If you thought summer camp was all swimming pools and macaroni necklaces, think again. From scientist-ready to rock-n-roll-inspired, these day camps step way outside the kumbaya circle to give Junior a summer he’ll soon not forget.

Photo: University of the Fraser Val. via flickr

Mad Science Camp
Mad Science makes it their mission to generate visionary learning! That’s why Mad Science is the guiding science enhancement provider for children in 1st through 6th Grade. They deliver exceptional, pro-active science experiences to children. From Science in Motion to Red Hot Robots and even Forensic Fundamentals, they offer endless types of programs.

Ages: Rising first graders to sixth graders
Cost: starting at $185 
Where: locations vary
When: June 10 – August 30
Online: madscience.org

Traveling Players Ensemble
Over 15 years old, Traveling Players Ensemble is a professional theatre company based in Great Falls, VA. The company has performed at the Kennedy Center s Millennium Stage, Colonial Williamsburg, Shenandoah National Park, Lime Kiln Theater, Reston s Multicultural Festival, and the International Children s Festival at Wolf Trap, as well as numerous parks and summer camps throughout Fairfax County. Their mission is to enhance problem-solving skills, self-reliance, self-expression, and a heightened appreciation of both challenges and beauty by bringing great theatre into the great outdoors.

Ages: Rising third graders to twelfth graders
Cost: starting at $475 and they offer scholarships 
Where: The Madeira School (8328 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA) but they do offer bus transport from various points.
When: June 24 – August 16
Online: travelingplayers.org

Photo: Athletic Playground via flickr

Ninja Warrior Camp
The Agility Center is a truly unique facility dedicated to the combined arts of Ninja Warrior training and gymnastics technique. By harmoniously combining the skill sets used in Ninja Warrior training with the calculated technique of gymnastics, participants will learn to navigate any obstacle in their path with strength, agility, precision and fluidity. The Agility Center attracts students from across the gamut–from super athletic kids to kids who shy away from other sports. Ninja Warrior Summer Camp is offered weekly throughout the summer, from when MCPS gets out until Labor Day weekend, as well as daily from the beginning of summer camp through August 9th. Full-day campers end their week with an exciting open gym session where they show of their newly acquired skills to their parents. 

Ages: 3.5 to 14
Cost: starting at $235  
Where: 4990 Boiling Brook Parkway North Bethesda, Maryland
When: June 10 – August 30
Online: theagilitycenter.com

Photo: Donald Judge via flickr

Adventure Camp
A definite DC favorite, Calleva Summer Camp runs from June to August for ages 4 to 17. Calleva’s Maryland camps include: Cubs, Explorers, EXPX, Adventure Camp, Leaders In Training, and High Adventures. All are based out of Riley’s Lock campus on the Potomac River. Transportation is provided at no additional cost, and buses pick up from locations throughout Maryland and D.C. plus one stop in Mclean, VA. Calleva is now offering summer camp in Virginia! The new camp “Potomac Adventures” is based out of a 300+ acre, riverfront property in Great Falls, VA. The property includes a full ropes course, multiple climbing locations, and access to beautiful and exciting stretches of the Potomac River. Each week, campers in Potomac Adventures will raft, rock climb, stand-up paddleboard, and participate in a day of land and water adventures. Transportation is provided for free, and buses pick up from many Northern Virginia locations, as well as stops in Bethesda, Glen Echo, and Potomac.

Ages: 4 to 17
Cost: starting at $495 and they do offer scholarships
Where: Riley’s Lock in MD and Great Falls, VA with bus transportation throughout the DMV
When: June 10 – August 26
Online: calleva.org

Farm Camp
Give your city kid a taste of the great outdoors at this Old McDonald-inspired camp located in Alexandria, Va. In addition to learning about daily farm life (watering, harvesting, and planting), campers will help prepare and taste test sustainable food dishes and run around in the farm’s Groundhog Garden and Natural Playspace. Bonus: Round trip transportation is available from Old Town Alexandria for an additional fee of $100/week.

When: July 8-Aug 9
Ages: 6-11
Cost: $335/week

Arcadia Farm
9000 Richmond Hwy (Alexandria, Va)
Online: arcadiafood.org


Rock n’ Roll Camp
Budding lyricists will see what it feels like to make rock star status at this summer camp with locations throughout the DMV. Students are grouped into their very own band based on their age and skill level. Together–and under the supervision of real life musicians–band members develop original material, perform for the public and record a CD. We’re with the band!

When: Varies
Ages: 7 and up
Cost: $199-$575/week
Various locations through Maryland and Virginia
Online:  b2rmusic.com


Ice Skating Camp
Hate the heat?! Just because it is summer doesn’t mean your children have to give up their favorite winter sports. They can even learn how to ice skate at Ashburn Ice House. Campers will enjoy themed activities and lessons while learning basic skating skills and preparing for the end of the week demonstration. Campers will improve their skating skills while having fun!
Camps include hockey, ice skating, figure skating and more. With weekly sessions, campers can create a mix-and-match program to get a taste of each sport or go all in on one.

Ages: 6 to 14
Cost: starting at $160
Where: 21595 Smith Switch Rd Ashburn, VA
When: June 17– August 12
Online: ashburnice.com

—Guiomar Ochoa