Spring Break

Parents and kids have plenty of choices for spring break camps

 

More spring break camps

City of Coral Gables: coralgables.com.

City of Miami Beach: miamibeachparks.com.

Miami-Dade "Fit2Play" camps: miamidade.gov/parks.

Miami Science Museum’s Marine Mania: miamisci.org.

Miami Theater Center camp: mtcmiami.org.


mherrera@MiamiHerald.com

Camp can be the highlight of the year for kids. But they don’t have to wait until the summer to get the fun to begin.

This year many places are running themed camps to make spring break more exciting for kids. From the Miami Children’s Museum’s exploration of the 50 states, to North Miami’s tennis camps, there is a camp to match every kid’s interests.

Here are a few examples.

Museum experience

The Beaux Arts Children’s Pavilion at the Lowe Art Museum will run an arts camp for children ages 5-12.

The kids will work with different media of art, from painting and drawing to papier mache and ceramics.

“It’s a constant moving machine,” Ebbert said. “You do three different projects a day. If a kid is bored of one project they can move onto the next. There’s kind of something for every child.”

The campers will walk through the museum, examining different works and learning about how they were made so that the art is no longer “just a painting on the wall,” she said.

“A lot of kids aren’t exposed to art a lot because of funding, and this is a way for them to kind of get that back,” she said. “It’s just another piece to get them a little more well-rounded.”

Another draw of the camp is also the instructors, who are all Miami-Dade art teachers, Ebbert said.

“We have some amazing teacher. They make it come alive and the kids love it,” she said.

One new project the students have begun working on is using recycled materials for projects. One teacher visits a recycling centers and picks out interesting pieces, which she brings back for the kids to use.

“It’s a way to teach them that they can reuse and recycle, and that something that is trash can be made into something that is beautiful and art,” Ebbert said.

Beaux Arts is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1952, and is committed to promoting art throughout Miami. It has been running camps for children for over two decades, Ebbert said.

The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25 to March 29 at the Lowe Art Museum located at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. Registration costs $220. Visit beauxartsmiami.org for more information.

Road trip across the 50 states

The Miami Children’s Museum is taking a trip across America this spring break. The camp focus on the museum’s new Weebles Coast to Coast exhibit, using it to explore the 50 states with the kids. The exhibit focuses on states, their major cities and important information about each, such as Chicago being the birthplace of pop art.

“The campers will go on little mini adventures,” sales manager Yanet Fernandez-Gonclaves said. “It’s all very interactive. So when they walk away from it they can say, ‘Oh I really liked Georgia, because that’s where they grow the peaches.’ ”

The focus of the camp is part of a push at the museum to have more culturally-focused activities, Fernandez-Gonclaves said. The museum usually focuses on general topics such as spring for their camps.

“The best part about the theme is that the kids learn about the richness of America,” she said.

The camp incorporate what the campers have learned through arts and crafts, learning American songs and cooking demonstrations.

“Kids learn through play, so they’re going to actually learn it because they’re having fun,” she said.

The camp is grades Pre-K to fifth grade. It will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 25 to 29. It costs $195 for members and $220 for non-members. For more information on the camp, visit miamichildrensmuseum.com.

Wild safaris

Zoo Miami’s Zoofari camp will teach kids about animals through themed days ranging from monkeys and apes to animals with wings.

“If they love animals, they’ll have the best time ever,” camp manager Maria “Gucci” Sarno said. “If they don’t have a lot of experience around animals, it’s a great opportunity to see, learn, observe and interact with some of the animals.”

Campers will get a chance to interact with some of the smaller animals first hand. In the past, kids have been able to play with animals such as snakes, lizards and armadillos. For larger animals, such as bears and apes, the kids will meet with keepers to learn more about the animals and may even get to watch a feeding.

Campers also may get a chance to work with the enrichment department making treats and activities for the animals, Sarno said

The groups often make treat boxes for the animals such as the wild cats and bears, such as boxes filled with spices to keep them stimulated.

“It’s an excellent learning tool,” Sarno said. “The children learn the normal and natural behaviors.”

One day of the camp will focus on protecting nature, but Sarno says a big focus of the camp is about the importance of protecting animals.

For instance, when learning about bears, the older students are taught “about adaptation, what helps the bears to survive in the wild, what the threats are, ecological role, why they’re important there,” Sarno said.

She sees the camp as an important life education on nature and the importance of conservation.

“It’s a whole set of experiences that will hopefully allow them to grow up with an appreciation,” Sarno said. “They will be respectful and contribute to what is good for nature, what is good for animals and for us in return. We need nature to be healthy. We live here too.”

The Zoofari camp is for children ages 4-10. It is located at 12400 SW 152 St. in South Miami-Dade. It costs $170 for members and $190 for non-members. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 25 through March 29. Visit miamimetrozoo.com for more information.

Tennis time

North Miami is running two tennis camps this spring break for kids looking to get active. The camps focus on teaching kids to play tennis, giving them both one-on-one lessons and group lessons throughout the day.

According to recreational supervisor Khalid Salahuddin, the coaches work with the kids to make the sport enjoyable.

“The coaching and the exercise that they put them through does not make it a chore, it makes it fun,” Salahuddin said.

The coaches work with kids to make the drills fun, running them against each other for friendly competition. The kids also take one day for a field trip and sometimes go swimming as a break from the all-day tennis routine.

Salahuddin said the coaches will work with parents with financial difficulties who want their kids to attend the camp.

“They don’t want to turn kids away,” he said. “They know how important it is to get kids doing something outdoors … and some physical activity. You never know, it could be the same tennis pro.”

Many campers are second-generation attendees, whose parents went to the camp when they were kids.

They enjoy the coaches and the atmosphere they’re in,” Salahuddin said.

Many campers who have outgrown the age limit keep coming back for more.

“They get kids who want to come back and volunteer,” he said. “It’s a great thing. ...They want to be role models. That’s a big thing.”

Johnson Multicultural Tennis Camp at Pepper Park begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. It costs $75 for the week. It is located at 1355 NW 135th St., North Miami.

The Penny Sugarman Sans Souci Tennis Center camp begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. It costs $165 for the week. It is located at 1795 San Souci Blvd., North Miami.

Both camps run from March 25 to March 29. The camps are for children ages 4-16. Visit northmiamifl.gov for more information.

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