The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center becomes a giant, outdoor classroom for the Cool Critters Winter Camp. Kids seven to 12 years old have half-day and full-day camp options. Activities include nature hikes and tours, animal encounters, plant identification, classroom instruction, arts, crafts and games.
Cool Critters Winter Camp runs 9 a.m. to noon and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 29, 30 and 31. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Drive. For information, call 713-681-8433 or visit houstonarboretum.org. $115 to $205.
Camp Zoofari at the Houston Zoo is one of the most popular day camps in the city. Little kids (four and five years old in one group; six to seven years old in another) explore animal hibernation, migration patterns and adaptation to the weather through arts and crafts, games, talks and meet-and-greet sessions. Older kids (eight to 12 years old) participate in Keeper Camp, a unique, behind-the-scenes adventure focused on the role of zookeepers as caretakers and zoo ambassadors.
Each kid gets a camp T-shirt, the chance to feed a giraffe and a daily meet-and-greet session with a touchable animal. Snacks and water provided; kids bring lunch. Sign up for the day or the week.
Camp Zoofari runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 29, 30 and 31, and January 2. Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-533-6500 or visit houstonzoo.org. $60 to $90.
The Houston SPCA has a noble mission -- to promote respect for all animals and free them from abuse and exploitation. No one's too young to learn their role in the health and safety of animals, and the Houston SPCA Winter Critter Camp is the perfect introduction.
Tweens are split into two group -- eight to 12 years old and ten to 14 years old. Daily topics include pet safety, animal rescue, animal behavior, veterinary sciences and Texas wildlife. Activities include hands-on interaction with animals, arts, crafts, games, talks and tours. Campers provide their own lunch and water bottle. After-camp care is provided 3 to 4 p.m. for a small additional cost.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 22, 23, 26 and 30, and January 2. Houston SPCA, 7007 Katy Road. $80 per day.
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Kids four to 11 years old explore the wonders of space in Space Center Houston Winter Day Camps. Separated into age group ages, campers learn more about space aliens, astronauts, astronaut training and the scientific principles of space travel. Hands-on activities include simulated flight control, a kid-size astronaut training obstacle course and science experiments. There are also tours, talks and meet-and-greets.
Campers receive a snack, lunch and camp materials. Pre-care 7 to 8:45 a.m. and after-care 3:15 to 6 p.m. is available for an additional fee.
Winter Day Camps are 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. December 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30, and January 2. For information, call 281-283-4755 or visit spacecenter.org. $55 per day.
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Humphreys School of Musical Theatre Winter Day Camp is designed to teach young performers the skills they need to get onstage (Humphreys School alum have performed on Broadway and in films and television). Each day ends with an informal showcase with kids performing songs, dances and scene excerpts from Broadway musicals.
Little to-be stars, four to six years old, have three hours of instruction every morning; older to-be stars, seven to 12 years old, have six hours of instruction day. Kids of all levels of experience and training are invited.
9 a.m. to noon (showcase at 11:45 a.m.) or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (showcase at 2:45 p.m.) December 22, 23, 29 and 30. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8801 or visit tuts.com. $50 to $85.