The Procrastinator’s Guide to Philly Summer Camps

A little late on planning your kids’ summer? Here are over a dozen great camps that still have spots.

Kids can clown around at Philadelphia School of Circus Arts’ summer camp / Photograph by Sarson Photography

I don’t know how we got here, but suddenly summer is coming. Philly public schools wrap up this week, and some other area schools are already done. And despite “Register for Camp!!!” being on your to-do list since January, you just didn’t.

Well, don’t worry, because there are so many Philly-area camps that not only still have openings, but offer the flexibility of week-to-week registration so you can plan even more last-minute (since you seem to like living on the edge) and mix-and-match a summer that will have your kids walking a tightrope one week, digging for fossils the next, and singing showtunes after that. Summer is a great time to try something new, so even if your original plan is all booked up, trust that adventure is out there.

Philadelphia School of Circus Arts

Ages: 4-15
Runs: June 17th-August 23rd (preschool camp ends July 19th; teen camp begins July 29th)
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended care available until 5 p.m. (After-care for ages 6 and up)
Cost per week: $475; plus $25 per day for extended care. Sibling discounts available.

This unique camp lets kids literally run off to join the circus in Mount Airy. Divided by age group, each camp combines elements of play, mental concentration, trust and team-building in a full day of lessons and activities on real circus equipment. No prior experience is needed; campers can learn trapeze, aerial rope, silks, feather-balancing, scarf-juggling, plate-spinning, tightrope, rolling globe and acrobatics. Each weeklong session culminates in a circus show for family and friends.
6452 Greene Street, Mount Airy.

Music Theatre Philly

Ages: 3-12
Runs: June 10th-August 30th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 5 p.m. (9 a.m.-noon for preschool camp)
Cost per week: $500 for grades K-6, $250 for preschool camp; plus $15 per hour for extended care. Scholarships and payment plans available.

Like you, readers, I may be just a little guilty of procrastinating planning my daughter’s summer — but when I saw that Music Theatre Philly was hosting a Swiftie week, I signed up right away, fearing it would sell out. My fears were well-founded, but the studio added an additional week, with different Taylor Swift songs in case your kid’s lucky enough to do both. In addition to pop-inspired themes, other camp weeks include Disney’s Zombies, Hamilton, The Greatest Showman, and more Broadway and movie favorites. At each weeklong camp, kids learn lyrics, choreography, and acting, culminating in a Friday showcase for parents and friends. Each day starts with a full warmup of mind, body, voice, and imagination; and throughout the day crafts related to the week’s theme give kids breaks from performing.

This year, MTP acquired Nest at 13th and Locust, so the larger building will host the two age groups for the full-day camp, while the original 12th Street studio will add a half-day camp for ages three to five. (Themes for the littles range from Sesame Street to Disney movies.) Note that preschool camp does not have extended care available.
1301 Locust Street (K-6) and 262 South 12th Street (preschool), Midtown Village.

kids summer camp philadelphia

Summer camp at Music Theatre Philly has moved to the Nest building on Locust Street. / Photograph courtesy of Music Theatre Philly

Philadelphia Rock Gyms

Ages: 6-14
Runs: June 10th-August 30th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 5 p.m.
Cost per week: $480-$575 ($310 for half-day); plus $75-$150 for each hour of extended care;

Kids ages six to 14 will learn bouldering and top rope skills while strengthening their problem solving, communication, and teamwork. Camp days also include yoga and arts and crafts. For those looking to take their skills outside, kids ages seven to 15 can opt for Camp Real Rock, where the fifth day includes an outdoor field trip.
PRG hosts camp at all its locations: Fishtown, East Falls, Oaks, Malvern, and Wyncote.

Academy of Natural Sciences

Ages: 6-10
Runs: August 12th-30th
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost per week: $390 ($350 for members)

The bad news? Much of this dino-lover’s heaven of a camp is booked up. The good news? The final month of summer still has spots. So, sign up for one of the other camps on this list for July and then shift into scientist mode with weekly themes “Dinosaur Evolution,” “Rainforest Rangers,” and, of course, bugs. Camp at the museum includes crafts, museum tours, live animal shows, experiments and more hands-on science.
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Logan Square.

Independence Seaport Museum

Ages: 6-12
Runs: July 8th-August 9th
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., with extended care available until 5:30 p.m.
Cost per week: $450 (or $375 for museum members); plus $150 for extended care.

With weekly themes ranging from Navy bootcamp to Philadelphia history, there’s something for everyone on the Delaware this summer. Camp activities include games, crafts, navigation skills and even sea shanties!
211 South Columbus Boulevard, Old City.

Camp Half-Blood

Ages: 7-12
Runs: June 24th-August 2nd
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with extended care available until 5:30 p.m.
Cost per week: $495

Taking inspiration from the Percy Jackson series — and the Greek mythology that spawned those tales — Camp Half-Blood combines storytelling, fantasy and action. Campers join a “hometown team,” then create the week’s storyline. Throughout the week, they’ll learn about mythological heroes through hands-on activities, all leading up to an epic “quest.” During this immersive experience, kids interact with the creatures and characters they’ve been learning about, participating in problem-solving, rescue missions, sword training, storytelling and more.
Wissahickon Valley Park, 5000 Hermit Lane.

kids summer camp philadelphia

Camp Half-Blood / Photograph courtesy of Mythik Camps

Penn Museum Anthropology Camp

Ages: 6-13
Runs: June 24th-August 16th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost per week: $375 ($345 for members)

How has ancient fashion influenced today’s style? How have writing systems and storytelling evolved throughout the world? Each week of Penn Museum’s camp will tackle one of these questions, with themes expressed through hands-on workshops, crafts, expert talks, gallery exploration and more.
3260 South Street, University City.


Ages: 5-8 (and limited availability for ages 11-14)
Runs: June 24th-August 9th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended care available until 5:30 p.m.
Cost per week: $400; plus $150 for extended care

You know how to plan a best-ever summer with no one the wiser that you totally dropped the ball researching this months ago? Send your budding Rembrandt to camp in a freaking art museum. Camps are broken up into small groups by age, and each week has fun themes including comic books, sculpture, nature, magic and more. Through it all, kids will experiment with painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed-media projects. Each week culminates with an exhibit of campers’ work.
118-128 North Broad Street, Center City.

Clay Studio / Photograph by Laura Swartz

The Clay Studio

Ages: 6-17 (varies by week)
Runs: July 8th-August 23rd
Hours: Varies by week; half-day camps are 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m., full-day camps are 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost per week: $150-$420 (tuition is on a sliding scale based on need and hours)

The Clay Studio’s expanded facility means expanded programming for the summer. You’ll have to supplement this camp with other camps on the list, since not every week is available to all age groups, but there is no better place for artsy kids who want to master clay-based skills like wheel-throwing and even claymation!
1425 North American Street, Kensington.

MacGuffin Theatre & Film Company

Ages: 7-11 (plus select weeks for ages 11-18)
Runs: June 24th-August 16th
Hours: 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Cost per week: $360

Each week of this musical theater camp will focus on a different show, from Frozen to Willy Wonka and beyond. After five days of learning singing, choreo and acting, each week culminates in a performance at 7 p.m. on Fridays. For older campers (ages 11-18), MacGuffin is also running a four-week Legally Blonde program from June 24th through July 19th. (That’ll run you $880, total.)
2030 Sansom Street, second floor, Rittenhouse.

Mister John’s Music

Ages: 5-10
Runs: June 17th-August 23rd
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 5 p.m.
Cost per week: $400; plus $40 for early arrival and $80 for late pickup

Kids’ music hero Mister John has planned themed weeks of multi-disciplinary arts instruction in South Philly. Kids will learn singing, dancing, percussion, visual arts and more, with each week culminating in a showcase for parents. Themes range from Disney to Taylor Swift to superheroes, so each week is a new adventure. And for ages 11 to 17, there’s a very limited (six students max) Rock Band Camp during select weeks.
761 South 8th Street, South Philly

Photograph courtesy of Mister John’s Music

Phield House

Ages: 6-12
Runs: June 17th-August 30th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 4:30 p.m.
Cost per week: $325; plus $15 per extended-care session

Kids can spend their days playing sports and games in Phield House’s massive indoor sports facility on Spring Garden Street. A typical camp day includes a warm-up and a variety of sports and games to keep kids moving and excited. There is also a CIT program available for 13-year-olds.
814 Spring Garden Street, Spring Garden.

Arden Theatre Company

Ages: 6-14
Runs: June 24th-August 30th
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 6 p.m. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. for middle school)
Cost per week: $425; plus $100 for extended care (or $50 for just before- or after-care)

So, there have been a lot of theater camps on this list, but Arden sets itself apart because campers will perform original plays based on weekly themes — that’s right, they write their own plays! Each week of camp culminates with an onstage performance for family and friends. In addition to those weekly camps (for first through fifth graders), Arden also offers specialty camps for kids who want to work on a particular skill, like design or comedy. Meanwhile, middle-schoolers can sign up for Summer Studio sessions that range from comedy to Shakespeare.
40 North 2nd Street, Old City.

Elmwood Park Zoo

Ages: 6-15 (half-day camps for ages 3-5)
Runs: June 17th-August 30th
Hours: 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with extended care available starting at 8 a.m. and until 4:30 p.m. (half-day camps run till noon)
Cost per week: $300-$550; plus $15 per day for extended care

While the Philadelphia Zoo doesn’t offer summer camp, travel a little bit outside the city to Norristown, and you’ll find a smaller zoo that does! Elmwood Park Zoo’s weekly summer camps are divided by age range and offer themes like “Wilderness Explorers,” conservation, and animal enrichment. Camp days include crafts, games, stories, animal encounters, and in-depth tours of the zoo. EPZ’s regular summertime events and shows are also incorporated into camp for some extra excitement. Teenage camps lean a little more into the zookeeper-in-training of it all, with workshops centered around animal behavior, exhibit design, and learning alongside the zoo’s professionals.
1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown.