Photography: Brad Edwards.
Photography: Brad Edwards.
Still looking to book a summer camp? Want to find fun summer events that are cheap or free? Look no further – we’ve got you covered.

Aikido Kids Camp

Ages: 5 to 15
Where: Aikido Florida Aikikai in the Holiday Park Activity Center (at the park’s Parker Playhouse entrance)
More information:
Florida Aikikai, which also offers kids’ and adult classes year-round in the Japanese martial art of aikido, offers an action-packed and cultural summer camp. In addition to various martial arts lessons, kids get cultural with Japanese class and even some anime to relax.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts Summer Theater Camp

Ages: 7-18
Where: The Broward Center
More information:
The Broward Center partners with The Performance Project School of the Arts for an immersive experience that teaches every part of live theater. And at the end of every session, campers perform in the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater. Campers are divided into four different age groups.

American Heritage Summer Programs

Ages: Vary
Where: American Heritage Plantation campus (Palm Beach camps also happen at the school’s Boca/Delray campus.)
More information:
In addition to a general-interest day camp that includes all sorts of art, games, field trips and other camp fun, American Heritage offers a number of specialty camps. Specialty camps include focus on art, science, theater, robotics and video production. Sports camps include tennis, soccer, lacrosse, softball and baseball.
Ages vary based on camp. Broadly elementary and middle school.

Camp Discovery

Ages: 6-12
Where: Museum of Science and Discovery
More information:
MODS is a great place for kids year-round, but it really steps up in the summer with a different camp theme every week. Themes include “Superpower Dogs,” “To the Moon and Back,” “Expedition Florida” and even “Hogwarts Summer School.” For older kids, there’s “Ocean Explorers Camp,” which splits time between MODS and Florida Atlantic University’s SeaTech Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering in Dania Beach.

Camp Live Oak

The local classic returns. Live Oak utilizes two of the area’s best parks – Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and Dr. Von D. Mizell‑Eula Johnson State Park – for a camp experience that gets kids out into nature and gives them traditional summer camp fun and plenty of opportunities for learning. Camp Live Oak also offers a number of more specialized camps, including:

Teen Eco Experience
Ages: 14-16
Where: Birch State Park and Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
Teenagers split time between volunteering with younger campers (for which they can earn all-important school service hours) and going on a series of field trips that, depending on the week, could include first aid and CPR training, escape game team-building or even shark tagging.

Lil’ Sprouts
Ages: 3-4
Where: Birch State Park
Introduce toddlers to summer camp fun with easy half-day sessions for a kid and parent. Arts and crafts, canoeing, games – all the fun of summer camp in an easy dose that will make getting dropped off in a year or two a little less scary.

Science of the Sea Summer Camp
Ages: 5-13
Where: Dr Von D. Mizell‑Eula Johnson State Park
From marine science experience to ocean-themed arts and crafts to expert guest speakers, this one’s all about the ocean. Kids will try activities such as snorkeling, fishing and crab-trapping – as well as traditional summer camp games and fun.

Scuba Diving Camp
Ages: 8-16
Where: Birch (Bubble Makers) and Bahia Mar (PADI)
Kids can learn the basics or, if they’re ready, get certified through this pair of classes, beginner-level Bubble Makers and more advanced PADI Basic Open Water Certification. Ages grouped 8 to 13, 10 to 16.

Coach Marty’s All‑Star Camps

Ages: Vary
Where: Cardinal Gibbons High School
More information:
Marty Seidlin retired last year as Cardinal Gibbons boys’ basketball coach, but his popular sports summer camp is still going strong at the school. Options at Gibbons include an all-sports camp for younger campers as well as specialized camps for basketball, volleyball, baseball and soccer.
Ages vary based on camp; broadly grades K through 8.

Hang Loose Surf School Summer Camp

Ages: All
Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach at A1A and NE 18th Street, one block south of the Pelican Beach Resort.
More information:
Surfer, surfing coach and BC Surf and Sport manager Dutch Schorn leads a learn-to-surf camp that also teaches kids other ocean experiences such as stand-up paddling or snorkeling, ocean science and the environment, and water safety.

Nova Southeastern University Summer Exploration Camp

Ages: 2-5
Where: NSU’s Mailman Segal Center for Human Development
More information:
This unique camp is aimed specifically at toddlers and younger children. There’s art, varied playgrounds, play- and exploration-based classroom experiences and an interactive water-play fountain. For kids entering kindergarten, there’s a special program combining summer camp fun with literacy-based activities.

St Mark’s Episcopal School Summer Camps

Ages: Vary
Where: St Mark’s Episcopal School, 1750 E Oakland Park Blvd.
More information:
St Mark’s offers a broad array of summer camps, from a general day camp to specialty camps in everything from art to sports to musical theater to engineering. Oh, and don’t forget their special “Hobby Quest” camp weeks – one each for fashion, aviation and magic.

Penny Lane Emporium Kids Band Camp

Ages: 5-17
Where: Penny Lane Emporium, 3038 N Federal Hwy., Suite M
More information:
Penny Lane Emporium’s one of the coolest spots in town. It’s a music shop with every kind of stringed instrument lining the walls, occasional live events and year-round music lessons on all sorts of instruments. And in the summer, it also runs a camp where kids get to form real bands, learn to play together and put on a show. Kids are split into two age groups.

Other Events

Summer camps are great, but they’re not all that’s happening over the summer. Plenty of other great events and programs for kids, grownups and both are going down all over town.

Summer Savings Pass
Where: Various
More information: Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Zoo Miami and Miami Seaquarium
One of the best deals of the summer, this one ticket gets you unlimited entry to four of South Florida’s most popular family attractions from mid-May through the end of September.

Florida Panthers Learn to Play
Where: Various
More information:
The Panthers popular six-week Learn to Play hockey programs happen at various times throughout the year at rinks across South Florida. However this May and June, they’re doing something new – a Learn to Play that’s just for girls. The six-week Saturday program starts on May 18. For $175, participating girls get skates and full hockey equipment as well as six lessons in skating and hockey skills.

Tigertail Lake Recreation Center
580 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach
More information:
It’s not a big lake, but it packs in lots of activities. Run by Broward College but open to the community, this is the place to go for everything from watersports to scuba training to sailing to ropes courses.

2-for-1 Summer Offers
Where: Various
More information:
The fine folks at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau launch their 2-for-1 program every May. Check in frequently; it can involve anything from restaurants to staycations to, well, anything that happens in Fort Lauderdale.

Broward Libraries Summer Learning Program
Where: All Broward libraries
More information:
Broward libraries offer all kinds of fun learning for kids – and grownups, for that matter – during the summer. Some are in partnership with the Florida Panthers through their Summer Reading Tour. The reading tour happens throughout the summer at libraries across the county – a full schedule is online. And with that and other learning program activities, kids can register online or in a library to win prizes by reading, learning and attending library events.

Starlight Musicals
Where: Holiday Park football fields
More information:
On Friday nights in the summer, Holiday Park is the place to be. For more than four decades, Starlight Musicals has been a popular free concert series. From early June to early August, bands ranging from classic rock to R&B to Jimmy Buffett covers take the stage amid a party atmosphere as concert goers bring blankets, folding chairs and sometimes, enough tailgating gear for the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot.


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