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8 unique summer camps

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“Camp camp. Camp camp camp. Camp camp?”

That’s how my “non-camp” friends used to tease me when I would ramble incessantly about YMCA Camp Minikani, my summer homeland.

But what’s more exciting than seeking warm-weather adventures, exploring your independence, and learning something new outside the walls of a traditional classroom?

Although overnight residential camps will always be the winner in my eyes, these innovative camp experiences are too cool to pass up!

1. Cooking and Creating at Bloom Gallery (ages 5-11)

This camp focuses on creating with healthy foods and novel art media with a nature theme. Activities will include Farmer’s Market cooking, sun prints, nature-based sculptures, making picnic fare, and more. Instructors Jeannie Bril and Terri Roller each have over 25 years of experience working and creating with children.

July 6-10; Session 1, 1:00-2:30, ages 5 to 7; Session 2, 2:30-4:00 ages 8 to 11

More information

2. Secret Garden at Lynden Sculpture Garden (ages 4-6)

June 30-July 3 | 9 am-12 pm$108/$90 members

Collect pebbles, twigs, mosses and feathers from Lynden’s sleepy hollows to create miniature environments for gnomes, elves and sprites. On the final day, kids will lead their families and friends into the secret garden to discover these magical works of art.

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3. Junior Astronomy at the Milwaukee Public Museum (ages 4-6)

Thursday, July 9 (also offered August 6) Junior AstronomyRegistration deadline: June 18

Create your own solar system! You’ll see moons and constellations and learn about what makes our Earth special and different. Afterwards, travel to other parts of the world to hear the stories different cultures passed down about the constellations they saw in the sky.

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4. Discovery Quest at the Urban Ecology Center (Completed grades 3 and 4)

Did you know that there are secret treasures hidden in parks all around Milwaukee? Come and learn about Letterboxing, a treasure hunt-style outdoor quest. Using clues, riddles, maps and compasses, campers will embark on a scavenger hunt for letterboxes while exploring parks throughout the city. Take home your own personal logbook and handmade rubber stamp. Join us on this quest for fun and exploration!

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5. Survivor: Pioneer Wisconsin (Entering grades 5-7)

Trek through the forests and farmsteads, with bucketsful of courage and some good old-fashioned grit! Work with others as you hike through the woods to find wood for your fire and to build a shelter. Gather food, start a fire with flint and steel, cook a meal and more! You’ll pick up some pioneering skills as you meet your challenges.

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6. Backstage Pass at DanceWorks Milwaukee (ages 9-11)

July 27-31: Backstage Pass (9am–4pm)

Discover what’s waiting for you beyond the wings in this exciting week of dance and theatre exploration. You’ll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, refine your dancing skills and use teamwork to build your own props and scenery.

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7. Jr. Investigator at Discovery World (Grades 3-5)

Become the next Sherlock Holmes as you try to crack a Discovery world mystery. Meet trained detectives who will give you the trade secrets on what it’s really like to investigate a crime scene. Learn how to detect a liar, take fingerprints, and analyze hair samples using professional gear that forensic scientists use in the field.

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8. Masks, Mimes and Music (Ages 4-5)

This camp will explore acting without the use of student’s voices. Combining the art of masks making, telling a story through pantomime, and creative movement to music, students will showcase their ability to play a character in a story without using their voices. This week will be filled with acting, dancing, creative movement and visual arts. A great imagination is required for this exciting camp! On the final day students will showcase their work for family and friends.

More information

Browse our 2015 Camp Guide

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