We live in a wonderful place for children. After work, families still have time to spend at the beach. Swimming, shell hunting, volleyball and other activities at the beach keep children involved until dark. But, as the summer goes on parents might be looking for especially worthwhile activities. Some suggestions follow:
The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge will offer their summer camp again this summer at the Emerald Grande in Destin. The camp will run all summer from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Campers will have daily visits from the refuge’s animal ambassadors, such as raptors, gray and flying squirrels, foxes, snakes, turtles, skunks, and more! Campers will also learn techniques used to rehab these previously injured or orphaned ambassadors. Marine mammal education is offered during the camps with visits from the refuge’s marine biologist. Campers are expected to bring a sack lunch and drink. Participation in this camp can be weekly or daily. For more information call (850) 650-1880.
The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is combining with Abrakadoodle to offer classes at the wooded wonderland in Freeport. These classes will be held every Wednesday in June from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The mornings will be filled with art and afternoons with science. Campers are expected to bring a sack lunch and drink. For more information call Abrakadoodle at (850) 424-5058
Drama Kids Camp will be held various locations in June and July for children 6-12 years old. The Make 'Em Laugh Camp will help your child discover a new character this summer while spending a week learning (and doing) comedy! This camp will help develop your child’s dramatic skills, and his/her sense of humor, a creativity trait. The camp will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day during the week. For more information check out this site: dramakidsinc.com/fl4/camps-events/
Seacrest Wolf Preserve will start its summer hours June 1 through Aug. 31. This activity provides a close encounter with wolves and participants learn about the wolves and their habitat. My grandchildren, daughter and I all enjoyed this encounter and highly recommend it! For more information check this site: http://www.seacrestwolfpreserve.org/index.php
Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach has a great list of a variety of camps that are offered during the summer months ranging from flight to chemistry. The times vary as well. They also have Kids Night Only once a month on the third Friday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. They offer animal encounters on Mondays, 3-4 p.m. and Wednesdays, 1-2 p.m. They have Friday Critter Camps from 1-4 p.m. Check out this website for more information: www.ecscience.org/Camp/sciencecamps.htm.
Located in Santa Rosa Beach, Studio 237 School of Music offers music lessons during the summer. Summer is a great time to start learning to play piano or guitar. You can check out the Studio 237 School of Music website: www.studio237musicschool.com/
Northwest Florida State University Kids on Campus Camp is holding two two-week camps. This popular summer enrichment program provides students entering 3rd to 8th grades a unique opportunity for fun learning in a college environment. Students choose from a variety of exciting classes such as athletics, fine and performing arts, academics, and arts and crafts. Students can choose morning, afternoon or all day classes. Extended care is also available in the morning and afternoons. One will be in June and the other in July. Check out dates and times at this site: www.nwfsc.edu/ContEd/pdf/KOC_Brochure.pdf
The Southern Star Dolphin Cruise and The Buccaneer Pirate Cruise offer cruises at various times in Destin. Both adventures will allow your child to cruise the wonderful waters of the area for a very reasonable price and have a great time too! Check their websites: For dolphin cruise info see southernstardolphincruise.com/. You can find the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise website at destinpirateship.com/.
Destin Library has a slew of programs planned this summer. There are reading clubs and buddy reading programs as well as reading rewards. The Buddy Readers program is designed to help struggling readers over the summer. Sophomores and Juniors can participate in a research project co-sponsored by the library and the Destin History & Fishing Museum. Dill Beaty, editorial cartoonist for The Destin Log, will provide a workshop for teen cartoonists on July 31 from 1-3 p.m. Many other fun activities to stimulate reading are planned. For more information contact Will Rogers at his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the library 837-8572.
As you can see, there are many ways for children to simultaneously have fun and learn right here on the coast. Your job as a parent over the summer is to keep alive the love of learning, and it can be fun!
Tommy Fairweather is a Destin resident and retired Walton County teacher.