6 Museum Camps for a Super Smart Summer

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Bust up summer brain drain and let your kiddos have fun while learning at some amazing local museums that offer creative and challenging summer camps.  These world-class learning centers, with the sole purpose of combining fun and learning for the little ones, are the perfect place to dump them, er, broaden their horizons, for a few weeks this summer.  So sayonara boredom, hello mini museum aficionados!

huntington_library_campphoto: Huntington Library

Huntington Library: Explorers Summer Day Camp
Overview: The Explorers day camp takes the kiddos on a three-week journey that gives them a hands-on, up close and personal look at what the Huntington Library is all about. Each week focuses on a different aspect of The Huntington’s collections.

The grand oeuvre: Each day is devoted to a different skill tailored to the vast array of topics offered.  You’ll find cooking classes, gardening, clay, painting, photography and much more.  Check out the detailed class descriptions here.

The skills: Kids learn basic cooking skills, photography, gardening, music, print-making, clay sculpting, and more.  Instead of signing up your kid for a variety of different specialized camps, the Explorers camp is kind of all like having all of those camps in one.

The bonus: The kids will get to explore the Huntington Library books and get an up close and personal look at the ancient artifacts that normal museum goers usually don’t get a chance to see.

The details: Three one-week sessions are offered for kids ages 5-12 and each class is divided by age group so your kids are with their peers.   You have the flexible option of signing up for one, two, or all three weeks.  Cost is $400/week.

1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino
Online: huntington.org

Don't shoo that fly away, it might be one of the many new fly species discovered right here in our Nature Gardens! This Junior Scientist, look closer at this amazingly diverse order of animals to see what all the buzz is about, and why even that fly on the wall is an important part of our planet's ecosystems. Designed for 6- to 9-year-olds and their families. No reservations are required. For more information please visit: http://www.nhm.org/site/activities-programs/junior-scientistphoto: Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum: Adventures in Nature
Overview: A day camp completely devoted to a dinosaur fanatic who loves to explore fossils and habitats.  Focused, fun, and hands-on classes to explore details of the world we live in.

The grand oeuvre: Each week is devoted to one topic so that your kids get the chance to immerse themselves into everything and anything about dinosaurs and nature.  Weekly topics include: A Bugs Life, Backyard Adventures, Paleo Quests, Dinosaurs, Oceans and Totally Pterosaurs.

The skills: Kids learn to scientifically explore fossils and habitats.  They will also apply their knowledge using arts & crafts.

The bonus:  Kids are separated by age to study the topic of the week in depth.  The last week of camp is held at the Tar Pits! Detailed descriptions of the classes can be found here.

The details: Kids need to bring their own lunch and snacks. Extended childcare before and after the camp is offered for an additional fee. Cost is $300-$335/week for non-members. Register online.

900 Exposition Blvd.
Exposition Park
Online: nhm.org/summercamp

LACMA_art_campphoto: LACMA

LACMA Art Camp
Overview: One of LA’s premiere art museums has art workshops taught by different artists each week.  Your budding artists will get a hands-on experience learning the crafts of the different types of art.

The grand oeuvre:  Your kiddo will get to learn with the best artists that LACMA has to offer!

The skills: Kids will learn to sculpt with clay, draw, paint, and talk about different art forms.

The details: Week-long art workshops are taught by different artists for ages 6 and up.  Cost is $330/week for NexGen members.

5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Miracle Mile
Online: lacma.org

kidspace_museum_summer_campphoto: Kidspace

Kidspace Museum Summer Camp
Overview: The ultimate camp for exploring issues kids are fascinated with in detail.  Topics this summer include Art, Bugs, Mad Science, Mystery Detectives, Outer Space and Amazing Animals

The grand oeuvre:  Physics experiments that are daunting and hard to do at home are easily undertaken here so that your kids get to see and experience abstract science concepts.

The skills:  The kids will get to exercise their entire five senses daily. They will also get to run around and get their wiggles out with the fun physical activities that are included in the curriculum.

The bonus:  Week one is just for little campers ages 4 & 5, to give them a taste of big kid camp life!

The details:  Kids ages 5-9 will explore a different topic each week.  You can choose a la carte from full session , morning session, or afternoon session.  Cost for full day is $450/week; cost for half day is $250/week.

480 North Arroyo Blvd.
Online: kidspacemuseum.org

Zimmer_Museum_Summer_Campphoto: Zimmer Museum

Zimmer Children’s Museum Summer Camp
Overview:  A museum camp devoted to kids 3-8 year old.  Kiddos will explore simple aspects of the world around them.

The grand oeuvre: A program tailored just for the early grades to help them learn about a socially responsible theme through arts & crafts, music, and movement.  Topics include: World Architecture, Intergalactic Expedition, Mythical Creatures, Dino Dig and more.

The skills:  Kids will be exposed to the basic learning blocks of making crafts, recognizing different sounds, and coordinating body movements.

The bonus: New location this summer!  There are now camps available at Sinai Akiba Academy.

The details: The program runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, with extended care available.  Cost is $350/week.

6505 Wilshire Blvd.
Miracle Mile
Online: zimmermuseum.org

California_Science_Center_Summer_Campphoto: California Science Center

California Science Center Summer Camp
Overview: The science museum of the LA is offering a ginormous program with more than 25 classes housed in a separate 32,000 sq.ft. facility.

The grand oeuvre:  More than 25 courses are available for ages Pre-K to 8th grade.  In addition to exploring different science topics (physics, chemistry, space, mechanics, and more), campers will get the chance to see all of the museum’s exhibits as well, including the Endeavour space shuttle. View the complete catalog here.

The skills: Scientific observations and learning are applied with hands-on experiments and activities that will forever be imprinted in your little ones’ brains, setting the foundation for future science learning.

The bonus:  There are cool new classes offered for summer of 2016, like “The Force, of Course” and “Soap Box Derby Racers.”

The details: Pre-K to 8th grade will get to explore different science topics.  Some classes are half day and some are full.  Cost ranges by age group and type of class but generally range from $165-345/session for non-members. Be sure to check the brochure for details.  Extended care is available for an additional fee.

700 Exposition Park Dr.
Exposition Park
Online: californiasciencecenter.org

Hey, Small Spenders!  Here’s a Tip: Prices we’ve listed are all non-member rates.  If you join the museum, you’ll often be able to save more than the cost of membership, and then you get to visit all year long!

If you’re still looking for more camp options, you clearly haven’t visited our Summer Camp Central, where you can find a camp for any kid, of any age, with any interest!

Which of these museum summer camps would be a good fit for your little learners?

—Sommy Rhee