Arts and sports camps make Downtown a hot summer destination

By Natalie Wearstler, contributing writer

Museum of Science and History. Photo by Tiffany Manning.
Museum of Science and History. Photo by Tiffany Manning.

With the school year drawing to a close across Northeast Florida, many families with young children must decide how to fill long summer days. According to Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI), more than 48,000 people work Downtown; for those employees with children, there are several unique summer camps available right near the office.

“Reminding this city’s residents about all of the things to do Downtown is one of the goals of the Downtown Marketing Collaborative,” said Bill Prescott, a founding member of the Downtown Marketing Collaborative. “This summer, we hope that parents who work in or near Downtown will think of the neighborhood’s summer camps and programs, so the next generation of Downtown visitors can experience all that our urban core has to offer.”

Here are five Downtown camps for Jacksonville families to consider:

Photo credit: MOCA Jacksonville

ArtCamp@MOCA: June 9 – August 15 (no session June 30 – July 4)
Children ages 4-14 will enjoy creative art making at MOCA and on campus at UNF. Emphasis is placed on building knowledge of contemporary art and growing a visual vocabulary.

MOSH Summer Discovery Camp: June 16 – August 8
Children who have just completed grades K-8 are invited to spend the summer learning about science, history and astronomy while conducting experiments, enjoying MOSH’s exhibits and finishing the summer with a field trip to Kennedy Space Center.

LaVilla School of the Arts Summer Camp: June 16 – July 25
Children ages 7-14 are invited to choose from a variety of exciting experiences including dance, “Top Chef” science, drama, arts and crafts, and instrumental (piano, guitar, percussion), and children ages 10-14 can also choose from visual arts, comics, “blast off” science and historical reenactment.

Photo credit: Jacksonville Suns
Photo credit: Jacksonville Suns

Jacksonville Suns Baseball Camp: June 19-20
Children ages 7-12 are welcome to enroll in this unique sports camp, which includes two days of instruction from Suns players, lunch on both days, a commemorative hat and a ticket to a Suns game with special on-field recognition.

Jacksonville Jaguars Got Skills? Rookie Day: June 20
This one-day event, open to the first 200 children ages 6-14 who register online and send in a waiver and payment of $5 per family, helps children learn basic football skills in a fun and supportive environment.


In addition to summer camps, there are tons of other fun things to do Downtown with the kids. Check out DVI’s Downtown itineraries for some great ideas, and check the Downtown events calendar for kid-friendly events scheduled throughout the year.