Forget swim practice and tennis lessons—this summer, the camps Atlanta kids are raving about are actually inside—where everything from ancient history (dinosaurs) to the wave of the future (LEGO robots) come to life! Think Night at the Museum, except at these museum camps, the behind-the-scenes goodness lasts an entire week. Spaces are limited, and some weeks are already sold out, so snatch a spot now before they are all booked.

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campMODA: LEGO Design Camp
Overview: Call it Robotics 101. Budding engineers—er, LEGO fanatics—get their due at this intensive camp that takes building models to the extreme. LEGO WeDo campers (ages 6-8), work in groups of two to build a series of models—and utilize computers—to program their models to move and make sounds. Ages 9 and older use the LEGO NXT Robotics system to design, build and program their models from scratch.

Bonus: The hands-on experience will satiate your child’s natural curiosity and teach him or her to develop innovative solutions to technology challenges. (And the latter is a skill mom or dad will eventually benefit from!). Camper to teacher ratio is 3:1.

Details: From June 17 to August 2, five one-week sessions of campMODA remain open for spots. Sessions run from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily. Campers are grouped by age: 6-8 year olds and 9-14 year olds. Sessions are based on demand; all programs may not be available each week. Cost is $495. MODA members receive a 10 percent discount.

Location: Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree Street NE, on the Plaza level

Contact: 404-979-6455 or campMODA@museumofdesign.org

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Camp H20 at the Georgia Aquarium
Overview: You might just get a little envious of this behind-the-scenes, hands-on experience just for kids at the Georgia Aquarium that includes animal encounters, the opportunity to chat with animal trainers and the ability to engage with the wonders of the ocean—all from within the Aquarium walls.

Bonus: The chance to get up close and personal with aquatic animals doesn’t happen often in land-locked Atlanta. What’s more, campers also earn visits to AT&T Dolphin Tales show and Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow.

Details: From the weeks of June 10 through July 29, one-week sessions run from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Cost is $335.95, plus tax ($285.80 plus tax, Member); for week of July 1, cost is $268.76, plus tax ($228.76 plus tax, Member).

Location: Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St NW, 30313

Contact: 404-581-4193 or education@georgiaaquarium.org

turtle at camp

Atlanta History Center
Overview: Tongue-in-cheek camp themes like “Survivor: 1860” (during which campers learn survival skills like distilling water, constructing a shelter and identifying poisonous plants) compete with more historic (and ambitious) themes like “Hail to the Chief”, where campers, learning from the feats and foibles of past Commanders in Chief, run their own campaign for Camp President.

Bonus: Camp concludes with a Friday afternoon event showing off your camper’s prized projects. More importantly, lunch can be purchased from Chick-fil-A at the museum’s Coca-Cola Café for a weekly fee.

Details: From June 3 to August 2, eight one-week sessions are available for ages 6-11.  (Preschool camp for ages 4-5 is available July 29-August 2). All camps run from 900am to 4:00pm; cost is $275 per week ($275, Members). Before- and after-care is available for a fee.

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Location: 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta 30305

Contact: 404-814-4018 or SummerCamp@AtlantaHistoryCenter.com.

Summer Camp at Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Overview: Think Jurassic Park for the younger set. Fearless adventurers embark on a journey through prehistoric times—and engage with ecologists, geologists, paleontologists and others along the way as they investigate their way through natural history—and discover the wonders of science in our everyday lives.

Bonus: Dino-digging kids have the chance to come nose-to-snout with the largest dinosaurs ever discovered—enough said.

Details: Three week-long Junior Naturalist sessions (rising K and 1st) and one week-long Discovery Team (rising 2nd and 3rd) session remain. Camp runs 9:00am to 1:00pm (Junior Naturalists) or 2:00pm (Discovery Team). Cost is $300 per session ($350, members). Aftercare available until 5:00pm each day for a fee.

Location: 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta 30307

Contact: summercamps@fernbankmuseum.org or 404-929-6341

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Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Overview: Anyone who’s ever tried to drag their kids away from the Children’s Museum’s fishing pond—or its giant, team-focused ball machine, will want to take advantage of its equally engaging, adventure-themed summer camps. First-time Adventure campers (ages 4-5) explore the museum’s learning zones in depth—and get to play outside at Centennial Olympic Park while Discovery Science campers (ages 6-9) learn how to form hypotheses, conduct experiments and get messy (who doesn’t love homemade glop?).

Bonus: Campers also have the chance to discover just how their bodies work thanks to the museum’s rolling science exhibition, Exploration Station.

Details: From June 3 to 28, week-long sessions are offered for ages 4-9 from 8:30am to 2:30 pm. Cost is $250 ($200, Members). Aftercare is available for $10/day.

Location: 275 Centennial Park Dr., Atlanta 30303

Contact: reservations@childrensmuseumatlanta.org or 404-527-3693

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Where will your tots camp out this summer? Tell us below!

—Elizabeth Ralls

Photos courtesy of the Fernbank Museum of Natural HistoryMODA, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta via Facebook