Roasted marshmallows and ghost stories aren’t the only things offered at summer camps these days. Whether your child wants to cowboy up, star in a movie, or get a behind the scenes look at top secret government agencies, these unique camps offer it all.
This weeklong camp invites “metal heads” ages 12 to 18 to participate in one-on-one and group classes for guitar, bass, drums , keys and vocals. The camp culminates in “The Big Show,” where kids perform what they’ve learned and show off their heavy metal prowess to friends and parents.
Location: Catskill Mountains in Wurtsboro, N.Y.
“Ride ‘em cowboy” is the first phrase taught to teens attending this four-week ranch and wilderness program at Elk Creek Ranch in Sunlight Valley, Wyo. Teens learn camping, backpacking and survival skills alongside classes in horsemanship and ranch management. From building barns to hiking in nearby Yellowstone National Park, this camp has it all for the young outdoor adventurer.
Cost: $4,350 per four-week session or $7,300 for the whole summer.
Location: Sunlight Valley, Shoshone National Forest -- 40 miles northwest of Cody, Wyo.
Since 1922, Camp Herrlich’s sprawling 156 acre campus has offered campers ages 5 to 14 a twist on the traditional camping experience. From a five-mile midnight hike lit only by glowsticks, to the naval battles renacted on ships at the camp’s lake, this camp offers a little more excitement than just sitting around the campfire.
Cost: $550.00 per two week session
Location: Hudson Valley in Patterson, N.Y.
From classes on engineering the human body, to blacksmithing and mobile robotics, this camp is the perfect choice for project-oriented kids who like to get hands on.
Cost: $795 for residential campers $450 commuter
Location: Campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich.
“The world of national security and the intelligence community is not just for those with a top secret clearance,” says Gerson Moreno-Riano, dean of undergraduate studies at Virginia Beach’s Regent University. At the weeklong day camp, kids grades 9-12 have access to labs developing anti-terrorist technology, and get to take a look at Langley Air Force Base’s latest fighter aircrafts.
Location: Regent University, Virginia Beach, Va
At the Bach to Rock day camp, students of all ages have a chance to play out their musical fantasy of joining the cast of Glee, recording a studio demo or become a DJ.
The week culminates in a performance for parents and friends, and older kids are given an opportunity to edit their own musical work using Digidesign.
Cost: $429 per week
Location: Six locations in Maryland and Virginia
Enrollment at this weeklong camp on the Western Illinois University campus is limited to 24 students in grades 9-12 to ensure one-on-one instruction in film editing, script writing, acting and camera work.
“One year, they blew up my car,” says program director Helena Lira. “Of course the car was fine. It was just the editing process that allowed them to add in the explosion.”
Location: Macomb, IL
From petting live animals to having one-on-one classes with animal keepers and trainers, the Summer Safari gives animal loving kids a firsthand look at what it takes to be a friend to the animal kingdom. The weeklong day camp is open to kids aged 4 to 12.
Location: The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Va.
Arts and crafts? Yawn. Playground time? Dull. Editing your own film or hiking up a mountain at midnight? Now we’re talking. We found eight summer camps across the country that offer one-of-a-kind experiences for kids of all ages.