Get Packin' for Summer Camp!
Need to make plans for your kids’ summer break? Whether you need daily childcare or are just looking for opportunities to get them out of the house and exploring new horizons, central Arkansas is filled with excellent summer camp options. Check out a few highlights and start making plans now before they fill up!
By Amy Gordy Photography courtesy of venues
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Summer Strings Camp
Junior musical prodigies will delight in this five-day intensive program for violin, viola, cello and double bass players. Private lessons are also available.
Ages: Elementary, junior high and high school levels. Students must have at least one year of string study on their particular instrument. Location: Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.
Dates and times: June 24-June 28; 1:30-5 p.m.
Cost: $150 before June 1; $175 afterward. arkansassymphony.org.
Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive
All dancers are required to have at least three years of dance training to audition. Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive is an intermediate/advanced level program.
Dates and times: July 22-26, July 29-Aug. 2.
Cost: $400 per student (1 week); or $725 per student (2 weeks).
Location: Ballet Arkansas Studios, 520 Main St., Little Rock. balletarkansas.org/summer-intensive.
Junior Arts Academy
Kids will discover the worlds of theater and fine art in this two-week summer day camp. The session closes with “Play & Display,” where parents are invited to see the young thespians perform original short plays on the Children’s Theatre Main Stage, and view their artwork on display in the Arkansas Arts Center.
Dates and times: June 3-14; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $448 for members; $560 for nonmembers.
Register at arkansasartscenter.org by May 3.
Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts
This summer music festival and arts camp is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced students who are interested in studying music in a creative and musically nurturing environment. WAMA students learn and perform alongside professional faculty and guest artists from across the country.
Dates and times: June 3-July12. wama.wildwoodpark.org
Youth Chefs Culinary Camp
Inspire a love for cooking at UA-Pulaski Technical College’s youth cooking program. Choose from sessions in baking, cake decorating and general culinary craft. This camp fills up quickly, so register ASAP.
Dates and times: June 3-28 (multiple sessions), Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Cost: $250 if registered before May 10, $275 after May 10.
Location: UA-Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute at 130000 Interstate 30, Little Rock.
Summertime learning doesn't get better than this! The Innovation Hub summer camps are packed with exciting and fun hands-on camps designed to engage. From video game design and robotics to pottery and screen printing, your child is sure to find an activity they will love.
Ages: 10-17. Cost: $175.
For a complete class list, dates, times visit arhub.org.
Arkansas Governor’s School
This state-funded four-week residential program hosted for the first time at Arkansas Tech University helps high school seniors explore cutting-edge theories in the arts and sciences. Students are challenged to develop creative and intellectual skills that will ready them for their lives beyond high school. Students must fill out an application form and receive a nomination from their school to attend this program.
Ages: High school seniors.
Dates and times: July 7-Aug. 3.
Sign up: This program is highly competitive and spots are limited. The application deadline for 2019 has passed; however rising high school juniors should consider now for 2020. Look for application information in the fall at
Summer at ASMSA
Rising sophomores are invited to apply to spend a tuition-free week at Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences & Arts in Hot Springs. Choose from four residential camps focusing on computer analysis, math and programming; fine arts and humanities; biomedical sciences; and entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dates and times: June 16-21 (and additional biomedical sciences camp is available in July). asmsa.org/outreach/summer-at-asmsa
Summer Laureate University for Youth (SLUFY)
SLUFY is an educational program through the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that offers a wide variety of enriching courses in math, science, the arts, social studies, language arts and more. This program is geared for high-ability students and allows them the opportunity to meet other talented students and form friendships that last long beyond the summer program.
Ages: Grades K-8.
Dates and times: Monday-Friday, July 8-19;
Sign up: Applications are available online at ualr.edu, or call 501-569-8757.
Summer Science Camp
Summer day camps at Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs offer exciting opportunities for kids to learn about science, technology, engineering, mathematics and more. Choose from multiple camp topics including: Environmental Science, June 24-28; Science Explorers I, July 1-5; Science with a Twist, July 8-12; Minecraft in Real Life, July 15-19; Wizarding World of Science, July 22-26; and Science Explorers II, July 29-Aug 2.
Ages: 6-9 and 10-12. Times: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $200 for members, $225 for nonmembers. 501-767-3461 or midamericamuseum.org.
Zoofari Summer Camps
Young animal lovers will enjoy any of the camps offered at the Little Rock Zoo throughout the summer. Choose from half-day or full-day in a range of topics including zookeeper training, technology in conservation, crafts, exploration and more.
Dates and times: June 3-Aug. 9, half-day or full-day. littlerockzoo.com.
Science Sampler Week at Museum of Discovery
Can’t decide on just one topic? Then try a science sampler! Each day campers will explore something different. The 2019 topics include: “Ologies,” Scientist Fan Club, Mythbusters, Mad Scientist and H20 Let’s Go!
Ages: 6-8 and 9-12. Dates and times: June 24-28, July 29-Aug. 1; 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $275 for members, $300 for nonmembers.
Sign up: Call 501-537-3073, or visit museumofdiscovery.org.
Arkansas 4-H Overnight Camps
Campers learn great teambuilding skills at a variety of Arkansas 4-H overnight camps located at the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center, 10 miles west of Little Rock. Cloverbud Camp is a three-day family overnight camp for children (ages 5-9) who are accompanied by a guardian. Junior Camp (ages 9-12) offers an independent three-day overnight experience with a fun, competitive Summer Olympics theme. Adventure and Challenge Camp (ages 13-15) offers the three-day ExCEL Leadership program, which includes a ropes course, swimming, campfire and other camp activities. Also find STEM, culinary, craft and forestry camps.
Dates and times: throughout July.
Enjoy a unique overnight experience at Arkansas’s only nonprofit uniquely dedicated to serving kids with special needs and medical conditions. The camp offers traditional summer camp activities such as campfires, singing, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, swimming and nature hikes.
Ages: Varies by camp session; call for details.
501-225-1444 or campaldersgate.net.
This faith-based overnight camp, nestled on 27 acres just outside Hot Springs, near Lake Catherine State Park, offers a multitude of programs to accommodate new and experienced campers. If it’s your child’s first time camping, consider the Family Camp or Mini Camp to ease them into the experience. Tanako offers a variety of activities, including kayaking, swimming, archery, fishing, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, sports, worship, hiking and more.
Ages: Rising 1-12 grades.
Dates and times: May 28-Aug. 2.
Get some sun and all-day outdoor fun at this nine-week summer day camp, where kids can enjoy a variety of activities, including camp songs, arts and crafts, nature hikes, team games and sports, swimming, volleyball, basketball and more.
Ages: K-5 (new this year is Middle School Summer Camp for grades 6-8).
Dates and times: June 3-Aug. 2; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $150 per child; $130 per second child attending the same weeks and within the same household.
Location: 18500 Cooper Orbit Road, Little Rock.
Ferncliff Summer Overnight Camp
This popular faith-based camp located just 10 miles west of Little Rock offers more than 30 camp experiences. Ferncliff provides day camp and overnight camping programs in an atmosphere of caring and acceptance. Activities include hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, games, sand volleyball, mountain biking, crafts, worship, campfires and more.
Dates and times: Several sessions available June-August. ferncliff.org.
Arkansas Football Camps
These football camps held in Fayetteville cater to a variety of skill levels, from rising first-graders to high school seniors. Each camp allows students to work directly with coaching staff and lower division coaches to improve overall football skills.
Sessions include: Youth Half-Day Camp (age 5-11); Razorback Specialist Camp (age 12-21); Junior High Overnight Camp (age 10-14); High School Overnight Camp (age 13-19); and more.
Dates and times: June 2-15, times vary. Cost: $40-$210.
First Tee of Central Arkansas Summer Golf Camp
Get young golfers working on their backswing and developing character at one of the First Tee of Central Arkansas summer golf camps. The First Tee’s mission is to impact the lives of young people by teaching life skills through the great game of golf, and provide affordable access to the game while developing character through golf’s positive values.
Dates and times: June 11-14, June 25-28, July 9-12, July 23-26, Aug. 6-9, 8:30 a.m.-noon (all camps) Cost: $85 for members, $135 for nonmembers.
Gymnastics Day Camp
Once school is out, get your kid tumbling through the day at River City Gymnastics. This camp is a fun, activity-filled program with your child’s health and fitness in mind. There is plenty of time to play, tumble, develop gymnastics skills and do arts and crafts.
Ages: 5-12. Dates throughout summer, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Cost: $40 per day.
Sign up: Visit river-city-gymnastics.com.
Packing for an overnight camp doesn’t have to be stressful. Planning ahead, reading the camp’s rules and talking with other parents can ease the burden and help make sure you have everything your kid will need. Don’t: Send anything that you or your child can’t live without if it’s damaged or lost. Do: Put a label on everything! Permanent marker works great for most things, and personalized iron-on labels are best for clothes. It might even be helpful to include the packing list in your child’s trunk or suitcase to help him or her keep up with things. Here’s a list of camp essentials to help get you started
Raincoat or poncho
Swimsuit and coverup
Swim shirt with UV protection
Socks (pack extra!)
Underwear (pack extra!)
Bedding if required
Hand towel (dries faster than a beach towel, and is convenient for
Prescription medications (alert the camp director)
Comb or brush
Shampoo and conditioner
Liquid body wash
Sunblock/aloe vera gel
Razor and shaving cream
Reusable water bottle
Baseball cap or sun hat
Small backpack or tote
Cleats (if needed)
Sandals for the shower
Flashlight (make sure it
has new batteries)