You might be thinking, “Summer camps? But it’s February!” Believe it or not, many local camps for kids and families open registration this month (or soon), and the popular ones fill up quickly. We’ve put together a list of interesting and fun camp options in the lake area to help you get a jumpstart on your planning. You’ll find classic combinations like hiking and canoeing, plus activity-specific niche camps, designed to fit the interests of every kid.
CAMP CHRISTMAS TREE
Who says kids are the only ones who can revel in the exhilaration of summer camp? Family Adventure Days at the YMCA’s Day Camp Christmas Tree allows kids of all ages and their parents to spend an afternoon of camp activities together. On Dutch Lake in Mound, or at almost all of their 10 day camp properties, families can participate in a family scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, and outdoor games. “We wanted to open up our wonderful properties for families to utilize and spend some quality time together,” says Gabriela Lozada, marketing and communications coordinator. “Some families do all the activities; some families just spend time together.”
$25 pre-sale, $30 at the door per family.
6365 Game Farm Road, Minnetrista
Tanadoona, run by Camp Fire Minnesota, offers nature-based summer camps for ages 5-17, full of classic outdoor activities like archery, high ropes, climbing, log rolling, swimming, fishing, kayaking…you get the gist. Resident camps are offered weekly, and mini-resident camps are offered every other week Sunday through Wednesday during the summer, from early June to late August. The camp was founded in 1924 as a progressive girls’ camp; now, it’s open to all youth and focuses on making nature connections accessible to kids from all backgrounds. The 103 acres feature Big Woods, wetlands and prairie, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Minnewashta—and even though it’s close to the city, campers get fully immersed in nature.
Mini-resident camp $350; resident camp $450.
3300 Tanadoona Drive, Excelsior.
Learn more and register by clicking here.
LAKE MINNETONKA RECREATIONAL SAILING CAMP
Get your kids out of the woods and onto the water. With one- and two-week camps running from June to August, Lake Minnetonka Sailing School’s beginner recreational sailing camp for ages 6–16 helps sailors-to-be learn the fundamentals and feel comfortable and confident on the water. The sailing school officially established as a nonprofit in 1972 has offered learn-to-sail programs from day one. “Sailing is in Minnetonka’s blood,” director Jess Haverstock says. “We love sharing our passion for the lifelong sport of sailing one can enjoy into their old age.” Additional adult and family classes remain in the works. Currently, a group of four friends or a family can all sail together on Wednesday evenings with dinner included. “It’s a great way for parents to see what their sailors are up to over the summer,” Haverstock says.
Register online. It’s first come, first served; Haverstock recommends registering early for your preferred session.
19802 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven
SUMMER ARTS CAMP AT MINNETONKA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Help your kids cultivate their creativity indoors this summer at Minnetonka Center for the Arts. The art camp—which has now been around for more than 20 years—continues this year from June 10 to August 24. Kids ages 7 to 15 can immerse themselves in half-day sampler classes and weeklong, half-day sessions. Sampler classes allow kids to dabble in art media and techniques that are offered as weeklong programs later in the summer. Whether it’s still-life drawing, clay pinch pots or color field painting, a variety of summertime-inspired projects await. In all classes, students learn from working artists while creating in professional studios with quality art materials. From hand making jewelry to sharpening digital photography skills, classes are carefully developed for each age group. Combinable class options for kids ages 5–6 are also available. And with the selective camp load, kids can work around other activities they have going on. “Our modular programming helps families fit art camps in with other summer activities,” says communications director Nikki Lindberg.
Register in-person, via phone or online as soon as February 11. There’s no deadline, but classes fill quickly, especially for ceramics, Lindberg says.
Half-day classes $40 member, $45 non-member. Half-day, weeklong sessions from $200–$410 member, $225–$460 non-member.
2240 North Shore Drive, Wayzata
MINNETONKA THEATRE CAMP
Kids in fourth through ninth grade who have a passion for theater or want to try it out need look no further than Minnetonka Theatre’s summer session. Director Trent Boyum leads students in a two-week theater camp in June. The camp focuses on teaching students about musical theater and how to put on a show. At the end of the two weeks, friends and family are invited to watch the final performance. Spots fill up fast—camp registration filled up within two days for 60 spots last year, box office and marketing coordinator Liz Barlow says.
Register online. $215.
18285 Highway 7