If the simple word “camp” stirs your emotions and makes you feel like you can almost smell campfire, we feel you! When you register your kiddos for summer activities, you don’t just want a place to park them during the hottest months of the year, you want a place that will inspire them and create lifelong memories. And what could be more memorable then sending your kiddos to one of the world’s most famous institutions? This list of camps isn’t any old list — each experience includes one of D.C.’s most notable addresses as a backdrop.
Photo: D.C. United
RFK Stadium: D.C. United Summer Camps
If your family loves football (and we’re talking about the kind you actually play with your feet) then you probably already know that the district is home to the division one soccer team, D.C. United. What you might not know is that this beloved team hosts a summer camp for kids aged 5 to 16. Sessions are held at various locations in Virginia and Maryland, but the real draw are the sessions held at RFK Stadium where highlights include a tour of the facilities, private viewings of team practices, MLS trophy photo ops and more. All participants get an official D.C. United camp ball, T-shirt and ticket to a future game. Prices start at $210 for a week of half-day classes (9 am to 12 pm; full day course are also offered).
If we said the most popular D.C. museum…scratch that — one of the top three museums in the world — hosts a summer camp for kids, would you know which D.C. institution we were talking about? Of course you would! Because chances are, whenever you are even remotely near the mall, your kids begin to beg to see the rocks, fossils, and live insects that line these halls. The Natural History Museum’s Master the Museum session (designed for kids in grades 2-3) gives pint-sized explorers a close-up look at the museum’s favorite attractions, including the Hall of Human Origins, Ocean Hall and the Hope Diamond. Each participant creates their own museum exhibit which is shared at a special preview on the last day of camp. Make sure to check out the Smithsonian’s other offerings for kids in K through 12 (sessions are not designed for children under 5).
Ages: 7 to 9
Cost: $395 ($460 nonmembers)
When: June 19 – August 14
10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW (National Mall)
If you are the parent of a high-energy, outdoor enthusiast who doesn’t want to limit your child to just one D.C. institution, we say more power to you! This bike-based camp lets your child explore the different neighborhoods of D.C., turning the city into a virtual camp(us) for your little learner. Sessions meet near Maury Elementary; it’s worth noting that the Polite Piggy’s Camp held at the Maury elementary school offers pre and post-camp care.
Enroll your child in a one or two week course designed to inspire their inner architect or engineer. Little designers will explore the art of creating everything from playgrounds to skyscrapers. From hands-on instruction with building materials and tools (like saws, drills and hammers) to outdoor exploration of some of D.C.’s most notable architectural structures, kids will gain a greater understanding of how our communities are designed and built.
If the family tree your kiddo completed in elementary school sparked an interest in everything ancestral, then this is the camp for them! The week long course covers the basics of genealogy research as well as a hands-tutorial for searching the National archives to trace family roots! Class takes place in the Boeing Learning Center, which is located on the upper floor of the National Archive.
This picturesque estate (once owned by the granddaughter of Martha Washington) is a picture-perfect setting for exploring the history of the 1700 and 1800s. Days are filled with games, period dancing, historic costume play and more. Activities take place in the mansion and outdoors in the gardens. A highlight of this session includes examining artifacts from the museum’s educational collection.