Fun and Educational Summer Camps at 14 San Diego Museums

Written by Danielle Susalla Deery on Monday, May 25, 2015 - Read 4790 times
Fun and Educational Summer Camps at 14 San Diego Museums

Museum Summer Camps provide a wonderful opportunity for kids looking to learn something new or to deepen their appreciation for and understanding of art, science, nature, history and more. If you are looking for the best age-appropriate summer camp for your little one then read below to learn more about what San Diego museums have to offer. From science and nature camps to art and discovery camps, these engaging programs will spark your child's imagination.

With 14 different San Diego museums offering summer camp in 2015 it may be challenging to decide which camp to select. The camps are listed according to geographic region from the earliest to the latest dates: Balboa Park; Downtown San Diego; South County; La Jolla; North County.

BALBOA PARK (downtown San Diego)

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Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Science Camps
Pre K-8th grade; June 15-August 21 /summer-camps
The Fleet offers weekly, half-day and full-day summer camps that are educational and hands-on. Each camp incorporates the Fleet's exhibitions allowing kids to explore the museum. Camp themes include: Bubbles, Boats and Beyond; Space Explorer; Gross & Gooey Science; Body Basics; Art-ology; Pirate Camp; Young Engineers; Weird & Wacky Science; Women Scientists in Action; Robotics Garage; Zombie Camp; and Computer Programming Camp, among others.

San Diego Automotive Museum
Car Culture Camps
4th-6th grade; June 15-19 and July 13-17
Kids will learn about car culture, design and engineering in this fun museum camp. Create your own car designs and run your own models. Explore alternative automotive technologies past, present and future.

Model Railroad Museum
Engineer Camp
Kinder-8th grade; June 16-August 14
Campers will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum, create take-home train theme projects, and learn all about model railroading and California's railroads. Kids will really enjoy the principles behind how trains work in this fun and education week-long camp, they even get to go on a mini train ride!

The nat summer camp

San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT)
Nature and Science Camps
Pre K-8th grade; June 22-August 14
Kids will love discovering dinosaurs and exploring nature's wonders at one of theNAT's camps this summer. Themes include: Digging into dinosaurs, Creep, Crawl and Flutterby; Fossil Finders; Remarkable Reptiles; Animal Mysteries; Kaleidoscope: Art & Science; Hidden Worlds: The Maya; and Exhibit Makers, among others. Summer camps at theNAT will inspire and encourage children to have fun while learning about nature and science. Half-day camps for pre-K and kindergarten, and full-day camps for first through eighth grades.

air and space

San Diego Air & Space Museum
Aerosummer Camps
1st-12th grade; July 13-August 14
In these half-day, week-long summer programs kids will learn about air and space history and science through hands-on activities such as designing and building model airplanes, launching model rockets, and flying simulators.


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The New Children's Museum
Art & Creativity Camps
Ages 4-15; June 15-August 28
Campers will experience hands-on art making activities, creative games and playtime in the park with the opportunity for children to think, play and create in the Museum's galleries. Whether your child is cooking up a tasty treat or learning how to dance, sculpt or paint, they're sure to have an engaging experience at The New Children's Museum.


Living Coast Discovery Center, Chula Vista
Nature Day Camps
Ages 4-18; June 8-July 17
Kids and teens will enjoy hands-on nature fun and discovery with up-close animal encounters, nature hikes, scientific and career exploration, arts/crafts, games and outdoor fun on San Diego Bay and the National Wildlife Refuge. Meet endangered sea turtles, sharks, rays, reptiles, invertebrates, hawks, owls and more. Perfect for animal lovers!


students at the birch

Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Summer Learning Adventure Camp
Ages 4-15; June 22-August 21
From the classroom to the seashore, kids become scientific explorers in this fun hands-on camp. Campers investigate marine habitats, create ocean art projects, learn about careers in oceanography, and combine the science and sports of surfing and snorkeling, all while making new friends and memories.

La Jolla Young Architects Camp

La Jolla Historical Society
Photography and Architecture Camps
6th-12th grade; July 6-31
If your child is constantly snapping photos with their phone they might enjoy using a DSLR camera to capture the world around them in the Street Photography or Citizen Journalism Camp. Campers will even get their own exhibition at the Outside the Lens Gallery space. In the Young Architects Camp kids will learn about the principles of architecture through guided tours, hands-on drawing, modeling and computer workshops taught by practicing architects.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla
Contemporary Art, Media & Process Camp
Ages 5-15; August 3-28
C.A.M.P. (Contemporary Art, Media & Process) invites kids to explore contemporary art through a series of week-long half-day or full-day art-making workshops led by local contemporary artists. Kids discover out-of-the-ordinary materials and learn about artists' processes as they discuss artwork in the Museum's galleries. Camper's artwork will be celebrated with a showcase exhibition.


Children's Discovery Museum, Escondido
Discovery Summer Camp
Ages 5-8; June 22-August 14
Explore, imagine, and experiment through hands-on science, art, and world culture activities in this Discovery Camp. This week-long day-camp offers themes such as Getting Cultured, Earth Defenders, Water Wonders, Garden Friends, Archeology and Art.

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Lux Art Institute, Encinitas
Art Camp
1st-11th grade ; July 6-August 14
In this week long half-day camp students will engage with a variety of art media including drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, printmaking, collage and photography. The end of the summer will culminate with an art show featuring student work.

San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas
Nature, Gardening, Photography, Art and American Indian Camps
Grades 6-8; July 13-31
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Spend the summer outdoors in this week-long half-day summer camp. Each week of the Nature Camp is based upon five different garden themes and led by trained staff members. In the Organic Gardening Camp students learn how to plant their own gardens including composting and worm cultivation. Campers can explore photography in the Youth Photography Camp where they get to shoot in the Garden each day or they can create artworks inspired by their outdoor adventures in the Art in the Garden Camp. In the American Indian Camp students will learn about the fascinating culture and history of Native Americans, focusing on local tribes such as the Kumeyaay.

Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA)
Art Camp
Ages 7-12; only 1 week left July 14-17
OMA's Summer ArtQuest program uses current and past exhibits to teach kids about the elements and principles of art in this week-long half-day camp. Kids get to use a variety of art mediums as well as explore music, theater and movement as it relates to art.

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California Center for the Arts Escondido
Summer Arts Academies
Ages 6-18; June 29-July 24
The Center is hosting summer arts academies that will engage and inspire your child’s imagination and creativity. For the younger kids they have an Education Through Music Day Camp where kids get to immerse themselves in music, art, storytelling and play. Older kids have the opportunity to register for The Acting Academy, Video Production Academy or Musical Theater Academy.

Danielle Susalla Deery

Danielle Susalla Deery is an Independent Curator, Adjunct Art History Professor, San Diego museum aficionado, mother and former Director of Exhibits and Communications at Oceanside Museum of Art.

You can reach Danielle at