Best Kids Summer Camps In Southwest Missouri

Help your child develop character, learn life skills and discover new interests. No matter what your child is into, there’s a summer camp for every kid in and around the Ozarks.

Mar 01 2022 at 8 a.m.

417 Magazine's Kids Camps
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Summer is a magical time for kids. School's out and the opportunities feel endless. Keep them active, physically and mentally, while you also help them develop character, learn life skills and discover new interests. No matter what your child is into, there’s something for every kid at one of these summer camps in and around the Ozarks.

young boy and girl at Cub Creek Science Camp with a Ringtail Lemur
Photo courtesy Cub Creek Science Camp

Cub Creek Science Camp

16795 State Hwy E., Rolla, 573-458-2125

Imagine a summer camp where kids eat breakfast in the company of Ring-tailed Lemurs, zoom down a zip-line and kiss a Camel before lunch, try their hand at making pottery on the wheel in the afternoon, and play a camp-wide game of Capture the Flag after dinner. Cub Creek Science Camp is that camp! With over 300 animals, a 6-element ropes course, archery and riflery ranges, and activities in arts and crafts, digital photography, chemistry, entomology, crime science, pottery, culinary science and more, we are not your average summer camp. Cub Creek Science Camp is dedicated to creating lifelong memories, cultivating and nurturing friendships, and enriching the lives of all campers ages 7–17. After 25 years, we have had campers join us from all over the world, facilitated thousands of strong and lasting friendships, and introduced countless individuals to some of the wonderful animals we share this planet with. Foxes, lemurs, alpacas, miniature horses, parrots, lizards, armadillos, sloths, ferrets, porcupines, pigs, and snakes are just a few of the 100+ different kinds of animals we love, care for and nurture right here at camp. Facilities are air-conditioned and meals are served buffet style with alternative meal options available. Give us a call at 573-458-2125; and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Kids at Discovery Center summer camp in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Discovery Center

Discovery Center

438 E. St. Louis St., Springfield417-862-9910

Isn’t it time we just let kids be kids? Reignite their love of learning after a long school year at the Discovery Center’s in-person summer camps with everything kids love, like NERF, space exploration, video games and more!

The Discovery Center is the perfect weather-proof summer camp destination with over 15 hands-on camps that run all summer long for kids ages 5–14. Campers will turn up the heat in the kitchen and learn the science of cooking, build new inventions from old tech, explore the colorful world of Dr. Seuss, gear up for outdoor adventures and be wowed through hands-on learning. The Discovery Center provides inspiring education that kids love at a price that’s an easy parenting win.

Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 23 through August 26, with additional extended care options available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You’ll leave them in good hands with small classroom sizes at a guaranteed 1:10 staff-to-child ratio. They’ll experience a summer to remember from and an award-winning team with recent features in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

Discovery Center members can save $50 on each camp registration! Best of all, every membership helps support the Discovery Center’s nonprofit mission to bring world-class experiences through cutting edge science while inspiring curiosity and a life-long love of learning to learners of all ages. Spots are limited and camps can sell out quickly, so don’t regret waiting and register today at

Summer Camp at Discovery Garden Montessori School in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Discovery Garden Montessori School

Discovery Garden Montessori School

1515 S. National Ave., Springfield417-631-4590

A summer full of fun and learning is just around the corner at the Discovery Garden Montessori Summer Camp! This camp invites children from the ages of 16 months to 5th grade to join in the fun from June 6 to July 29 for an unforgettable summer. Camp hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a half-day option available, too. The summer camp also offers the option to sign up for one week at a time or the entire summer for your convenience. During their week-long experience, kids will have the opportunity to enjoy themed camps that explore STEM projects, art and music, creative movement and world cultures, as well as to participate in an assortment of exciting summer fun activities with Montessori teaching techniques and hands-on learning. Register now to give your kids an amazing summer full of fun, learning and making new friends!

Girl Scouts of America Summer Camps, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Girl Scouts of Missouri Heartland

Girl Scouts Summer Camp

Adventure outdoors this summer with Girl Scouts! Summer camp is all about her. That means—we have a summer camp experience for every girl! Whether she wants to spend her summer defending against the dark arts or creating her own life-sized board games, her summer camp adventure can be found in the Missouri Heartland.

You can even make it a family affair! Family Camping is available so everyone can join in on the fun. During these two-day, one night camping opportunities, families enjoy camp traditions together. Held at four of our program centers, family camp is close to home, while allowing your family to unplug and escape to the outdoors.

Not a Girl Scout? $25 gets one girl one full year of amazing Girl Scout adventures! Financial aid is available. Visit to learn more and register for your next big, bold adventure!

Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy Springfield Little Theatre

Springfield Little Theatre

311 E. Walnut St., Springfield417-869-3869 x21

Let your child try something they’ve never tried before, or follow their passion and improve their craft at Springfield Little Theatre!

SLT offers multiple one-week and two-week summer workshops during the months of May through August. These camps serve beginner to advanced students ages four to 18. SLT is proud to provide enriching, entertaining and exciting summer theatre camp experiences in acting, musical theatre, dance, performance, technical theatre, film, or theatre administration for every child who participates.

Youth involvement at Springfield Little Theatre encourages a love and respect for the community, the arts and all aspects of theatricality. It promotes discipline and the pursuit of excellence, and also provides an outlet for friendship and fun!

Program spots are limited. A detailed listing of offerings, descriptions, and registration information can be found at

Summer School with Springfield Public Schools
Photo courtesy Springfield Public Schools

Springfield Public Schools

Elementary & Middle School |

Expand your mind with Explore, our exciting, free summer program offering students fun and engaging learning experiences. When you explore with Explore, you have opportunities to expand your knowledge in new and exciting subjects. No matter your grade level or interests, our program offers something for every student! Elementary programs include Meet Me at the Fair, Olympic Tour, and Life Lab. Additionally, artwork classes for grades 3–5 are offered in three locations.

Middle school students can choose from a variety of classes, including coding, outdoor survival skills, aquatic adventures, and many more. Bonus: for the first time, a Middle School Fine Arts Academy is also available for grades 6-8 for students interested in music, theater, visual arts, dance, creative writing and more!

• Elementary school hours are 8:20 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. (except for Hickory Hills, Pleasant View and Westport).
• Middle school hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Free meals and bus transportation are available for eligible students.
• Elementary and middle school students may choose from in-person or online classes.
• Seated classes are offered June 6–July 15. Online classes are offered June 6–30 and July 5–29.

Learn more, or enroll online now.

Summer School with Springfield Public Schools
Photo courtesy Springfield Public Schools

Springfield Public Schools

High School |

Wondering how high school students benefit from taking a Launch virtual class in the summer? Here is a list of ways!

Number one: opportunity.
With more than 100 high school classes available, students have the opportunity to earn a credit that’s required for graduation, make up a credit or even add an extra college prep class to their transcript. This means they’ll have more room in their schedules for next year, and more opportunities to take classes that interest them!

Number two: flexibility.
Thanks to the flexible structure of Launch courses, students can log on and work at a time that’s convenient for them. This means that there’s still time to sleep in, relax by the pool or work a summer job. Oh, and speaking of work—students can get credit for that, too! Launch has courses that allow students to earn credit while working or volunteering.

Launch virtual courses are a part of Explore with Springfield Public Schools and are offered during two sessions. You can check out Launch’s complete list of course options and enroll in free classes available to any high school student in the area at You can also call 417-523-0417 for more information.

SPARC Ritter Springs Day Camp
Photo courtesy Springfield-Greene County Park BoardSPARC Ritter Springs Day Camp

Springfield-Greene County Park Board


Sign up for summer-long SPARC day camps. Camps include games, crafts, sports, nature activities, and team building. Drop off/Pick-up at Disney or Bowerman Elementary or Glendale High School. Choose from several SPARC school sites or get in nature and build forts and play in the creek at Ritter Springs. Summer Quest day camps are for ages 11–14. Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park offers several different week-long full-day camps for ages 6–12, and half-day camps for 4–5-year-olds. Before and after camp childcare available for an additional fee. The Parks have many additional programs this summer. All Park Board Camps will follow CDC guidelines and work closely with the Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. Visit for more.

Young boy at Camp Raven at The Summit Preparatory School in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy The Summit Preparatory School

Camp Raven at The Summit Preparatory School

202 E. Walnut Lawn St., Springfield, 417-869-8077

Enroll your children to spend their summer at The Summit with Camp Raven! These weekly camps provide a fun, safe and stimulating way to continue learning over the summer break. Each camp, led by talented and enthusiastic instructors, focuses on a central theme from explorations in STEM and art, to music and movement. Campers will have fun while learning and making new friends! Weekly camps are available for students in pre-K through fifth grade. Pop-up sessions are also available for middle and high school students. To learn more about 2022 camp offerings, morning and afternoon schedules, and pricing, please visit Space is limited, so don’t delay—register today!

Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Wonders of Wildlife

Wonders of Wildlife

500 W. Sunshine St., Springfield417-225-1162

Dive in with a Summer Camp EdVenture at Wonders of Wildlife. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of some of the wildest places on earth and learn about the many creatures that call Wonders of Wildlife home. From mid-May to August, campers will test out their survival skills, encounter live animals, explore nature and create lasting memories. From kindergarten to high school, your campers will learn through games, crafts, experiments and more, it will be a summer they will never forget! For more information and to register, visit

YMCA Camp Wakonda, Missouri
Photo courtesy YMCA

YMCA Camp Wakonda

22237 Lawrence 2080, Ash Grove417-491-4206

Do you want your children to enjoy their summer building friendships, learning new skills and participating in activities that will gain lifetime experience? YMCA's Camp Wakonda strives to provide campers of all ages the best experience of their year in an outdoor setting.

The heart of YMCA Camp Wakonda is a close-knit group of campers led by mature, caring counselors who share a variety of fun, exciting and safe activities. They are located just 30 minutes west of Springfield. Camp offers activities including archery, canoeing, swimming, 300-foot zip line, arts and crafts, rock climbing, basketball, field games, outdoor cooking, ropes course and so much more!

From the first week of June through the first week of August, campers going into third grade through senior year of high school can enjoy a week at YMCA Camp Wakonda. Your campers will develop personal growth through challenges and activities each day. They'll end the week feeling impacted by every experience that camp has to offer. A week at YMCA Camp Wakonda will easily be the best week of their year!

For more information, you can visit or their Facebook page: YMCA Camp Wakonda. Be sure to register now!