Summer Isn’t Cancelled at Metro Parks

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How’s your zebra? Kids in Metro Parks summer camps know all about taking care of their zebras as a fun way to consider safety measures and social distancing. After all, zebras need their space.

All over Tacoma, children are enjoying safe social interaction in a variety of summer camp programs. The coronavirus can’t kill the fun, according to Mary Tuttle, district-wide program manager. The camps feature imaginative play even as they emphasize safety features.

The list of camps is staggering even though cuts had to be made. Consider such options as martial arts and ninja camps, nature camps, a wide range of sports camps, STEM camps with focus on robotics and fantasy galaxy projects and arts camps.

For example, little dancers are making choices for Glass Slipper Ballet, Creative Dance and Ballet with Coco, Llama Llama Ballet, Garden Fairy Ballet or Paw Patrol Dance Party Ballet. Theater, music, and visual arts are explored in other programs.

Camps at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum offer experiences of life in 1855 through stories, songs, crafts, and games. At Tacoma Nature Center, camps explore creatures from “sea to shore” and get a chance to be wildlife detectives identifying animals of the Pacific Northwest in nature hikes, labs, and crafts. Tuttle said that partnerships are what make the programs happen.

Tacoma Whole Child Summer Camp 7

Indoor campers meet in a one-to-nine ratio with staff, and small groups move independently in the halls. During outdoor programs, children “build situational awareness while running, jumping, and climbing,” Tuttle said.

She said families are grateful their children can interact and socialize in safe environments, where “they can grow and develop in a fun way.” Staff are “very serious about safety measures, but they have found ways to make it fun.”

“I’m really glad that Metro Parks allowed this experiment to happen this summer,” said Michael McSweeney, whose nine-year-old grandson has been attending the summer camps since he was in kindergarten. “School closed on March 15, and he was craving time with other children. The staff is a group of the most charismatic, delightful people. Each morning he is more excited to go.” Visit the Metro Parks website for more information.

EMILY HAPPY