Whether your kids are more geeked on building slip 'n slides, toasting s'mores or learning how sunscreen works, there's a summer program fit for them somewhere in Durango. From weeklong camps to afternoon lessons, checkout the list below for some awesome options that'll leave you feeling good about their safety and well-being, and them totally stoked on face paint, bike skills or drum beats.
Artsy-Fartsy: Music, Visual & Performing Arts
Durango Arts Center: Melted crayon painting, sculpturing, perspective drawing, mud making, clay jewelry crafting … the young artist in your family will be beside themselves with joy for the creative genius potential offered through the DAC summer visual arts programs. Meanwhile, budding Shakespeare's or animated entertainers will find an outlet in the DAC's selection of performing arts options. Ages 6 to 12 welcome, depending on class. Prices vary from $150 to $325, including a $20 materials fee. Check the website for availability, dates, cost and more. 802 East 2nd Ave. 970.259.2606.
Seed Studio: Art, yoga, nature and inspiration await for the curious little seedling in your family. Morning, afternoon or full day camp options abound for mixed ages 6 to 12. Smiley Building, 1309 East Third Avenue. Call 970.335.9747 or email email@example.com for more information.
Stillwater Music: If your kid has rhythm*, Stillwater Music is the place to be. Ages 6 to 18 and all experience levels will find quality instruction from professional, real-world musicians who instill a love for playing music, having fun and building the confidence to perform live. Community classes are also offered, should adults want to learn alongside the next Mozart or Jimi Hendrix. To name a few, TV & Film Recording Camp launches July 17th, while a mixed-ability dance and music workshop invites kids with or without disabilities to get their groove on in August. Prices vary from private half hour lessons for $25 to $205 for weeklong camps. Call 970.769.0171 or check the website for updated info.
*if he or she can't hold a beat to save their life, well, bless their heart; I hear there are cartoon classes at the DAC.
Nerd Central: Robotics, Harry Potter & Tadpoles
Durango Nature Studies: Nothing says summer like catching crawdads in the creek, and grade school kids are guaranteed to get their kicks during one of DNS' summer program extravaganzas. DNS kicks off their Session 4 weeklong series on July 24th, while Session 5 starts August 7th for kids entering 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th grade. Cost is $200, plus $25 for transportation, if needed. Scholarships available. Check availability on the chart or call 970.769.1800 to be added to the wait list.
Powerhouse Science Center: Rockets, robots, magic potions and more fill the minds of young scientists as they explore and discover super cool things at the Powerhouse during one of many hands-on science camps offered through August 21. All courses are taught by qualified, enthusiastic teachers, and ages 3 to 15 are welcome. Fees: $150 to $250. Harry Potter Camp? You betcha!
Durango Academic Coaching Center: Keep their brains sharp and ready for the next school year with math reboot courses, art classes and ACT/SAT Prep courses at the DACC. On Tuesday's and Thursday's from August 2 to 11, students can choose between one-on-one or group ACT/SAT Prep courses that include a tutor and supplemental online test prep systems guaranteed* to increase your kid's ACT score by three points or their SAT test score by 150 points. Courses cost $365 or $680. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970.779.8480 for more info. 3750 North Main Suite 5.
*so long as students take all practice tests, meet once a week with their tutor at DACC and complete the 50 hours of work online.
Postcard Hopefuls: Campfires & Memories to Last a Lifetime
If you've always wanted your kid to send you a postcard, weeklong summer camps give them absolutely no excuse. From expedition-style backpacking trips to conservation service projects, whimsical Quidditch matches to traditional ropes course challenges, kids experience endless opportunities to grow physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally at any of these summer camp programs. Just don't forget to pack extra candy for them to share with bunkmates!
Colvig Silver Camps: This family-owned coed summer camp is perfect for boys and girls looking to up their adventure skills in the great outdoors. With a 3:1 camper-to-staff ratio, Colvig inspires kids to develop connections in a non-competitive and choice-based environment. Next terms launch July 14th, and costs vary between $2600 and $5640, depending on age. Scholarships available. Located in the Red Creek Valley 10 miles from Durango. 970.247.2564.
Cross Bar X Youth Ranch: The classic summer camp experience awaits at this 150-acre facility located 12 miles southeast Durango since 1977. Space available for the next sessions starting July 14th and August 7th. Two- and three-night backpacking trips into the San Juan Mountains offered for $500 for girls and boys, separately. Scholarships available. Check the website for more info.
Deer Hill Expeditions: This Mancos-based camp offers guided wilderness adventures and cultural exchange community service experiences for young people in the American Southwest and Costa Rica. Backpacking, rock climbing, river rafting, canoeing, building bread ovens in Native American pueblos and the opportunity to earn 50 hours of community service hours included. Ages 16 to 18 are welcome to sign up for the July 13th departure. 21-day trip for $4600. Call 970.533.7492 or email email@example.com for more information.
Adventure for a Day: For the Parent Who Just Can't Let Go...Yet
DEVO Purgatory Mountain Bike Camps: Starting July 17th, kids 7 to 12 years old are invited to partake in their choice of weeklong mountain bike camps at Purgatory with a 5:1 student-to-coach ratio. Skill sessions, trail rides, trail building, bike maintenance seminars and special guests appearances keep young ones on their toes. Cost is $350. Scholarships available. Participants must provide their own bike, helmet, camelback, lunch and snacks. Roundtrip transportation from Durango provided.
PACK: Purgatory Adventure Camp for Kids: From the Alpine Slide to learning how to identify animal tracks in the Ponderosa pine forests of Purgatory, kids ages 5 to 13 enjoy activities that foster curiosity and creativity at this wildly entertaining day camp offered Monday through Friday till August 18. Parents can purchase passes one day at a time or in increments of 5, 10 or 20 for $30 to $40 a day and don't have to be used consecutively. Lunch is an extra $8, while roundtrip transportation from Durango is $5. Call 970.385.2144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for registration and information.
Durango Day Camp: Fort building and art projects keep the youngsters engaged and excited as they make friends and discover new adventures every day with teachers who are passionate about kids learning in a safe and nurturing environment. Cost: $33 to $40 per day. Ages 7 and up welcome. Call 970.903.6145 to register.
Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County: The final summer sessions for La Plata County's favorite boys and girls club kick off soon, with Camp Olympics serving as the theme for Session 4 July 17th till 28th. Check the website for times and prices. 2750 Main Ave. 970.375.0010.
DIY: Lemonade Stands, Library Cards & Green Thumbs
If your kids (or wallet) have had their share of summer programs and camps, fill the days with do-it-yourself entertainment itineraries to keep their minds and bodies active. Looking to improve their math skills? Offer to help them with a garage sale or lemonade stand. Want assistance in the garden? You've got little gnomes just waiting to get dirty - or at least sample those juicy tomatoes.
For writing improvement, encourage them to keep a journal of their summer adventures or your next family outing. And when imagination flags, take a trip to the Durango Public Library, which offers a variety of free programs all summer long, not to mention access to the wide world of knowledge and adventure through reading. The Durango Rec Center also has a slew of activities to sign up for, ranging from swimming lessons to kayaking classes and babysitter training.
And when they come to you with heavy sighs, puffing about how boooored they are, do your darndest to steer them away from their computer games and phones. This might be the time to teach them that timeless Latin phrase: carpe diem, young gentlemen and ladies. Go get 'em!