Summer Camps of the South Sound

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

For kids that have been cooped up most of this school year, one way to count down the days until summer is to start planning for summer camp. From hiking to canoeing to coding, summer camp offers many opportunities for adventures and for building new friendships. Programs have been adapted to ensure safe and healthy in-person learning environments this summer. Most camps are operating at a limited capacity, so plan ahead and make it a summer to remember.

Day Camps

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
Ages Vary
Let’s go to the zoo! Zoo campers participate in lively lessons about animals, ecosystem exploration,
creative crafts, and group games. These camps focus on fostering empathy and respect for wildlife.

Kitsap Forest Theater/
The Mountaineers Player
Grades K-4
Kitsap Forest Theater, located approximately seven miles west of downtown Bremerton, is one of the oldest outdoor theaters in the United States. This year’s outdoor summer program features art, singing, drama, play, hiking, exploring the forest, wildlife and creeks — and just plain fun.

Cascade Christian Schools THRIVE
Grades K-8
This summer, THRIVE campers will experience adventures as they explore the theme of time travel. In addition, THRIVE offers sports clinics and camps, enrichment camps and STEM camps.

City of Olympia
Ages 4-14
Do you want to get on the water? The City of Olympia offers beginning and advanced sailing. In addition, kids can explore multi-media art camp, yoga camp, and the annual favorite — Camp Olywahoo!

Other Day Camp options

Annie Wright Schools
Grades 1-6

Metro Parks Tacoma: Tacoma Nature Center
Ages 4-12

City of Puyallup
Ages 5-12

Hands On Children’s Museum
Ages 3-10

Overnight Camp Options

For many kids, summer means attending traditional overnight camp—staying in cabins, singing around a campfire, and making friendships that can last a lifetime.

Tacoma Mountaineers
Ages vary
Campers will learn climbing, hiking, map and compass training, camp cooking, wilderness first aid, fire and shelter building, and learning about local geology and ecology. In addition to day camps, Tacoma Mountaineers also has two overnight camps at Mount Rainier (Tahoma).

Washington State University Extension 4-H Camps at Panhandle Lake
Campers spend the week enjoying a myriad of activities, including swimming, hiking, arts, music, cooking, and making new friends! Awaken to birds singing and fall asleep to the stars (or exhaustion).

Camp Gallagher in Lakebay
Grades 6-12
Situated on the sunny shores of Case Inlet in South Puget Sound, Camp Gallagher is a place where middle and high schoolers can embrace nature, friendship, adventure and stewardship in a truly spectacular setting.


New Aquarium Showcases Local Artists

Starting this summer, visitors to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will be treated not only to a new state-of-the-art marine experience when the new Pacific Seas Aquarium opens, but also to breathtaking art installations featuring two Pacific Northwest artists.

The $51.6 million project, led by Metro Parks Tacoma, is funded by the One Percent for Public Art program. As the name suggests, this program earmarks 1 percent of all public works project budgets for the creation of public art. The new aquarium was approved by voters in 2014 as part of the $198 million Metro Parks Tacoma bond. These additions to PDZA are projected to boost attendance at the beloved Pierce County destination, which annually sees over 700,000 visitors.

Maria Jost, Tacoma-based illustrator and Tacoma Public Schools’ Science and Math Institute science teacher, will be creating a marine-inspired mural for installation in the aquarium’s Tidal Touch Zone. This zone is an engaging space offering hands-on and up-close experiences for people of all ages. Jost’s work has been seen in many Tacoma locations and was commissioned by Tacoma Makes for the 2014 edition of the Tacoma Playing Cards.

In addition, Seattle glass artist Kait Rhoads created a glass jellyfish that will be suspended in the atrium just past the 250,000-gallon Baja Bay habitat. This habitat will be home to green sea turtles, scalloped hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays and other warmwater species. Rhoads’ work has been featured in museum and gallery exhibitions across the U.S. and internationally. For this, her first permanent public art piece, she collaborated with PDZA’s jellyfish aquarist Dr. Chad Widmer, the hot shop team at the Museum of Glass and students from Hilltop Artists.

Choosing to highlight the talents of local artists for these important art installations in the new aquarium is evidence of the richness of cultural life in the Northwest. When you plan your visit, make sure you have a chance to appreciate all the beauty of this new South Sound gem.


For additional information:
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 North Pearl St, Tacoma

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, the public can view and enjoy the exhibit “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.”

The art exhibit features sculptures of various sea animals, all made of trash. Examples are Chompers the Shark, Sebastian James the Puffin, and Octavia the Octopus. All sculptures are by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, who has participated in a number of art exhibitions throughout her career. The artist notes that thousands of volunteers were involved in the “Washed Ashore” artwork, from picking up trash to sculpting. “We actually pick up the garbage off the beaches and clean it,” Pozzi explains. “I work on the heads and the detail work and the finished work.” Among her favorite sculptures is the 18foot colorful model Steve the Weedy Sea Dragon, which she named after a friend who composed music for the exhibit.

“It’s a wake-up call, really,” she says, “in a way that’s fun and engaging. The reason it started was that I moved to the beach—and saw this horrific amount of plastic on the beach.” From Bandon, Oregon, Pozzi decided to clean up the plastic from the beaches and turn it into art, simultaneously educating the public about the negative effects the material has on the many ecosystems in the ocean.

“I hope it raises awareness that we do have a real issue in the oceans and we all can do something about it,” Pozzi continues. “Every one of us can do something to reduce our plastic usage. Start thinking about how we can stop using plastic bags or plastic water bottles. Ask for more innovations to happen to help solve the problems.”


For additional information:
Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
5400 North Pearl St, Tacoma