With the end of another school year upon the students of Tacoma, their parents are likely on the hunt for summer activities to keep them away from playing “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” for days on end.
Parents have lots of options from which to choose. Here are some highlights.
Metro Parks has week-long day camps at Titlow Park and Wapato Park through much of the summer that are focused on children ages 6 to 12. Each session will follow a specific theme, from “Raiders of the Lost Park” and “Captain America and the Camp Avengers” to “Space Pirates: the Movie” and “Go For the Gold,” a nod to the Summer Olympic Games in London. The camps run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the work week and cost $130. Mini camps for younger children are also available at the facilities as well as at the STAR Center for $70 and run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A handful of neighborhood parks around the city will also play host to free drop-in programs from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, while Jefferson Park, McKinley Playfield, South Park and Wright Park will also have weekend programs as well. Activities at these drop-in programs include organized games, sports, crafts and water activities.
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium also has a roster of summer camps for would-be zoologists and animal lovers as young as 4 years old. Themed, two-day camps run through the summer and will provide children with up-close looks into the world of animals and animal behavior as well as answer such questions as “why do leopards have spots, but tigers have stripes” and other questions of the ages. Camps for older students will include tours of the exhibits and time for children to design their own zoos. Camps for teenagers cover activities such as photography, junior zookeeper duties and animal research. Costs run from $40 for the shorter camps to $185 for the week-long sessions for older children.
Children with a more theatrical flair can give the programs at the local community theaters a look since those programs provide everything from acting and improv sessions to full stage performances.
Summer Youth Musical Theater Camp at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, for example, runs four weeks to provide children glimpses at all of what goes into the staging of a show with hands-on rehearsals that culminate with the production of a fully staged musical. Cost runs from $240 to $475.
Tacoma Little Theatre also offers four-week camps so students can experience the process of bringing a play to the stage, from rehearsing lines and setting lights to working on sound systems and applying stage makeup to produce “Zombie Prom.” Cost is $400.