Fun in the Sun

Fun in the Sun

Pasadena camps gear up for another summer of outdoor experiences

By Sheila Mendes-Coleman 05/08/2014

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There is a fabulous array of adventures available to children of all ages in local camps this summer, offering something for everyone; the adventurous, tech-savvy, intellectual, artistic, and special needs kids, with camps and facilities providing ability-appropriate services for those with physical or emotional challenges. 

Tom Sawyer Camp
707 W. Woodbury Road, #F, Altadena
(626) 794-1156

Tucked into Hahamongna Watershed Park above Devil’s Gate Dam in the Arroyo Seco in 1944, Tom Sawyer camp has been family favorite for outdoor summer fun for generations and offers five summer programs. 
“The quality of our staff and training is what sets us apart from other camps,” said Registrar, Operations and Program Director Kevin Austin. “Campers have the opportunity to hang out and be middle-schoolers in a safe environment. I’ve been here 16 years. I started as a youngster and came back as a director and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Their newest, Camp Lacy was formed with residents of San Marino in mind. Camp Lacy offers flexible enrollment and campers will enjoy swimming, weekly field trips and other outdoor activities. Pre Camp (3- to 5-year-olds) offers the consistent scheduling so crucial for younger children. Activities include swimming lessons and free-play, horseback riding, nature and craft programs. Co-ed campers are peer-grouped, with three counselors for every 12 campers. TSC Too offers camp adventures for slightly older children that include swimming lessons, horseback riding, archery and nature activities. The Day Camp program for students first through sixth grade is similar to the TSC Too program. Outpost (sixth through ninth grade) programs include natural rock-climbing, wind-surfing, kayaking and beach trips. 
For Special Needs children, Tom Sawyer’s sister camp BLAST (Building Lasting Success Together) specializes in assisting special-needs campers with socialization. Tom Sawyer camp is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA), and all staff members must pass state and federal background checks. 
Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 449-9144

With over 200,000 annual visitors, this summer the museum celebrates its 35th year of serving the community and plans a celebratory weekend June 28-29. 

“Hands-on learning is what makes us a unique center and museum for exploration,” said Susan Cardosi, Kidspace retail and communications manager. “We have a large amount of outdoor space and we build our exhibits in a natural environment to keep kids connected with nature.” 

The birthday celebration events will include live performances, party games and crafts and a 35-year timeline that chronicles the history of the museum from its early days at Caltech to its current incarnation on Arroyo Boulevard, near the Rose Bowl. Young fans of technology will enjoy the JPL Outer Space Camp, (June 16 -20 for ages 6-11.) With instruction from JPL specialists, participants will learn about the intricacies of space exploration and even compete in the “Outer Space Olympics.”

Hands-on activities include creating a “universe in a jar” and crafting olive oil constellations. June 23-27, Kidspace hosts the Inventors Camp (7-11 years old) in which children will learn about the great inventors in history and how their contributions changed the course of it, as well as have an opportunity to craft inventions of their own.

 June 30-July 3 is Culture Camp. Visitors will explore myriad cultural traditions, among them foods, garments, art, games, music and dance through a hands-on learning experience. This activity seeks to underscore the importance of cultural diversity and acceptance and celebrates the rich history and traditions of those from the far corners of the world. 

Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 792-5101

As a community-based nonprofit, the Armory Center for the Arts seeks to provide a welcoming environment for children of all ages and backgrounds. 

“We transform lives and communities,” said Executive Director Scott Ward. “Not only are we a welcoming place to come to, our program also goes into the neighborhood because we want to be accessible within each community to our visitors without regard to their ability to pay. We offer 200 mini-courses for children of all ages designed to meet the needs of individual families”.  

Anderson Adventure 
Camp H2O
(At the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center from June 2 to Aug. 29)
360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 654-0330, ext. 433

In its 19th year, this amazing camp boasts an incredible variety of activities and events to keep young bodies and minds busy. Campers may come for the board games, arts & crafts, swim and diving lessons, water polo and arcade room, but they’ll stay for the field trips, including Raging Waters, bowling, laser tag, ice-skating and beach romps. Campers will even be treated to magic shows by noted local magicians and reptile shows, showcasing some of nature’s most fascinating creatures. 

“Anderson Adventure Camp H2O is special because the camp counselors are super nice and friendly,” said camp spokesperson Karen Meza. “The amazing activities we have offer so much to do, sometimes it seems there’s not enough time to do it.”

Anderson Adventure Camp H2O is one of the few camps to offer extended care, available daily from 3-6 p.m.

For special-needs children ages 6-17 there is Camp Splash at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center (RBAC) from July 7-Aug. 1. Campers meet at the RBAC in a controlled, safe environment for fun events, such as swimming lessons, treasure hunts, hip-hop dance, karate, arts and crafts and even weekly walks to Kidspace Children’s Museum to join in activities that promote sensory perception and assist in developing the imagination. Field trips include beach visits for surf therapy and footpath walks at Brookside Park. Interested parents may enroll for just one week or for the entirety by contacting the Therapy Programs Office at (626)564-0330, ext. 419. Visit  

For more information on local summer camps, visit the city’s 2014 Summer Camp Guide at


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