With the end of the school year just weeks away, it’s time to start planning for the summer. While some in Tucson take the rising temperatures and increasingly sunny days as a sign to pack up and head for cooler climates, there are plenty of residents throughout the metro area who live in The Old Pueblo year-round—and their children are looking for ways to stay active and entertained until school picks back up in August.
Whether provided by a local community center, municipality or private business, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to summer camp. Ranging from athletic endeavors to artistic excursions, keep the kids occupied and learning with these engaging summer camps:
Town of Marana
It’s no secret the Town of Marana likes to stay active and outdoors. So even during the hot summer months, there are plenty of camps throughout town to keep you and your family moving, and even some to cool you off! Here’s a look at just some of the many programs available in and around Marana. For more information, and to register, visit maranaaz.gov/recreation.
Swim the Cruz Swimmer’s Challenge. The Town of Marana is asking local folks whether they can swim the distance of the 18-mile stretch of the Santa Cruz River that snakes through town. And from May 28 to Aug. 2, swimmers can use any pool available in order to reach the finish line in this self-paced race. The Marana pool, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, will offer free lap swims all summer on Mondays from 8 to 10 a.m. and Fridays from 6 to 8 a.m. Registration is $10 per resident and $12 per guest. Swimmers ages 4 and up are invited to participate and swimmers can clock their progress throughout the summer at maranaaz.gov/aquatics. A swim kick off event will be held at Marana pool on May 28 at 4 p.m.
Summer Sports Camp. TGA Premier Sports will offer a 10-week summer day camp for kids ages 5 to 14 at Marana Middle School, 11285 W. Grier Road, from May 28 to Aug. 2. Games include golf, tennis, flag football, floor hockey and lacrosse as well as science and art activities. Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, early drop-off and late pick-up extend camp hours to 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weeklong passes are $198 for residents, $247.50 for guests, and three-days passes cost $165 for residents, $206.25 for guests. Rates are reduced for the starting week and week of the Independence Day holiday. All campers receive a free T-Shirt and water bottle.
Pee Wee Sports Camp. A non-competitive sports camp aims to teach coordination, fundamentals of athleticism and teamwork to children ages 3 to 6, starting the week of July 1. Sports included, but not limited to, t-ball and soccer and games will be held inside/outside. Send participants with sunscreen and a water bottle. Camp is held Monday through Friday, excluding Thursday, July 4, from 8 to 10 a.m. and tickets are $30, residents, $37.50, guests. Activities will take place at the Leman Academy of Excellence, 7720 N. Silverbell Road, Bldg 1 & 2, and Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road.
Paint Night in the Park for Teens! Local teenagers have three opportunities to hang out at the Marana Heritage River Park this summer to get their paint on. Registered teens ages 13 through 17 will have a chance to enhance their canvas coloring skills on June 13, July 11 and Aug. 8. Class is held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and each class costs $20, resident, $25, guests. Registration includes one 11x14 canvas and painting supplies. Parents are not required to stay with their aspiring virtuosos. The local park is located at 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive.
Teen Extreme Day Camp.Local teens looking to add some action-packed road trips to their summer bucket list need look no further. During the month of July, teenagers ages 13 to 17 can sign up for four separate day trips, which each cost $90 for resident, $112.50 for guests. Here’s the adventure breakdown: July 10, Arizona Zipline Adventures; July 17, Big Surf waterpark; July 24, Arizona Diamondbacks v. Baltimore Orioles; and July 31, Tucson’s Autobahn Indoor Speedway. July 3 is excluded due to the holiday. Parents will drop off/pick up children at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road. A release form is required for all events.
Summer Flag Football Clinic. Are you ready for some (flag) football?! Whether your child is new to the sport or turning pro, there are two age-specific flag football camps set to kick off in June. The rookie and semi-pro camp, which runs from June 3 to 7, is for kids ages 5 to 9. The pro and all-pro camp, which takes place June 10 to 14, is for children 10 to 14. Camp is held Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 a.m.; both events are coed. Registration costs $30, resident, $37.50, guests. Participants will play at the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road, multi-purpose field 2. Children are expected to bring a water bottle and wear sneakers.
Summer Horse Camps by Tucson Mountain Stables. Some summers are meant to get yourself back in the saddle, or for gettin’ your spurs clanging in your first rodeo. No matter your experience level, the Tucson Mountain Stables has four week-long summer camps for everyone in June. Here’s the camp schedule: buckaroo, for ages 5 to 7 runs June 3 to 11; juniors, for ages 8 to 12 runs June 10 through 14; juniors plus, for ages 13 to 17 runs June 17 through 21; and all ages for everyone ages 5 and older runs June 24 through 28. Resident prices range between $170-$220, while guest prices range from $212.50-$275. The buckaroo and all ages camps are from 8 to 9:30 a.m., while both junior brackets last from 8 to 10:30 a.m. All horsemanship camps will take place at Marana Heritage River Park, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive.
Town of Oro Valley
If you’re planning on wasting away the summer months in Oro Valley, think again! The town is hosting learning, arts and exercise events for youth of all ages and interests. And because this is Oro Valley, STEM and academic summer camps are plentiful. The months of May through August are full of opportunities to get active, stay active or learn something new. For more information, and to register, visit orovalleyaz.gov/parksandrec
Summer Camp. This active summer camp is designed to created fond memories for young people ages 6 to 12, where participants can enjoy a range of pastimes including swimming, arts and crafts and sports. Camp runs Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 27 though Aug. 7. Extended hours, which tack on two hours to the beginning or end of the day, are available for an additional charge. Admission is $140, and the truncated weeks starting July 1 and Aug. 5 are prorated accordingly. Children are required to bring a bag lunch, but morning and afternoon snacks are provided. All events are hosted at the Oro Valley Community Center, 10555 N. La Cañada Drive.
El Conquistador Junior Summer Tennis Camps. If your little darling doubles down when it’s match point, tennis camp maybe be your only logical option this summer. Tennis camp for young people ages 4 to 18 will serve up entertainment from May 29 through Aug. 5 at El Conquistador Tennis at Pusch Ridge, 10000 N. Oracle Road. Four-day sessions run Monday through Thursday in the morning, 9 to 11 a.m., and afternoon, 6 to 8 p.m.
Crazy for Horses Kids Summer Camps at Rolling Hills Riding Academy. Children ages 6 to 12 will learn both English and Western styles of riding as well as horse behavior, language, interpreting what the horse is thinking, and more. Trail rides, games and crafts are also included in this camp. This week-long camp takes place Monday-Friday from 7 to 10 a.m. from June 3 through 21 and July 8 through 26. Each weekly session costs $250. Students can borrow boots and helmets during camp. Camp is held at 9015 Camino De Anza, Tucson.
Art and STEM = STEAM at Steam Pump Ranch. Has your child ever wondered what it may have been like to live thousands of years ago, or how people use mathematics to construct civilizations, navigate the world and trade goods? Well this is the best summer camp for them. Kids ages 6 to 12 will explore a variety of arts and cultures and how STEM has progressed with time. Camp takes place Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to noon from June 3 through Aug. 2, excluding the week starting July 1. Each week costs $55, residents, $65, guests. Extended camp hours are also available for an additional fee. Steam Pump Ranch is located at 10901 N. Oracle Road.
I Can Too! Summer Break Camp at the Oro Valley Community Center. This camp is for children ages 6 to 12 living with Down syndrome, Asperger’s, autism and learning delays. Participants will play a variety of games, sports and crafts. Camp is held Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 4 through July 27 with no sessions July 2 to 5. Registration costs $75 per week, and class size is limited to four children. The Oro Valley Community Center is located at 10555 N. La Cañada Drive.
Play-Well Teknologies Camps. Young folks get an opportunity to construct engineer-designed projects and apply the concepts of physics, engineering and architecture using Legos. This camp is for kids ages 5 to 12 and is split into two age categories. Camp meets Monday through Friday and costs $150 for each weekly session. STEM camp is held from 9 a.m. to noon for ages 5 to 6, and 1to 4 p.m. for ages 7 through 12, June 17 through 21. Robotics camp is held from 9 a.m. to noon for ages 5 to 6, and 1 to 4 p.m. for ages 7 through 12, July 15 through 19. All camps take place at the Oro Valley Community Center, 10555 N. La Cañada Drive.
Arizona Rose Theatre
If your kids are more comfortable on the stage, or have always wanted to try out the spotlight, Arizona Rose Theatre has multiple camps and classes throughout the summer for the performance-oriented. For more information, and to register, visit arizonarosetheatre.com/camps.html .
Singers Boot Camp. This camp is for budding and seasoned performers who are looking to create a performing resume, prepare for an audition and learn proper singing techniques. Participants will receive one headshot, two contrasting audition videos and attend a resume writing workshop. Students will also give a performance at the end of camp. This week-long camp is for young people ages 12 to 18 and costs $200. Sessions are held Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 10 through 14. Sibling discounts will knock 10 percent off the second admission. Arizona Rose Theater is located at 4500 N. Oracle Road, Suite 329. Break a leg!
Drama & Theatre Production Camp. Aspiring thespians will not only improve upon their technique, but this summer camp crew will create and write an original play to perform as the two-week session closes. This camp is for young folks ages 9 to 17. The session runs Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 17 through 28. Registration is $245 per student; all day care, which lasts until 5:30 p.m., costs an additional $100. Sibling discounts will knock 10 percent off the second registration. Arizona Rose Theater is located at 4500 N. Oracle Road, Suite 329. The show must go on!
Musical Theatre Production Camp Presenting “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” This two-week camp is a full-blown production where students will learn every step of putting on a musical, from acting and singing through costumes and lighting. Camp is for children ages 6 to 17 and runs Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from July 8 through 19. Registration costs $300 per child. all day care, which lasts until 5:30 p.m., costs an additional $100. Sibling discounts will knock 10 percent off the second registration. Final performances will take place July 19 at 6 p.m., July 20 at 1 and 3 p.m. Arizona Rose Theater is located at 4500 N. Oracle Road, Suite 329. “That’s no blizzard, that’s my sister!”
Jewish Community Center Tucson
Camp J. The Jewish Community Center Tucson will again host its award-winning, weekly summer camp for both members and visitors. Camp J is offered to children entering kindergarten through high school. Activities include arts and crafts, field trips, music and STEM classes. Weekly camp session run Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 28 through Aug. 2. Free extended camp hours last from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Camp is closed July 4 and 5; although a one-day travel option is available on Friday, July 5.
For more information, and to register, visit tucsonjcc.org
Here’s a breakdown according to age group:
Shalom “Peace” Camp: A traditional day camp for kids entering kindergarten through second grade where campers are grouped by age. Weekly admission costs $270 for members, $315 for guests. Daily swim and swim instruction are part of day. Campers are lead through the day by experienced staffers.
Giborim “Heroes” Camp: This session is for children entering grades 3 to 5. Participants will experience traditional camp activities and choose among electives sports/games. Weekly admission costs $295 for members, $340 for guests. One field trip is included during each weekly camp.
Tiyul “Trip” Camp: Adventurers wanted! This camp is for young people entering grades 6 to 8 and includes a different day or overnight trip each week. Weekly registration costs $315 for members, $360 for guests. Campers will hone skills in team building, making new friends and developing self-awareness.
Gesher “Bridge” Camp: For the tween and teen camper who wants to stay close to home — this one’s for you. Children entering grades 6 to 8 will chose from the camp’s various programming as well as take part in experiential and service learning activities. Weekly registration is $295 for members, $340 for guests. This camp is available during weeks 2 to 5, 8 and 9.
Bonim “Builders” Camp: Calling all prospective “leaders-in-training”! For high school students entering grade 9-12, this camp is a mentorship opportunity. Teen campers accepted into this program will assist with camp activities under staff supervision. A pre-camp interview for eligibility and expectations is required. Admission costs $125 for members, $175 for guests.
Special Needs Inclusion Program: Camp J’s Inclusion program is designed to give kids, ages 5 to 15, who are living with special needs to have the best summer camp to date. Children are paired with advocates on a 1:1, 1:2 and 1:3 ratio. For more information, contact Emily Malin at email@example.com or 299-3000 ext.168.
Pima Community College
Do you want to introduce your kids to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) programs this summer; maybe you believe it’s never too early to get your kid in the college mindset? Well, then send them to college!
The Pima for Youth program offers non-credit summer classes for young folks ages 9 to 17 from June 3 through July 26. Classes are lead by Pima Community College instructors and take place on all five campuses and some partner locations. Subjects, class times and duration and fees vary. This program utilizes an open-door policy, where students are free to come and go during class time.
For more information, and to register, visit pima.edu
PCC’s various campus locations include: West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road; Downtown Campus, 1255 N. Stone Ave; East Campus, 8181 E. Irvington Road; Northwest Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Road;
Time Travel on the Art Express. This course mixes art history and creative expression. Throughout the week-long course, students will create a portfolio full of various art pieces using a mix of mediums and modes. Students ages 9 to 12 can take this course Monday through Friday, starting in June for $169. Times and campus locations: West, June 3 through 7, 8 a.m. to noon; East, June 6 through 10, 1 to 5 p.m.; Downtown, June 24 through 28, 8 a.m. to noon; Northwest, July 8 through 12, 8 a.m. to noon.
Beginning Acting Skills. By the end of the this week-long course, students will understand how to use their body and voice to communicate for the stage and beyond. Students ages 9 to 12 of all skill levels are welcome. Class is held Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, June 3 through 7 at West Campus. Registration is $169.
City Planning. Students will be tasked with solving a community design problem while considering green space, energy solutions and balancing economic drivers with historic preservation. Lessons include insight into archaeology, engineering and human behavior. Children ages 9 to 12 can sign up for this Monday through Friday class starting in June. Registration is $169. Times and campus locations: Downtown, June 3 through 7, 8 a.m. to noon; West, July 8 through 12, 8 a.m. to noon; Northwest, July 15 through 19, 1 to 5 p.m.; East, July 22 through 26, 1 to 5 p.m.
Teen Baking Academy. If Tucson’s scorching summer sun isn’t enough, students can turn up the heat with this course. Young folks ages 13 to 17 can spend a week learning how to make pastries, creams, custards and cakes at PCC’s Culinary Teaching Lab. Registration is $215. This course is offered at the Desert Vista Campus June 10 through 14, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Cracking Shakespeare’s Code. The pursuit of acting starts with understanding its language — and who better to study than William Shakespeare. Students ages 13 to 17 will learn a basic understanding of Shakespeare, principles of acting and performance. This two-week course, Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. runs from June 3 through 14. Registration cost $338, and is held at West Campus. If it’s a challenge you seek, Shakespeare would certainly support your pursuit: “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
Maker Labs: Make Your First 3D Creation! Students will use the Black Rocket program to prepare digital files needed to produce 3D models. Children ages 13 to 17 will also create a design portfolio to showcase their work. All skill levels are welcome to this week-long class, which runs Monday-Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. Registration is $185. Campus locations and dates: East, July 15 to 19; Northwest, July 22 through 26.
Vacation Bible Schools
Many of the local worship spaces are lending their locations to the honorable pursuit of keeping kids active during the summer months. This is just a small amount of all the awesome events our local churches are hosting.
In the Wild. Mountain View Baptist Church, 3500 W. Overton Road, will host a week-long day camp for kids enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade graduates. This camp runs Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.to noon, starting June 3. Participants will have bible study classes, music lessons, recreation and snacktime. This event is free; online registration is required.
To Mars and Beyond. St. Paul’s UMC, 8051 E. Broadway Blvd., is hosting a bible day camp for kids ages 2 to fifth graders. Camp runs Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.to noon, from June 3 through 7. Registration is $15 per child, but families won’t pay more than $45 for general admission. Extended camp hours run from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m and costs an additional $40. This portion of the camp is co-hosted by the Circus Academy of Tucson; campers will watch circus acts including tumbling, tightrope and juggling. Parents must pack a lunch for campers signed up for extended hours.
Soul Wars — May the Lord Be With You. Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, will host this camp for children in kindergarten through fourth grade graduates from June 3 through 7. Day camp is held every day 8:30 a.m. to noon. Registration is $15 through May 15, and $20 afterwards.
Dinosaurs, Floods, and Fossils — Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, is loaning their time machine for families attending this evening summer camp. Participants will discover the diversity of dinosaurs, the world’s historic floods and learn how fossils were formed. This camp kicks off Monday, June 24 and runs all week from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Contact Sherry at Christ Community Church for details about cost and registration, 296-8501.
Contributions to this story were made by David J. Del Grande, Jeff Gardner and Logan Burtch-Buus.