Yep, it’s that time of year again. Our kids are finishing up another year of school. Their minds are filled with so many great things after 9 months holed up in a classroom for the majority of each day. Their bodies are another year taller, stronger and faster. And somehow, although I thought this was impossible, a renewed supply of energy and enthusiasm. And we as parents are presented with the joy of spending each day of the next 3 months with them. AHHHHHH, who am I kidding. Joy? More like paralyzing fear. Please don’t misinterpret this for a lack of love, respect and pride for my son, but thinking about having to entertain a 6 year old for an additional 8 hours each day is a daunting task. So I’ve found a way to get the rug rat out of the house for a little excitement each day and to help me maintain my sanity. Trust me, it’ll be good for both of us.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve has day camps available for 4th-8th grades running all summer long. Prices, schedule and activities vary throughout the summer, but they have plenty of programs available to keep even the most energetic kid entertained, and all the programs have a focus on the outdoors and our natural environment.
The Zoofari summer camp program at the Birmingham Zoo is a great way to get the kids out of the house for the day and let them run wild with the other animals. Programs run May to August and there are options for every grade level. Early drop off and late pick up are options that make this program ideal for parents needing a full day of respite. With the new addition of the zip line tour at the zoo, you may want to spend a little time there as well.
The YMCA of Greater Birmingham offers everything from onsite day camps at the local branches to weeklong overnight camps are various facilities across the state. All camp programs are guided by core values that make the YMCA a great environment for learning, development and fun. Our favorite are the Camp Hargis programs which emphasizes outdoor adventure at a beautiful facility just minutes south of Birmingham.
While Red Mountain Park doesn’t have full blown camp programs developed yet (we’ve heard they are in the works though), it should definitely be on your schedule for this summer. The park has plenty of trails to explore and the kids will love the Red Ore Zip Line tour or the Bean Stalk Forest tree top challenge course. Both activities are great for kids of all ages, although depending on height and weight, you may need to go with them. Bummer, huh?