It’s been a long, uncertain year for kids and parents everywhere, but things are finally looking up. The summer months are fast approaching, and in-person camp opportunities for youth are back! While summer camps and classes might look a bit different this time around due to smaller group sizes and other COVID-19 safety measures, kids will still have the chance to be together and have fun during Tucson’s sizzling summer months.
Whether your kids want to run around under the Arizona sun or channel their inner Picasso, there are plenty of options to choose from to keep your kids active and engaged until school starts up again in August.
Town of Marana
The Town of Marana has offered youth a variety of fun activities during the summer for many years, and this summer is no exception. Here is a look at some of the programs being offered in Marana this summer. For more information, and to register, visit maranaaz.gov/recreation.
Swim the Cruz Swimmer’s Challenge. The Town of Marana wants to know if you have what it takes to swim the 18-mile distance of the Santa Cruz River in Marana! This self-paced swim challenge will take place from May 29 to July 31. Participants ages 4 and up can conquer the distance from any pool available to them. For those without a pool, the Marana Pool, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, will offer free lap swims all summer on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 8 a.m. Keep track of your distance by logging each swim online at maranaaz.gov/aquatics. Registration costs $10 per resident and $12.50 per guest.
Water Play in the Garden Presented by Pima County Nature 2 You. If your child is an early riser, look no further. Kids can spend their July Friday mornings staying cool and going green at the Marana Community Garden. Activities include planting, playing and investigating the miracles of life. This activity will be offered from 8 to 9 a.m. to the whole family for just a $40 fee for residents and a $50 fee for visitors. It will take place at Marana Heritage River Park, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive, on July 9, 16, 23 and 30.
Paint Night in the Park for Teens! Teens can meet up at Marana Heritage River Park Barn, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive, from May through August on the second Friday of the month to paint and create. This instructor-led class will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. to kids ages 10 to 17. Registration costs $20 per resident and $25 for visitors. It will include a canvas and supplies to paint.
Horse Camp Presented by Tucson Mountain Stables. Is your son or daughter an animal lover? Tucson Mountain Stables is hosting two horse camps this summer for beginner and experienced riders. From June 7 to June 11, kids ages 5-7 can ride horses at Horse Camp Buckaroo. An adult must stay present for Buckaroo campers. Registration costs $175 per resident and $218.75 for visitors. From June 22 to June 25, children ages 8-13 will also have the chance to learn the basics of western horsemanship at Horse Camp Open. Registration costs $200 per resident and $250 for visitors. The Horse Camps will take place at the Heritage Arena, 12375 North Heritage Park Drive, from 8 to 10 a.m.
Desert Bluegrass Association Jam Sessions. From April to June, teens can jam out with other local musicians for free at the Marana Community Center, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. This fun environment will offer beginner and intermediate musicians a safe space to explore the arts of Bluegrass and acoustic music. Jam sessions will be offered every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Art in the Park with Young Rembrandts. Youngsters ages 6 through 12 can meet up on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoons from April 13 to May 20 for outdoor drawing lessons. The classes are designed for both beginner and advanced drawers. They will learn about the basics of visual art and art history along with different technical skills. Tuesday lessons will take place at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Lessons cost $81 for residents and $101.25 for guests. Wednesday lessons will take place at Heritage River Park, 12375 N. Heritage Park Drive, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lessons cost $81 for residents and $101.25 for guests. Thursday lessons will take place at Continental Reserve Park, 8568 N. Continental Reserve Loop, from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Lessons cost $68 for residents and $85 for guests.
Steve Berry’s Martial Arts Academy. Master instructor Steve Berry will teach kids ages 6 and up the art of Chuck Norris system karate—a combination of Korean Tang Soo Do, Japanese Akido, UFAF Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and American Boxing. The academy will be offered from May through August on Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m at the Marana Community Center located in Ora May Harn District Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road. Each session costs $35 for residents or $43.75 for non-residents.
Jewish Community Center Tucson
Camp J. The Tucson Jewish Community Center will be hosting their accredited weekly summer camp for kids ages 5 to 15 at the JCC, 3800 E. River Road. While the camp will still promote creativity, initiative and leadership, it has been redesigned with CDC and AZHD COVID-19 guidelines in mind. Camp J’s daily activities will include arts and crafts, outdoor sports, STEM programs, music and drama and field trips. Campers will be required to wear masks and social distance during the activities. Camp J will run Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for 10 weeks starting on June 1 and ending on Aug. 6. Camp J will be closed on May 31 and 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 designed for children entering kindergarten through second grade. Campers will be grouped by age so staff can directly meet their different developmental needs. Shalom campers will be led by experienced specialist instructors throughout their daily activities. Weekly admission costs $285 for members, $335 for guests.
Giborim “Heroes” Camp: A more specialized day camp designed for kids entering 3rd through 5th grade. Giborim campers will participate in activities that allow them to nurture their creativity and explore new interests. Weekly admission costs $320 for members, $370 for guests.
Tiyul “Trip” Camp: This camp is designed for older campers heading into grades 6-9. The ’tweens and teens will be encouraged to work together with their peers through different activities to help them develop more awareness the world around them. Tiyul campers will be offered a weekly field trip and overnight at the Tucson JCC. Weekly admission costs $330 for members, $380 for guests.
Special Needs Inclusion Program: Camp J’s award-winning Inclusion Program was created to give children, ages 5-12, living with special needs a fun summer camp experience. Children in the program will be paired with advocates on a 1:1, 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. For more information, contact Josh Shenker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 299-3000 ext.192.
If you’re hoping to keep your child’s mind active this summer, here are some STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) camp opportunities:
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Virtual Summer Camp. The Desert Museum is hosting a week-long, online camp for kids ages 5 to 10 this summer. Kids will be sent a “hands-on desert kit” so they can participate in fun arts & crafts and science activities from the comfort of their home. They will also meet different Sonoran Desert animals during the live online camp sessions, which run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Desert Museum staff will give recommended activities for camp on Tuesday and Thursday. This camp will take place from June 14 to June 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. It costs $120 for Desert Museum members and $145 for non-members. For more information, and to register, visit desertmuseum.org/kids.
Summer Camp at Children’s Museum Tucson. The Children’s Museum Tucson will be holding weekly, in-person camps with different themes from May 31 to Aug. 6 at their downtown Tucson location, 200 S. Sixth Ave. From celebrating different cultures to science experiments to creative building activities, kids will never be bored at the Children’s Museum’s summer camp. Ages vary week by week, but kids as young as 4 and as old as 9 will be able to participate. Camps are held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The weekly sessions cost $125 for members and $155 for non-members. For more information, and to register, visit childrensmuseumtucson.org.
Tucson Museum of Art Summer Art Camp. Campers ages 4-13 will focus on creating artwork in various media, including painting, printmaking and collage while encouraging kids to explore their own personal stories and tune into nature. All-day sessions will be limited to 40 students spread among four classrooms; no drop-in participants will be allowed this year. Among other COVID precautions, students and staff will be asked to wear masks at all times. Camps will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily with after-camp care available beginning the week of June 7 and finishing the week of July 26. Weekly cost to members is $225 and weekly cost to nonmembers is $250. Aftercare from 3 to 5 p.m. is $40. For more information, call 624-2333, extension 7121, email email@example.com or or visit tucsonmuseumofart.org.
Summer Camp Unplugged. YMCA’s summer camp is back in 2021 for kids ages 5 to 12 at different YMCA locations around Tucson! This camp will be centered around STEAM activities to prevent summer learning loss. Kids can expect animal encounters, trips to the pool and outer space adventures. Summer Camp Unplugged starts on June 7 and will continue through July 30. Camp sessions take place Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration costs $15 per child. Parents must pay an additional $10 per week per child after registration. Total cost per week varies between $150-$190 depending on financial need. For more information, and to register, visit tucsonymca.org.
The Juice Box: A Summer Camp for Kids. Do you have a budding young artist at home? Creative Juice, 2959 N. Swan Road, is hosting a summer camp for young painters, ages 6 to 12, for five weeks this June and July. Mediums will change from week to week and will include acrylics, pastels, watercolors, clay and more. Class will be held every morning, from 9 a.m. to noon, outside on Creative Juice’s patio. To promote social distancing, campers will receive their own art kits and workspace. The Juice Box Camp costs $130 for four days and $165 for five days. For an additional fee, parents can extend their child’s stay until 3 p.m. For more information, and to register, visit creativejuiceartbar.com.
Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum Summer Camps. The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave., is taking kids back through time this summer. From June 7-11 and June 21-25, kids ages 8 to 12 can partake in a Live History Summer Camp where they will learn about blacksmithing and experience the traditional foods of the Sonoran Desert. From June 14 to June 18, kids ages 10 to 14 will be able to participate in an Archaeology Summer Camp where they will analyze prehistoric desert artifacts. From June 21 to June 25, the museum is offering kids ages 9 to 15 a Bilingual Theatre Summer Camp where they will learn about local history through role play. Each camp will take place at the museum from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The weekly camps cost $265 for museum members and $290 for nonmembers. For more information, and to register, visit tucsonpresidio.com.
Museum of Miniatures Summer Camp. Tucson’s Museum of Miniatures, 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive, is hosting weekly, half-day summer camps for kids ages 5-12. Campers will build, explore and create through fun activities that will incorporate different STEAM concepts. Camp sessions will take place Monday-Friday in July, from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. Each weekly session will cost $135 per child. Museum members will get a 10% discount on tuition. For more information, and to register, visit theminitimemachine.org.
Outdoor & Sports Camps
For kids who love staying active, there are lots of summer camp options in and around the Tucson area. Here’s a look at just some of the outdoor programs available to youth:
El Grupo Summer Bike Camp. Local youth can take advantage of Tucson’s many bike paths and trails this summer in a kid’s cycling camp. This camp will be offered from June 7-11, June 14-18 and June 21-25. It’s designed to empower kids, ages 7-13, by growing their bike skills and knowledge. In addition to sharpening their skills as cyclists, kids will learn about environmental stewardship, health and wellness through hand-on activities. Campers will begin their day at 8:00 a.m. and end each day at 12:30 p.m. at El Grupo’s Clubhouse, 610 N. Ninth Avenue. Each week-long camp session costs $210. For more information, and to register, visit elgrupocycling.org.
Desert Destroyers Summer Archery Camp. These classes, taught by USA Archery Certified Coaches, will be taught from 8-10 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays at Oro Valley’s Naranja Park Archery Range, 810 W. Nananja Drive. Open to anyone over age 8. Classes are limited to 10 students to allow for physical distancing. $20 per session. Register via text to 520-955-3029.
Pee Wee Sports Camp. A noncompetitive sports camps for youngsters ages 5 to 7. This special day camp will help your child develop basic hand-eye coordination through a variety of fun sports activities including tennis, basketball and swim. Pee Wee Sports Camp will take place at the Tucson Racket & Fitness Club, 4001 N. Country Club Road, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Camp dates and costs will be announced in the weeks to come. For more information, and to register, visit tucsonracquetclub.com.
Summer Volleyball Camp. AZ Wild Volleyball Club is inviting girls from 6th to 12th grade to participate in their summertime volleyball camps. Players of all levels will grow their skills and prepare for the competitive seasons to come. The camps will take place at Continental Elementary School, 1991 E. Whitehouse Canyon Road from June 7 to July 14. The weekly camps will be divided by skill level. Each camp will cost $120 per player and will be limited in size to adhere to COVID guidelines. For more information, and to register, visit azwildvolleyballclub.com.
I-9 Sports Kids Flag Football Program. I-9 sports is offering boys and girls ages 4 to 11 a competitive outlet this summer! From April 24 to June 5, kids can play flag football with their peers at Dan Felix Memorial Park, 5790 N. Camino de la Tierra. The program kicks off with opening days and ends with play-off games. There are no try outs for this program, and everyone gets a chance to play. All games and practices will take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The program costs $159. For more information, and to register, visit i9sports.com.
Miscellaneous Special Interest Camps
If you’re looking for an out of the ordinary opportunity for your son or daughter this summer, here are some of the special interest camps and classes being offered around town:
Roots Hot Yoga Tucson Yoga Classes for Teen Girls. A yoga summer camp series for high school girls. Every Wednesday night in June, teen girls can gather at Roots Hot Yoga Tucson, 4951 E. Grant Road, to breathe, flow and find their zen through yoga classes. Classes will be taught by Leah Baldo, a 200-hour registered yoga teacher and teen yoga instructor. The yoga summer series costs $60. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Camp Giggle Stitch. Calling all aspiring fashionistas! Camp Giggle Stitch is hosting classes and camps all summer long so you can learn the art of sewing. Campers will be supplied with a sewing machine and all the sewing materials they need to create their own wearable works of art. Camps sessions will run from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting on May 24 and ending on July 23. Weekly sessions cost $250. For more information, and to register, visit
Reid Park Zoo Camp. The midtown zoo is planning a summer camp with both in-person and virtual opportunities. The Zoo is offering half-day weekly camps in June and July for children entering grades 1 through 6. Camp events are Mondays through Thursdays in-person at the Zoo, with a virtual component on Fridays. At the camp, kids get to see how animal care happens behind the scenes, get to meet “education ambassadors” (animals like snakes, skinks, and anteaters) and lots of hands-on activities that will help teach participants about animal adaptations, animal habitats, and why it is important to human health to keep animals and the environment healthy. Monday, June 7, 2021 through Monday, July 26. 8 a.m. to noon. $145 for Zoo Member children, $175 for Non-Member children. reidparkzoo.org/event/zoo-summer-camp/
Shine! Preforming Arts Summer Camp. Tucson Girls Chorus is putting together an in-person, performing arts day camp for boys and girls ages 6 through 12. From June 7-11 and June 14-19, kids will sing, dance and perform with their peers and highly qualified conductors. Camp will take place at the TGC building, 4020 E. River Road, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each session costs $267. Call 520-577-6064 or email email@example.com for more information.
Ballet Bootcamp Summer Intensive. Tucson’s Academy of Ballet, Tap, and Jazz, 2100 N. Wilmot Road, is inviting trained dancers ages 7 and up to their Ballet Bootcamp. The workshop will start on June 1 and continue until a final performance on July 1. Ballet Bootcamp runs 5-6 days a week, Monday through Friday, with two Saturdays: June 5 and June 26. Dancers will be divided into groups based on skill level. The workshop costs $500 for level 1 dancers, $750 for levels 2 & 3 dancers, and $950 for advanced dancers. For more information, and to register, visit academyofballetintucson.com.
Vacation Bible Schools Tucson
Local churches are once again offering youth in-person, faith-based camp opportunities this summer! Here are just a few of the fun events being offered to kids in our community:
Into the Unknown. Mountainview Baptist Church, 3500 W. Overton Road, is holding their annual Character Challenge Kid’s Camp from June 20 to June 25. Kids will travel to Mountain Meadows Ranch in Christopher Creek, Arizona, to discover who God made them to be. This five-day excursion costs $250 and will be offered to youth who have completed 3rd through 6th grade. For more information, and to register, mvbctucson.churchcenter.com.
Middle School Summer Camp. Looking for an escape from the Arizona heat this summer? Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, is offering middle schoolers a trip to the mountains of New Mexico to build stronger relationships with their peers and with God. Campers will drive seven hours to Lone Tree Camp in Capitan, New Mexico. The camp will take place from June 21 to June 26 for $400. Scholarships are available for this camp.
High School Summer Camp. Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, is hosting a summer camp for high schoolers in the San Bernardino Mountains of California. This summer camp will allow teens to slow down and experience transformation through different games, discussions and group challenges. Camp starts on June 28 and ends on July 2. Registration costs $525. Scholarships are available for this camp.
Musical Boot Camp. Calling all thespians! This unique camp opportunity combines faith and fun in a musical bootcamp. Fifth through 12th graders will learn different choreographies and songs that will be showcased in a performance on June 18 at 6 p.m. This camp will take place at Christ Community Church, 530 S. Pantano Road, from June 14-18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration costs $50 through June 1 and $60 afterwards.