Hidden Gems: Unusual Camps across America


Tiny Chefs:

Top Chef fans aged 4 to 14 can attend one, or several, of this culinary day camp’s week-long sessions. Each week has a different theme – past summers have included French Bistro, Cupcake Wars and Small Plates. For children with dietary restrictions, the Gluten Free or Meatless Mains and Munchies week may be a better option. Tiny Chefs has 21 locations throughout Maryland, Virginia and D.C., and costs $200- $425 per week, depending on the class and duration.

iD Tech:

Science and math lovers can expand their technology skills and prepare for STEM-related careers by building robots and websites, learning how to produce films and designing video games and apps at iD Tech summer camp. iD Tech offers week- long programs for kids ages 7 to
17 at more than 100 universities nationwide, with six in Texas, including one at the University of Texas at Austin and another at Rice University. Day and overnight options are available, and fees.

Westchester Circus Arts Center: 

Kids can run away and join the circus at day camp in Ardsley, New York. Activities include walking on stilts, juggling, tightrope walks, trapeze and more. In the first week, campers are introduced to a variety of skills, and choose their favorite to specialize in during the following week to prepare for the end-of-session showcase. There are three sessions from June to August, which cost $1,150 each, or campers can attend all three sessions for $3,000.

Second City Chicago Training Center Summer Camp:

Class clowns can channel their inner Tina Fey at this Chicago day camp. The comedy theater famous for cranking out Saturday Night Live cast members welcomes children ages 8 to 18 to attend one- or two- week sessions and learn the basics of improvisation, sketch comedy and stand-up. Depending on age, camp costs between $560-$1,000. Housing is not provided.

Cheley Children’s Hospital Colorado Summer Burn Camp: 

This eight-day overnight adventure camp offers a supportive and fun environment for burn victims ages 8 to 18. Kids balance out continued physical and emotional therapy with challenge courses, crafts and horseback riding. Nurses, occupational and physical therapists and a psychologist are onsite at the Estes Park, Colorado camp.

Plantation Farm Camp: 

This Cazadero, California sleepaway camp brings kids back to nature while instilling in them a sense of responsibility. The camp doubles as a farm, complete with goats, cows and pigs, and campers are active participants in the farm community. Cost of attendance ranges from $1,350-$4,800, depending on the session length and time of registration.