Keys summer camp guide 2017

Kids can make a splash at three summer day camp sessions offered by REEF, a Key Largo marine-science group. Two five-day camp weeks will be held in Key Largo and one in Islamorada.
Kids can make a splash at three summer day camp sessions offered by REEF, a Key Largo marine-science group. Two five-day camp weeks will be held in Key Largo and one in Islamorada. REEF

Monroe County schools let out for the summer on June 6 and that means the kids will have plenty of free time in the coming months.

No worries. From Key Largo to Key West, summer camps abound, whether your child’s interest lies in marine education, arts and crafts or just messing around having fun. There is no shortage of choices. Following are some of them.


The Marathon Parks and Recreation Department opens its camp June 12 and it runs through Aug. 11. It’s for kids ages 5 to 13.

Camp features sports, arts and crafts, and other activities from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Cost is $80 per week (a $20 weekly discount applies to additional family members). Camp is based at the Marathon Community Park, mile marker 48 oceanside.

To find out more, call (305) 743-6598 or send an email to or

Upper Keys

Kids can become ocean explorers during a week at marine-oriented day camps in the Upper Keys.

The Reef Environmental Education Foundation hosts three week-long sessions for children ages 7 to 13. Activities include snorkel trips to the coral reef, kayaking on trails through mangroves, meeting animals, and marine-science experiments and crafts.

Two sessions will be held at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, mile marker 102.5 oceanside in Key Largo: June 19 to 23 and July 17-21. An Islamorada session based at Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina, mile marker 84 oceanside, July 31 to Aug. 4.

Cost is $300 for the five-day sessions and includes park entry fees, activity expenses, equipment rentals and REEF gear including a T-shirt and water bottle. An optional box lunch is available for an additional $50.

For more information visit or call (305) 852-0030.

Key West

Children ages 6 to 12 years can learn about our marine environment through educational activities at the Reef Relief Environmental Center in Key West. Each day, campers will experience hands-on learning, interactive games and field trips.

Starting June 12 and running through Aug. 18, Coral Camp runs weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $225 a week. There is a multi-week and sibling discount of $200 per week per child. Field trips are subject to cancellation due to weather or other safety concerns.

For more information, call (305) 293-9515 or send an email to

Pigeon Key

The Pigeon Key Foundation & Marine Science Center in Marathon gravitates toward hands-on learning and interaction with the Florida Keys ecosystem.

Campers are given a brief background on a subject and then immersed in the field, allowing them to utilize their newly acquired knowledge. Programs include marine habitats of the Keys, invertebrate biodiversity, reef fish identification, marine adaptations, shark biology and dissection, and a plankton lab.

There are also games, scavenger hunts, an underwater obstacle course and a Sombrero Reef snorkel trip aboard the 40-foot catamaran Spirit.

Day camp, running 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, costs $350 and is for kids ages 8 to 16. A week of overnight camp costs $950 and is for kids ages 10 to 16. Price includes snorkel gear for the week and meals (lunch only for day camp; breakfast, lunch and dinner for overnight). For campers 12 and older, PADI scuba certification is offered contingent on having four registered campers per session and the availability of instructors.

Email for additional information.

Key Largo

The Upper Keys Sailing Club has its Mark Sorensen Youth Sailing weekly camps June 12 through Aug. 4 at the club, 100 N. Ocean Bay Drive (mile marker 100).

It’s for kids ages 7 to 17 and limited to 12 spots per session. Drop-off begins at 8:30 a.m. and pick up is no later than 3:30 p.m. Sailing and water activities on Buttonwood Sound are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $265 per youth and lunch is not included.

Kids should bring rash-guard shirt, Crocs or water booties, sun block, bug repellant, hat, sunglasses, snacks, a life jacket, towel, change of clothes, snorkel and mask, and water toys. iPads, iTouch, headphones and other electronic devices are not allowed. Cell phones must be kept in backpacks.

To find out more, go to


Florida Keys Community College offers weeklong “summer adventure camps” from June 12 through Aug. 11 on the Stock Island campus on College Road.

The camps, designed for youths from 7 to 17, provide hands-on activities that will allow campers to tap their creative talents, explore academic interests, develop technical skills and make friends. Camps include Stories of the Reef, Aqua Fit Camp, Cooking With Your Hands and Junior Tropical Fish Hobbyist.

Camps run weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Costs and dates for each camp vary. For find out more, call (305) 809-3214 or go to


A veteran sports coach leads two sports camps for Upper Keys kids in June.

Lesa Bonee, head softball coach at Coral Shores High and physical education instructor at the Treasure Village Montessori, conducts the two week-long sessions at the Harry Harris Park ball fields in Tavernier.

What’s called an All Sports Camp runs June 12 to 16 for children ages 5 and up. A camp focusing on baseball and softball runs June 19 to 23 for children ages 6 and up. Hours for both camps will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Cost is $150 per week if registered by June 1 and $175 after June 1.

For information , call Lesa Bonee at (954) 299-9550 or

Key West

The Key West Art & Historical Society ArtCamp! at the Fort East Martello offers sessions for youths ages 10 to 16. It’s designed as cultural immersion while engaging in their passion for the arts and the environment.

There are three ArtCamp! sessions: Teen Fossil Camp June 12 to 16, Pinhole Photography Camp June 19 to June 23 and Pinhole Photography Camp June 26 to June 30.

The Teen Fossil Camp guides students in learning how to sculpt and cast bones working with tools in clay, plaster and sand, with an educational focus on science, math and critical thinking. The Teen Pinhole Photography Camp sessions explore the physics of light, mechanics of the pinhole camera and elements of chemistry while gaining a foundation of art, design and the creative process through the world of film photography. These sessions encourage the teens and the more mature pre-teen to a week of creativity, empowerment, and educational excellence.

ArtCamp! is filled every year by children ages 5 to 12. The new program is geared toward teens and more mature pre-teens, specifically the underserved parts of community.

The Fort East Martello is at 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. ArtCamp! runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Included are all supplies, light snacks and Friday pizza parties. Costs vary. Go to or call Adele Williams at (305) 295-6616, Ext. 115. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.

Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218