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Art Garage photo courtesy Lucy Beaugard

2019 Family Favorites: Camps & Lessons

From summer camps to after-school programs, extracurricular activities allow kids to pursue their unique interests in educational and fun ways. Here’s a selection of standout programs our readers suggest.

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Table of Contents:

Art Studio or Craft Center

Top Five

The Winner

Art Garage

Parents love the quality instruction and patient staff at Art Garage, whether they are there for a birthday party or classes. Students learn about the fundamentals of art, famous artists, and different art styles in an environment that encourages creative self-expression. A nonprofit, Art Garage believes that art should be accessible to all and provides outreach to at-risk and underserved communities. 6100 E. 23rd Ave, Denver


Family favorites special needs camp
Try therapeutic recreation options through the Highlands Ranch Community Association. Photo courtesy Highlands Ranch Community Association

Special Needs Camp or Class

Top Five

The Winner

Highlands Ranch Community Association Therapeutic Recreation

Certified specialists with Highlands Ranch Community Association Therapeutic Recreation facilitate activities to enhance the lives of people with special needs. The programs are designed to challenge the participants and support their independence. Classes offered this spring and summer include yoga, hip-hop, Taekwondo, swimming, basketball, soccer, Lego Camp with STEM Challenge, and Special Olympics tennis. Four recreation center locations, Highlands Ranch

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STEM/STEAM Class or Camp

Top Five

The Winner

Silicon STEM Academy

Silicon STEM Academy’s programs offer kids ages seven to 18 hands-on, interactive learning. Choose from summer camps featuring coding, electronics, digital media, and game design, in weeklong full- or half-day formats. There are coding boot camps, school enrichment classes, and game nights, too, at which curious, like-minded kids can gather. 4201 E. Yale Ave., Suite 130, Denver


family favorites sports camp
Kids can learn mountain biking at Avid$ Adventure’s camps. Photo courtesy Avid4 Adventure

Sports Camp

Top Five*

The Winner

Avid4 Adventure

Kids looking for outdoor adventure sports can choose from Avid4 Adventure’s mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, or stand-up paddleboarding, or select a camp where they get to try a different sport each day at a different location. Paired with superior attention to detail and friendly staff, kids who participate in the programs will be motivated to take on new physical challenges and skills all summer. 12 metro Denver locations

* Tie occurred in this category


Day Camp

Top Five

The Winner

Kathy’s Kamp Summer Camp

Offered as an alternative to childcare, Kathy’s Kamp provides many traditional summer camp experiences to students who might not otherwise be able to experience them. A program of the Families Forward Resource Center, Kathy’s Kamp offers cooking classes, arts and crafts, sports, a talent show, and other educational opportunities for children ages five to 14, all summer long. 6750 N. Dunkirk St., Aurora


Family Favorites overnight camps
Camp Chief Ouray gives kids traditional overnight camp experiences in the Rocky Mountains. Photo courtesy YMCA of the Rockies

Overnight Camp

Top Winner

The Winner

Camp Chief Ouray

Kids can’t get a better view of the Milky Way over the Rocky Mountains than when they stay at Camp Chief Ouray. Campers love the white water rafting, archery, high ropes course, and horses, as well as the ukulele music program. The camp offers programs to develop young leaders, too, including a trip to London and a three-week backcountry skills program this summer. 1101 County Rd. 53, Granby (on the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch property)

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Musical Instruction

Top Five

The Winner

School of Rock

School of Rock’s enthusiastic instructors are dedicated to helping students become proficient on their instruments. They offer private guitar, drum, singing, bass guitar, and keyboard/piano lessons at a variety of levels, to prepare kids to perform live. Parents say it’s a great place for their kids to find connection and community with other young, like-minded rock musicians. Six metro Denver locations


Acting Lessons

Top Five

The Winner

Colorado Children’s Theatre

At Colorado Children’s Theatre, every student is guaranteed to have lines, a solo, and an overall more personal theater education within their small classes. Students perform full musical theater productions, and private voice, acting, and dance lessons are also available. The experienced staff focuses on the real-life lessons on which acting can build, including trust, connection, and hard work. Four metro Denver locations


Dance Studio

Top Five

The Winner

Denver Academy of Ballet

Families choose Denver Academy of Ballet for the individual attention and small class sizes, plus fun performance opportunities and community events for the whole family, both in and out of the studio. To ensure proper growth and technique at each dance level, all classes include a planned syllabus, under the direction of highly trained, professional dancers. 6874 S. University Blvd., Centennial

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