Florida Keys Summer Camps Welcome Kids

A new summer day camp in Key Largo invites youths to make a splash.

The REEF Ocean Explorers Summer Camp, based at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, will be the first youth program launched by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Five-day sessions for kids ages 8 to 14 years will “immerse campers into an ocean of learning and fun,” said Ellie Splain, Reef education program manager. Sessions, each with tuition of $275, run June 15 to 19, July 13 to 17 and Aug. 10 to 14.Activities include snorkeling the Pennekamp reef, stand-up paddleboarding over seagrass beds, kayaking through mangrove creeks and a glass-bottom-boat trip. Crafts and marine-science lessons are part of the “learn, play and explore” days. All fees are included in the tuition. “REEF has excellent adult-education programs but we want to expand it to encompass children as well,” Splain said. For more information, go to www.reef.org/explorers/camp or call (305) 852-0030.

Coral Camp

Registration for Reef Relief’s Coral Camp is now open. It’s for kids ages 6 to 12 to explore and learn about our marine environment through educational activities at the Reef Relief Environmental Center in Key West. Activities include science and art projects, and field trips around Key West. Campers also experience four days of snorkeling.Weekly sessions begin June 8 and go through Aug. 14. Sessions are limited to 25 campers per session. Coral Camp runs weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fees are $215 for one week or $185 per week for multiple weeks.For more information, call (305) 294-3100 or send an e-mail to reefrelief@gmail.com.

St. Columba Episcopal Church

The Hammock House at St. Columba Episcopal Church in Marathon has what it calls free Just for Fun Summer Camp for children age 5 or older.Two sessions are scheduled, July 6 to 10 and July 13 to 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Activities include games, crafts, movies, and field trips to the beach, Turtle Hospital and animal shelter. Preregistration is required because space is limited. Call (305) 743-6412. The Hammock House also will have a free drama and music camp July 20 to 24 from 9 a.m. to 3.m. each day for children age 5 or older. Activities include games, set and costume design, music and drama lessons, dance instruction and more. Pre-registration is required. Call the number above.

City of Marathon

The Marathon Parks and Recreation Department starts its 11-week summer camp on June 8. It runs through Aug. 21 for kids ages 5 to 13. Camp headquarters is the Community Park main pavilion; hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Cost is $80 per week, which includes field trips; family discounts apply for more than one camper per family.Campers are responsible for bringing their own lunches, snacks (morning and afternoon), backpack and water bottle. Once a week, campers will travel by bus to the Jacobs Aquatic Center in Key Largo. At least one other out-of-town field trip is planned each week, including to the Key West Shipwreck Museum, Key West Aquarium, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Dolphin Research Center, Boondocks putt-putt golf and the History of Diving Museum.Registration forms can be downloaded from the city’s website, www.ci.marathon.fl.us. Or call (305) 743-6598 for more information.The city is also is planning a summer soccer program for kids ages 4 to 10. It’s from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Community Park. Cost is $40. Call the above number for specifics or send an e-mail to adamsa@ci.marathon.fl.us.

Pigeon Key

The Pigeon Key Foundation has four sessions of marine-related summer camp: June 29 to July 3, July 6 to 10, July 27 to 31 and Aug. 3 to 7. It’s for kids ages 8 to 16 (10 to 16 for overnight sessions). Activities include snorkeling, fish identification, fishing, dissections and an optional scuba certification for kids 12 and older. Cost starts at $350. Call (305) 743-5999.

Source: Florida Keys News

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