, WA 98335

“I can't recommend Gig Harbor Canoe Kayak Race Team summer camp enough!” shares Erin Farquhar. “Who wouldn't want to spend their days on the water learning a sport that is rapidly growing in the Pacific Northwest? GHCKRT are five-time national champs and summer camp is how the majority of the team's athletes got started.”

This fantastic camp features 3-week sessions that are 3 days per week. Kids get to learn all about kayaking and canoeing, and even receive personal instruction from some of America’s best athletes!
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Zoo Summer Camps at Point Defiance Zoo

Ages: 4-17
Dates: Camps run from June 26 - August 25
Location: 3211 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Zoo camp at Point Defiance has great offerings,” advises Patience Colkitt. “Classes range from ages 4 to 17. Classes run about a week and range from creature kitchen to zookeeper for a day and wildlife photography. [There’s] something for everyone!”

Patience is totally right—the Zoo Summer Camps at Point Defiance Zoo has something for a wide range of ages and interests! Kids can explore the medical side of the zoo and learn about becoming a vet, learn about photographing and drawing animals, learn about marine biology, and so much more! There are also several all-day adventure camps to choose from as well. Check out the complete offerings here!
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Tacoma Film Camp

Dates: Camps run from June 26 - August 3
Location: 606 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

Keryn Giguere highly recommends the The Grand Cinema's Tacoma Film Camp. “[There are] different sessions for varying age groups. There's an intro course for young kids and they get to learn about making films!” Keryn shares.

Tacoma Film Camp covers everything from how to tell a story in film, how films are created, hands-on training (how to use cameras, lighting and sound equipment, etc.), and the creation of a film from start to finish! Learn more here.
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Summer Camps at Tacoma Nature Center

Ages: 4-12
Dates: Camps run during July & August
Location: 1919 S. Tyler Street

“Our kids had great experiences at the Summer Camps at Tacoma Nature Center at Snake Lake,” shares Anne Jones. “There were different themes each week, but all of them focus on science and wildlife. One of them included a field trip to the beach and our 10-year-old got to have a campout onsite.”

The Tacoma Nature Center offers a fantastic variety of camps for kids, whether they’re interested in exploring the Snake Lake wetlands or want to learn outdoor skills and go camping! They even have an extended care option for those who may need more morning or afternoon care for an additional fee. Take a look at all camp offerings here!
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Summer Youth Musical Theater Camp

Ages: Grades 1 - 12
Dates: Camps run in July & August
Location: Tacoma Musical Playhouse 7116 Sixth Avenue Tacoma WA 98406

Tacoma Musical Playhouse has wonderful summer camps where kids can hone their acting and singing skills,” says Kelli Jo Hjalseth. “The productions they can put together in just a few sessions are impressive. Each camp session culminates in a full-on musical production!”

There are several options for students, and depending on your grade level, students will be placed in a session that lasts for a couple of weeks. During the camp, kids practice and work towards putting on a polished performance, and this year’s performances include Les Misérables, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Suessical KIDS.
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Crista Camps’ Miracle Ranch & Island Lake

Ages: Grades 4 - 12
Dates: Camps run from June 18 - August 25
Location: Port Orchard & Poulsbo

There are so many camp options at Crista Camps’ Miracle Ranch and Island Lake to take advantage of this summer! “Miracle Ranch has great overnight and day camp programs,” shares Julie Hammon. “They have horseback riding, arts and crafts, archery, a high ropes course, a petting zoo, Horse Shoe Lake for swimming, canoeing, a water slide, and giant inflatables and other activities. At the end of the week there is also a rodeo!”  

The camp’s amenities don’t end there—they also do their best to make it easy on families: “For day camp there are shuttles that can pick up kids from certain drop off/pick up points. On Wednesday's the kids can stay overnight if they want and go to the evening’s campfire for s'mores and sing along and then have breakfast the next morning with the other campers. The kids stay in rustic cabins.”

You can check out the master camp schedule here.
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Camp Erin

Ages: 6-17
Dates: Camps run June 16-18
Location: Camp Seymour / 9725 Cramer Road KPN Gig Harbor, WA 98329

“BRIDGES, A Center for Grieving Children, where I volunteered for three years, does a camp every year for grieving children called Camp Erin,” shares Keryn Giguere. “There are different activities for processing their grief, but mostly it is about bringing kids together who have suffered loss and allowing them to have fun and be with other kids going through similar hardships.”

Camp Erin is free, and offers kids a huge variety of activities, including boating, outdoor games, swimming, wall climbing, music, arts & crafts, and much more. The camp’s professional staff and volunteers are ready to help kids have a great time! Learn more about BRIDGES and Camp Erin here.

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