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I know school’s still in session, but it’s actually summer camp sign-up season. If you want a week or two of fun activities, now’s the time to fill out the forms and reserve your spot. In the FresYes area, there four camps that offer a variety of choices for all ages and price ranges.
1. Zoo Camp Adventures
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo keeps getting better and better, and nothing’s wilder than a summer vacation spent with lions! For those ages 3 to 17, there’s a summer adventure waiting at the zoo.
Cubby Camp is for the preschool set and each session offers a different theme, from animal conservation to animal relationships. The first Cubby Camp begins on June 11 and runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This camp includes a snack and a craft, and always an exciting animal visit. Although this camp starts at three, you need to be potty trained to attend. (I wrote that last sentence for all the three year olds who can read, but haven’t figured out toilets yet.) Cubby Camp is $125 for zoo members and $135 per day for non-members.
Adventure Camp is the zoo’s offering for ages 5-11. This is an all-day camp that starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. You’ll need to pack a lunch but morning and afternoon snacks are provided. My child has gone to this camp, and he enjoyed running around the zoo. He came home every day with a lot of information about animals, so prepare to hear a 45-minute lecture on beetles (or something) if you sign your kid up for this. Crafts and activities are a big part of this camp, and animals are the star. Cost is $215/day for members, $230/day for non-members.
The final zoo camp offering is Young Naturalist camp. For ages 12 to 17, this camp gives kids a behind-the-scenes look at how the zoo works, and a taste of the zoo keeper life. There are two options this summer: a marine biology-themed week that cumulates with a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a Junior Zoo Keeper week where kids can help the zoo keepers feed the animals and more. When my son asked one of the Chaffee zoo keepers how to get started in a career in zoo keeping, she suggested this camp. Many of the current zoo keepers at the zoo got their start here. Cost for the marine biology camp is $275 for members, $295 for non-members. Cost for the junior zoo keeper camp is $260 for members, $275 for non-members.
2. Discovery Center Summer Camps
If your kid can’t get enough of STEM learning, a Discovery Center summer camp might be for them. Starting on June 25, the center will be offering summer camps with themes ranging from space to the science of slime. These camps last one week each (M-F) and go from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. The cost starts at $200 for members. To find out more, or to register for a camp, click here.
3. Fresno Parks and Recreation Camps
If you’re looking for an affordable way to give your kid a camp experience, head to a City of Fresno summer camp. These camps range from Princess Camp to Skate Camp and help kids enjoy their local parks.
Last year, I signed my kids up for BMX Camp. This was their favorite camp ever—they spent the whole week riding their bikes around Woodward Park. But if dirt and biking isn’t your style, you could sign your kid up for Cartoon Camp or even Adventure Camp. Ages for the camps range from 5 to adult. You can sign up for camp here, but hurry because they sell out fast. Prices, times, and locations vary but the cost is low for a week of fun, starting at $65 for the week (and it includes a PARC pass for admission and parking). For more information, you can call (559) 621-PLAY (7529).
4. San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation River Camp
It’s no secret that the summer gets a bit warm here in FresYes. Luckily we have a river running alongside our town. Cool off at River Camp this year.
Young Explorers can get started at this camp early. It’s open to kids 3-and-a-half years to 5 years old (must be potty trained) and camps begin June 12. Camp takes place at the San Joaquin River Center (11605 Friant Rd) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Campers will get to explore the Hidden Homes Trail, and experience water play each day. This is a super popular camp, so it will probably be full by May. You can register here.
For kids from 1st to 8th grade, River Camp Scout Island is a great way to explore the San Joaquin River. Campers meet at the River Center at 8:15 a.m. and take a bus to Scout Island. They swim, canoe, and craft all day long. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided, but kids need to bring a lunch. This camp has a high camper return rate so it’s a great way to make friends. To register, or for more information, click here.
There’s no need to leave town to have a blast this summer—Fresno is chock-full of exciting experiences. Did you know there was so much adventure to be had? Have you (or your kids) attended a local summer camp? Drop your experience and tips in the comments! And whatever you do this summer, don’t forget your sunscreen!