Parents, Stop Freaking Out! These 8 Super Awesome Summer Camps Still Have Openings

Dig for dinosaur bones, build robots, and learn how to become the next James Bond.

Photo by the International Spy Museum

Did you forget to register your kid for summer camp? If so, you’re probably having a major meltdown as you wonder how you’re going to keep them involved and out of the house. Calm down. Pour yourself a Pinot. Though registration for many summer camps began back in January (mark your 2018 calendar now!), and the popular ones fill up quickly, there are some fantastic options spanning age and interest available – if you move quickly.

Leapers Creepers at Smithsonian National Zoo

Address: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW

Date/Time: June 26-30 from 9 AM-3 PM

Cost: $400 for members, $500 for non-members

After/Before Care: 8-8:45 AM for $100 per week; 3-6 PM for $175 per week

Grades: 2 and 3

Description: Learn about creatures scaly and squirmy – from frogs and toads to snakes and lizards. Includes a Summer Safari Day Camp baseball cap and water bottle, daily snack and carousel ride.

Register online. 


Art Camp at the Art League

Address: 105 N Union St., Alexandria.

Date/Time: Every week starting June 19 through August 18; choose half days from 9:30 AM -12 PM or 1-3:30 PM, or go full days from 9:30 AM-3:30 PM

Cost: $155 a week for half days; $345 a week for full days.

After/Before Care: During the sessions the weeks of July 17-21, July 31-August 4, after care is available from 4-6 PM for $125 per week.

Ages: 5-7 and 8-11

Description: Budding artists will try their hand at drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, cartooning, sculpture and more. Make sure to reserve space on your mantle and fridge to display their efforts.

Register online.


Spy Camp at the International Spy Museum

Address: 800 F St., NW

Date/Time: July 24-28 9 AM-3 PM, July 31-August 4 9 AM-3 PM

Cost: $415 members; $445 non-members per session

After/Before Care: No

Ages: 10-13

Description: Your kid will learn to be the next James Bond through workshops on crafting disguises, breaking codes, creating spy gadgetry and evading capture. Pray they use these new skills only for good, not for outwitting you.

Register online.


Summer Acting Camp for Kids at the Theatre Lab

Address: 733 8th St., NW

Date/Time: June 26-July 7 (Shakespeare); July 10-21 (African Folktale); July 24-August 4 (Gypsy Fireside Stories); August 7-18 (Hawaiian Adventure); all 9 AM-3 PM

Cost: $690 per two-week session

After/Before Care: 8-9 AM for $45 per week; 3-6 PM for $120 per week.

Grades: 3-5

Description: Little ones beckoned by the call of the stage will learn how to develop a character and how inhabit it in both scripted roles and through improv. Camp culminates with a performance, which parents and their camera phones are encouraged to attend.

Register online.


Casa (Creative Arts Summer Adventure) at Sheridan School

Address: 4400 36th St., NW

Date/Time: June 26-July 7, July 10-21, July 24-August 4, August 7-18 from 8:30 AM-3:30 PM.

Cost: $900 per two-week session, except the June 26-July 7 session, which is $720.

After/Before Care: 7:30-8:30 AM for $60 per week; 3:30-6 PM for $150 per week.

Ages: 3-5

Description: Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, children are exposed to a variety of activities – from ceramics and painting to gardening and swimming. When they come home and tell you about their day, try not to get depressed with how little you did in comparison.

Register online.


Dinosaur Day Camp at Hidden Oaks Nature Center

Address: 7701 Royce St., Annandale.

Date/Time: June 26-30 from 1:30-4:30 PM

Cost: $195 for in-county residents; $210 for out of county residents

After/Before Care: No

Ages: 4-6

Description: Junior paleontologists get their hands dirty digging for fossils, plus they learn cool dino facts, create crafts and play games.

Register online.


Camp Grow at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Address: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna.

Date/Time: July 24-28 from 9 AM-4 PM

Cost: $320 for residents of NOVA Parks jurisdictions (cities of Fairfax, Alexandria, Falls Church, and counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington) and $370 for nonresidents.

After/Before Care: No

Grades: 4-6

Description: No day is the same. Kids do everything – arts, crafts, music, yoga, paddle boarding, hiking and nature exploration – as well as go on two field trips.

Register online.


Robot Mechanic at Club SkiKidz/Tech Scientific

Address: Feynman School, 6300 Tilden Lane, Rockville.

Date/Time: July 24-28 from 9 AM-3:30 PM

Cost: $349

After/Before Care: 8- AM for $30 per week; 3:30-5:30 PM for $50 per week.

Ages: 9-12

Description: Your child will build a solar powered robot and a robotic arm, which they just might program to do their chores around the house.

Register online.

Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of eight books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their six-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.