Balboa Park offers education and entertainment for every imagination
By Johnny McDonald | Downtown News
Wherever you may look while visiting Balboa Park this summer, you’ll see frolicking youngsters setting out to learn more about the past and future. Park museums will be opening their doors for the annual kid’s camps, where youngsters can explore science, flight, art, gardening and world cultures. Most were signed up in March for the half-day camps, to determine interest and for scheduling purposes. If one camp became filled, more alternatives would be offered.
Following is a summary of what is offered but for more detail or complete list of offerings, visit the park’s website.
On the Prado, Reuben H. Fleet’s Science Center will feature hands-on topics, including forensics, physics, the human body, robotics, DNA and chemistry.
Across the courtyard, camp participants will dig for dinosaurs, unlock animal mysteries and explore nature’s wonders at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Camps will also include garden hikes, animal visits, and encounters with real scientists.
Along the way, children will learn what life was like in San Diego in the 1700s, 1800s, and early 1900s — how early settlers talked, dressed, cooked, wrote and played — courtesy of the San Diego History Center.
Next door, they can explore the art of photography and filmmaking at the Museum of Photographic Arts, with workshops allowing students to discover techniques while creating fun projects.
“Campers” can also learn about the “The Old West” with gigantic model railroad layouts at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Field trips for these settlers include a ride on the Balboa Park train and a tour downtown to the trolley yard.
The San Diego Junior Theater (located on the Prado) will offer introductory to advanced, full-day camps in voice, acting, and dance, which will culminate in an end-of-camp celebration with peers. Meanwhile, with the Old Globe’s new after-camp program, kids will discover the world of theater through improvisation, imaginative play, creative dramatics and design.
Over toward the Organ Pavilion, they’ll experience culture the way it used to be at the Japanese Friendship Garden, and get acquainted with how it is today in modern Japan. The camp includes crafts, games, language, food and Japanese-style gardening.
At the San Diego Air & Space Museum, they’ll build and launch hot air balloons, airplanes and rockets, and test spacecraft designs.
You can help develop a child’s creativity in a week-long, half-day camp at the San Diego Museum of Art, with classes led by artist instructors with hands on activities through the use of various media. Kids can also experience art in different mediums, including Chinese brush painting, polymer clay, altered books, ceramics, and more at Spanish Village.
Young aspiring archaeologists can explore the mysteries of ancient Egypt, see real mummies and learn the magic of Mayan culture at the San Diego Museum of Man. They’ll also dig for clues from the past in an archaeological excavation. The San Diego Zoo is also participating and will offer up-close animal encounters, off-site exhibit excursions, games and crafts.
For more information, visit www.balboapark.org/visit/kids/summer-camps, and download the PDF file.
After an award winning, 38-year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. He enjoys covering aspects of the port district, convention center, Balboa Park, zoo, and stories with a historical bent. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.