Summer camps 2018: From outdoor fun at Ijams to HSTV's care of magical creatures

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Parents shouldn't have to worry about scrambling to make sure the kids are taken care of during the summer break this year -- to help out, several spots around East Tennessee are offering summer camps.

University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee has released its list of camps taking place on the UT campus, unless otherwise noted:

--4-H Camps: Kids grades four through eight can participate in these residential camps. Other camps include a focus on electricity and shooting skills.

--Architecture and Design camp: The Design Matters! Camp was designed to motivate high school rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors with a weeklong introduction to design and architecture. Both residential and day options are available for participants.

--McClung Museum camps: Children aged 2 (with caregiver) through 11 have the option to choose camps where they can learn about dinosaurs, art collections or ancient art and archaeology.

--Clarence Brown Threatre Summer Acting Workshop: These workshops offer high school students intensive training in technique, voice, improvisation, movement and musical theater. The program now hosts two weeks of training in each of its two summer sessions.

--Adventures in STEM Girls Camp: This summer day program was designed for middle-school aged girls, who will experience a week of hands-on activities that include lab visits and team projects. The structure will focus on the careers of scientists or researchers.

--Kids U camps: The Kids U programs offer a wide range of camps for kids grades three through 12. Students can visit UT and learn from college faculty, staff and graduate students in fields like art, cooking, chemistry, anthropology, computers and photography.

--Athletics camps: These camps are open to both males and females who want to participate in some of the same drills that Tennessee coaches use to improve their athletes' skills. Former Vol players and an elite camp staff will give each camper individualized attention during drills, games and camp contests. Girls' camps include golf, softball, rowing, basketball, diving, soccer, swimming, volleyball and tennis.

--Early Learning Center camps: Rising first through fourth graders have the opportunity to play, complete projects and explore their local community. Kids will be able to explore the fields of science, humanities and the arts to spark their curiosity at a young age.

--UT Gardens camps: Kids aged 4 to 15 can participate in one-day and weeklong camps at the UT Gardens. Special camps for kids and grandparents are also available. The camps let participants learn about flowers, vegetables, birds and garden beasts. Many of the camps include hands-on gardening activities, along with arts and crafts. UT faculty and staff children can receive discounted rates.

Joshua Dobbs Youth Football Camp

FlexWork Sports has announced that the 2018 Joshua Dobbs Youth Football Camp will start on June 2 and June 3 at the Sansom Sports Complex in Knoxville.

The day camps are designed for players ages six to 16. College and high school coaches as well as NFL players past and present will be on hand for instructions, lectures, and demonstrations. Campers will be grouped by age, position and ability. More information can be found here.

Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center

Summer camp registration is also open through the Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center. Thirteen summer classes are available, including beginning pottery; archaeology and ceramics; zen, dance, craft!; sea creatures, mermaids and monsters!; everything Van Gogh; and baby animals papier mache.

Fees range from $85 to $100 dollars, and the classes are offered during various summer dates beginning May 29.

Parents can register their kids on classes by visiting the center at 1127 N. Broadway, Suite B. They also may call 865-523-1301 or visit KAFCC online.


Nature Adventure Camp emphasizes reconnecting children with nature and history. Kids get to do activities like canoeing, fishing, creek exploration, insect collection, bird watching and wilderness survival. It's open to children ages 6 to 12, the weekly camps cost $235 and run June 4 through Aug. 3.

For children under age 6, a preschool day camp is available during the same dates. Children must be at least 3 years old and fully potty trained. The cost for preschool day camp per week is $100.

For more information, visit Ijam's website.

The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley

Have some animal-loving children? HSTV is offering a variety of day camps beginning June 5.

They range in price from $30 to $225 and include classes like junior dog trainers, Pikachu's pet project, William Shakespeare's bedazzling guild to acting with majestic pooches, and care of magical creatures.

Visit HSTV's website for more information and to register.

Oak Ridge

In Oak Ridge, City officials announced Monday that registration for the 2018 Summer Camp sponsored by the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department has officially opened. To register your child, click here.

City officials said space for the camp is limited and was expected to fill up quickly. Parents should register their children as early as possible.

To register in person, walk-in registration has been made available with cash or check payment during regular Civic Center hours, from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. However, walk-ins were urged to complete an online profile and account before coming in to register. Staff will complete registration at the Civic Center front desk.

The first camp session was scheduled to begin on June 4 and run for eight consecutive weeks, Monday through Friday. No camp will be held on Wednesday, July 4.

Campers must be 6- to 12-years-old and must have completed Kindergarten.

Resident fees for the camp have been priced at $100, and $105 for non-residents, and registration fees apply for non-residents. Camp fees cover field trip admission, transportation, special events, daily snacks and a camp T-shirt. Additional shirts can be purchased, and for an extra fee, campers can take swimming lessons during certain weeks of camp. Officials said dates and fees for those classes would be posted at a later time.

Early drop-off for camp begins at 7:30 a.m., and late pick-up was set for 5:30 p.m. on week days that camp takes place.

Camp activities will include special events that take place at the Oak Ridge Civic Center, A.K. Bissell Park and the outdoor municipal pool. Field trips will include Tinseltown Movie Theater, Cedar Hill Park, Adventures Outdoors, Oak Ridge Bowling Center, Little Ponderosa Zoo, Main Events Knoxville, Tri-County Roll Arena, Kentucky Splash Water Park, Jump Jam, Cool Sports and Tataru's Gymnastics.

Campers must bring daily lunch unless otherwise specified.

For more information, call the Civic Center front desk at 865-425-3450, or visit the Summer Camp website.


The YMCA of East Tennessee is holding summer day camps as well. The activities are for kids ages kindergarten to 12 years old, and include sports, nature, the arts, imagination, history and STEM.

Classes begin May 29 and run through Aug. 3. For more information and to sign up, visit the YMCA's website.

Zoo Knoxville

Want to attend a "Wildly fun zoo camp?" Look no further than Zoo Knoxville. The weekly camps run Monday to Friday, June 4 though July 27.

Camp themes include animal outlaws, crazy weird science, amazing zoo race and nature's superheros. Ages 4 through 13 are welcome, and the camps costs range from $120 to $195 for non-pass-holders; pass-holders receive a discounted rate.

For more information and to get a registration form, visiting Zoo Knoxville's https://www.zooknoxville.org/experience/zoo-camp/ and click on "Summer Day Camps: Zoo Camp Information and Registration."

The Episcopal School of Knoxville

Students can sign up for a variety of camps open to first through ninth grade. The summer camps include theater, a cappella, sports and games, art, ceramics and pottery, STEAM, creative writing and more. The price per week ranges from $175 to $275, depending on the camp, and the dates fall within June and July.

ESK is also offering a preschool summer camp weekly, June 4 through Aug. 3. Camp held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including lunch, costs $320 per week. Camp from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., including lunch, costs $250 per week. It's open to all children ages 3-5 who are potty trained.

For more information on the day camps and to register, visit ESK's website.