Find your perfect summer camp

Archery training at Osprey Wilds


The past – another country

When the pandemic struck a few years ago, planning for summer camp experiences became a huge challenge for both summer program providers and for families wanting their kids to attend them. It was especially so in 2021, when we still didn’t know much about COVID, vaccines were new, and the big terrifying wave was ongoing. But it’s super weird to look back at our Summer Camp article of March 2020 ( About a week after publication, the first shelter-in-place rules came into effect, everyone was in some kind of shock, and every word we published had become obsolete or irrelevant. The article doesn’t even mention COVID, though the pandemic totally disrupted education, including camps. By 2023, the summer camp world was relatively back to normal, or at least a “new normal.” That’s how it appears for 2024 too, with even more encouraging signs of growth.

Songs with Sarah Music School offers full and half-day camps in South Minneapolis.

Visual, theater, and circus arts

A rising star in this area is Adventures in Cardboard, where you will find a lot of alumni from In the Heart of the Beast and other puppet or arts organizations teaching. This co-ed, mostly outdoor, day camp is centered around fantasy, world-building, and of course, cardboard (and other materials). Registration portal and details at
Another Heart of the Beast alumna, Angie Courchaine, is a cofounder of Pinwheel Arts and Movement Studio, which has one of the richest spreads of art-related summer camp offerings in town, making puppets, crankies, masks, cardboard forts and marble runs, exploring wood, fabric and clay, and learning stilt-walking and acrobatics! See for a detailed registration form for full-day and half-day weekly modules for elementary and middle school grades.
ARTrageous is an innovative art studio that has been around for over 15 years in the Kenwood area and in 2021 opened a second studio in Mankato. This summer they are offering eight themed day camps for school-age children. Registration and more info at under Minneapolis > Camps and classes.
Three other Southside Minneapolis arts organizations are offering day camps. Articulture is an all-around arts education organization that I feared would go away during the pandemic, but happily they’re still hanging in there. Details and registration links for day camps for kids and teens can be found at
Northern Clay Center has a unique summer program that has youth day camps but also options for families. Their registration opened Feb. 6, and you can preview offerings at Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center experienced huge growth in participation and donations in 2023 and will be hosting a summer camp, but details and registration will not be available until mid-February. Meanwhile, read about their ongoing classes and the new Fuelers program at
Circus Juventas in St. Paul is fully back up to its pre-pandemic program. Their camps range from dipping a toe in to full-on “you’re going to be doing a circus act at the end of this camp” levels. Registration opens Feb. 19 at If it’s mainly trapeze and aerial arts you’re interested in, check out Twin Cities Trapeze Center, LLC, where registration opened Feb. 1. They offer week-long half-day camps for ages 8-17. Additional skills to learn include trampoline, juggling, stilts and silks.

Summer camp options abound at MacPhail Center for Music.

Music and dance

MacPhail Center for Music has a huge array of summer camps, not only for kids, but for families, adults and 55+. Looking just at the kids’ offerings, there is a “Pop, Sizzle, Bang” camp for ages 3-5 in June, “Musical World Camp” for ages 5-7 the following week in June, and “Music, Lyrics and Ukulele” camp in July for ages 6-8. That’s just a small sample; check out for more.
Music Lab on Bloomington Avenue is offering three week-long camps and the two in July are already sold out! (With a waitlist.) Hurry to to get into the August one. Another great music resource is Songs with Sarah Music School on East 48th Street. Founded in 2020, it operates year-round. Registration for this summer’s day camps opened Jan. 30 at
House of Dance is a local company specializing in teaching hip-hop and related dance styles since 2014. They offer a three-day intensive camp in April, June or August. See more at Northern Force Dance Studio has been teaching dance to kids pre-K through Grade 12 in Blaine since 2007. They offer two main summer camps, for ages 4-7 and 8-18, and also one-day “character camps” (this year: Ariel and Barbie camp). See for more. Ballare Teatro on Minnehaha Avenue also offers shorter ballet and tap dance classes (they don’t call it camp, but on the other hand, it’s way more affordable) for five weeks in the summer, covering ages 3-17, divided into four levels. You’ll find details under Summer Programs at

Campers at Classic TaeKwonDo Studios participate in daily
classes to hone their skills.

Sports and fitness, nature and adventure

Classic TaeKwonDo Studios is a “neighborhood gem” in south Minneapolis for kids and families, offering full-day camp programs throughout the summer. Besides participating in daily TaeKwonDo classes, kids spend their time doing crafts, going on field trips to parks, lakes, playgrounds and museums, and have unstructured free time for play as well. Healthy, organic snacks are included. See more at
The National Sports Center in Blaine is hosting soccer camp again this summer. Registration for the waitlist is open at Kokoro Wellness is a volleyball training organization opened in Lake Elmo in 2010. Registration opens in March for their volleyball camps at The Minnesota Twins Baseball Summer Camp is back for 2024. Registration is open now at
The Minnesota Zoo offers a large menu of summer camps, including one co-sponsored by the Minnesota Autism Society. For more info and registration, head to and select Programs & Events at the bottom of the page. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a program of the University of Minnesota, offers summer day camps for ages 5-13. To find out more, start at and select Learn > Classes > For kids from the menu at the top.
Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center in Sandstone, Minnesota, offers day camp sessions from June through August for kids in grades K-3 and 4-7. The sessions are short (a week or less) and focus on a range of topics, including a “Budding Outdoor Explorers Day Camp,” a “Wonderful Wildlife Day Camp,” and a “Farm to Fork Day Camp,” among others. Osprey Wilds also offers an overnight camp for kids in grades 7-9 (see below). Learn more about their camp offerings and available scholarships at

A girls’ drama group activity at Camp Cherith, which offers camp sessions for both girls and boys.

Academics, STEM, and languages

The Bell Museum is another U of M program offering summer camps. Registration for Bell Museum members opens on Feb. 6, and for the public on Feb. 13. Preview offerings (grades K-8) at
Augsburg College is again offering a selection of Speech and Debate Camps this summer. Find more details and register by going to and selecting Summer Camps. These are for middle and high school grades and run through June and July.
The Science Museum of Minnesota again this year has a delightful selection of camps for kids pre-K through Grade 6. They cover topics from bugs to dinosaurs, and from cooking to the history of women in STEM. Registration opens Feb. 13 (Feb. 7 for members). Check out the options at

Kids can focus on fun at Camp Fire Minnesota.

Many activities, one provider

YMCA of the North day camps are all around the state, but nearby locations include Lakeville, Lino Lakes, Rosemount, and Hudson, Wisconsin. To start investigating, go to and select Summer Programs under Programs and Classes. Registration is open now. Camp Fire Minnesota also has numerous day camps at its Camp Tanadoona in Excelsior. To start exploring the offerings go to and click on Camps. (You might want to download the PDF brochure first.) Camp Tanadoona also has overnight camps.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum, Stages Theater, and The Works Museum have partnered to present an intriguing selection of day camps. All camps take place at the museum, while staff from The Works or Stages Theater present the program. Topics include ocean exploring, monsters, storytelling, robots and the ever-popular LEGO engineering. Registration is at
Three Rivers Park District is a quasi-governmental entity that manages parks and public lands in suburban Hennepin County. They have a major educational mission, and camps are part of that. They offer a huge array of camping options at the Baker Outdoor Learning Center in Maple Plain. This includes overnight and day camps for kids and families, including a grandparent camp. Start exploring at and click on Programs & Events.
The Minnesota Jewish Community Center (JCC) has a day camp program called Camp Olami at the Sabes Center on Cedar Lake Road, for kids pre-K through Grade 5. Some weeks are general programming, and some are in specialty areas like climbing (with Vertical Endeavors), farm-to-table, or chess. Go to and select Summer camps to get started.

Happy campers at Camp Chippewa, an overnight camp for boys ages 8-17

Overnight camps

New to this column, though it’s been around for over 70 years, is Camp Cherith, a non-denominational Christian camp located in Frazee, Minnesota (about 50 miles northwest of Brainerd). Camp Cherith began in 1947 as a Pioneer Girls Camp, and only started offering camp for boys in 1985. They now offer separate weeks for boys and girls. Check them out at
Besides their day camp offerings for younger kids (see above), Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center has an overnight camp for kids entering grades 7-9 called “Rocks, Ropes, and Rafts.” Located in Sandstone, Minnesota, the learning center was formerly an Audubon site, and is now an educational resource on many levels. Registration is found at
YMCA Teen Wilderness Camp is offered by YMCA of the North at two locations: Camp Menogyn near Grand Marais, and Camp Widjiwagan near Ely. This is a co-ed survival skills and adventure camp for grades 6-12. YMCA of the North offers other overnight camps as well. Learn all about them at
One Heartland is a provider of overnight camp experiences for kids and families “facing social isolation, intolerance or serious health challenges,“ according to its website. They currently offer several different camp options, including Camp Northstar for kids experiencing homelessness, Camp True Colors for LBGTQ+ youth, and Family Camp True Colors for LBGTQ+ families. All of these are located at their campground in Willow River, Minnesota. Learn more at

Waterskiing is just one of the activities offered at Camp Lake Hubert for girls and Camp Lincoln for boys.

On opposite sides of Lake Hubert, near Brainerd, Minnesota, are the brother-sister camps known as Camp Lincoln for Boys and Camp Lake Hubert for Girls. Now over 110 years old, they are family-run sleep-away camps which focus on building kids’ skills, fostering their emotional growth, and most importantly, having fun! Both camps offer dozens of land, water, adventure, and challenge activities for girls and boys of all ages. Go to for all the details.
Finally, there’s Camp Chippewa in Cass Lake, Minnesota, a camp for boys between the ages of 8-17. Another longstanding camping tradition (since 1935!), Camp Chippewa fosters both physical and emotional growth in a beautiful wilderness setting. Activities include all forms of watersports and wilderness skills, as well as both team and individual sports like archery, soccer, tennis, fencing, climbing, and many more. See their website at for more information.


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