Is your child into animals? Is he or she begging for a cat, dog, goat or fish? Do they dream of working at a zoo or becoming a veterinarian? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then keep reading.
Summer camps are one of the best ways to let your child explore their interests, especially when it comes to animals. There are a handful of camps across the region that offer the opportunity to learn about the creatures in our oceans, what it takes to run a farm and how to care for our pets when they’re sick. These camps could spark a lifelong passion for animals that turns into a future career, or maybe your child will decide they’re just better off with a pet rock. They won’t know unless they try…so here are a few camps to consider:
First up is My Farm Camps Experience on Hammond Family Farm. The Hammonds recently bought 21 acres in Pineville and moved their popular summer camp from their Ballantyne farm to 12381 Downs Road in Pineville.
Camps are for kids 6 to 16 years old and run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Each day starts with morning farm chores, gardening, feeding the animals and grooming the horses, and then it’s time to saddle up. Beginner riders will be in small groups learning how to ride in the ring; more experienced riders will venture to the trails. Afternoons are spent playing on an obstacle course, creating arts and crafts and having water fights. A farrier and vet will also stop by for horse and hoof care, as well as a chiropractor. Sessions cost $395 and fill up fast.
There is also a special session called “The Pampered/Healthy Cowgirl” from July 29 to Aug. 1, which costs $435. This is basically a spa week at the farm and includes additions like healthy eating education, farm-to-feast practices, trail and nature hikes, horseback riding, natural horsemanship training, massages for horses and humans, facials, essential oils and daily group exercise.
A non-refundable $200 deposit secures a spot and all final camp payments are due by April 1. For more information, call Denise Hammond at 704-996-3048 or visit www.myfarmcamps.com.
Old McDonald had a farm and it was a lot of hard work and a ton of fun. Isn’t that how the song goes? Well, campers who spend a week this summer on Hunter Farm, located at 13624 Providence Road in Weddington, will get to see for themselves. They’ll be up close and personal with all of the sights, sounds and smells of a working farm. They’ll feed and care for the cows and calves, goats, pigs, chickens, bunnies and horses, and help plant seeds, water crops, weed gardens and harvest produce. They’ll also go on nature hikes and fish in the farm ponds.
Hunter Farm camps are for children 5 to 15 years old and run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during weekly sessions throughout the summer. The cost is $175 per session, but siblings get a slight discount. For more information or to register, visit www.thehunterfarm.com/summer-camps.
When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. I even created a vet clinic in my bedroom, pretended my Beanie Babies were patients, drew fake X-rays and used a toy stethoscope. Maybe my passion would have continued through adulthood had I attended a summer camp like the one offered at Waxhaw Animal Hospital.
The camp takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the clinic, located at 601 N. Church St. in Waxhaw. Campers learn about safety and how to practice responsible pet ownership, explore pet health care issues, look at real X-rays and learn what they reveal about the condition of an animal, look at samples under the microscope and learn about parasites. They also practice how to bandage, learn animal first aid and observe physical examinations, veterinary dentistry and even surgery (returning and middle school campers only).
The cost is $325 and sessions are filling up fast. Rising sixth-to ninth-graders can attend July 22 to 26, and rising second-to fifth-graders can attend Aug. 12 to 16. There are also a few special sessions just for returning campers that focus on advanced material for a higher fee. For more information or to register, visit www.ncvetcamp.com. There is also a waiting list if sessions are full.
If trips to the zoo excite your child more than going to Carowinds, the movies or a trampoline park, maybe he or she is destined to become a zoologist. The Town of Matthews has a summer camp where kids learn about both native and exotic animals, from their diet to their behavior, as they explore their world.
The zoologist camp is for kids in rising grades 3 to 5 and takes place from 9 a.m. to noon July 22 to 26 at the Matthews Community Center. It costs $95 for Matthews residents and $100 for others. Register at www.MatthewsFun.com.
Marine biologist camp
Ever wonder what life is like in the oceans? What to know how to help care for those natural ecosystems? Would you like to meet a few sea creatures? These are questions any budding marine biologist would jump at the chance to answer. The Town of Matthews has a summer camp where kids learn about the adaptations, environments and interdependent ecosystems found in Earth’s vast oceans.
The marine biologist camp is for kids in rising grades 3 to 5 and takes place from 9 a.m. to noon July 8 to 12 at the Crews Recreation Center. It costs $95 for Matthews residents and $100 for others. Register at www.MatthewsFun.com.