Editor’s Note: Did we miss your summer program? Email us at email@example.com and we will review your submission for addition to this mid-summer guide.
Summer is a time for exploration and adventure, a time for all of us to expand horizons. And if you happen to be young of age as well as young at heart, San Antonio has an abundance of summer programs designed to inspire and nourish minds in formation. So whether your child has artistic leanings, or prefers computer coding to paintbrushes, there’s something for everyone.
Art Classes and Events
Running every week now through August 18, the Southwest School of Art’s remarkable array of classes teach children serious artistic skills in the beautiful setting of the historic Ursuline Campus. Upcoming courses include tapestry weaving, doll making, and one enticingly entitled “The Artist’s Journal.”
Various camps offered through Aug. 18, ages 5-18.
For those not quite ready for the summer to end, Saturday Morning Discovery is a free introductory art experience offered on Saturday mornings during the school year. Local artists and teachers will introduce children to a variety of artistic expressions, including ceramics, drawing, paining, pinhole photography, silk-screening, stained glass, origami and more. Parents are invited to work alongside their children. The month-long sessions meet every Saturday from 9:30 – 11:30, and require advance registration.
Month-long sessions offered throughout the school year, ages 5 – 17
Every Friday at the Twig Bookstore, Miss Anastasia presents her story time for children of all ages, beginning at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. This longtime local institution is free and always delightful.
Every Friday all summer, all ages.
Future thespians and performers can hone their skills while expanding their imaginations at the Magik Theatre’s ever-popular “Camp Showbiz.” Each session culminates in a performance for parents.
Various camps offered through Aug. 18, ages 3-17.
This comprehensive summer music camp emphasizes both instrumental skills and performance through the ever-engaging medium of rock n’ roll. Children learn guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and keyboards, and show off their talents in a concert at the end of every session. The camp caters to all levels of experience, from beginners on up.
Various camps offered through Aug. 11, ages 7-18.
Throughout the summer, the Magik Theatre will be putting on free plays at Pearl Park, including Rumpelstilskin, Goldilocks, and the Three Little Pigs.
Various Tuesdays through Sept. 19, all ages.
Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at various locations throughout town, H-E-B offers Free Family Art Day, designed for children of all ages and their families to explore various art projects and mediums. The events draw inspiration from children’s literature, cultural celebrations, famous artists, and more.
Saturdays through Aug. 12, all ages.
This year’s theme for the San Antonio Public Library’s annual summer reading program is “Build a Better World.” There are weekly sessions as well as special events (including “play and learn” events at various parks) for children, teens, and adults, held at various public libraries throughout San Antonio.
Through August, programs available for all ages.
Community Programs and Events
Although not specifically designed for children, the Saga is appropriate for all ages and a wonderful way to teach young ones about San Antonio history. The setup alone is inspiring – a video is projected over the face of the San Fernando Cathedral. The event is free and open to the public.
Every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 10 p.m., all ages.
Outdoor Programs and Activities
What better way to pass a childhood summer than out in nature? The Botanical Gardens offer several botanically inspired classes throughout the summer, available for ages 6-18 (don’t be jealous, parents – they have adult classes, too). Courses include a Chef Camp, where children will learn to craft recipes with ingredients from the culinary garden, and a Science Camp that promises “pond dipping, water analysis, photosynthesis” and more.
Various camps offered through Aug. 11, ages 3-18.
Particularly popular during the Saturday Farmers Market, the newly opened fountains at the Pearl are perpetually chorused by the delighted laughter and shrieks of young children. Little ones can run amongst jets that spurt spontaneously from the ground, while parents sit comfortably at nearby tables enjoying treats from Local Coffee and Bakery Lorraine.
Open every day, no ages specified but particularly popular with the under-5 set.
From courses on camouflage to those on conservation, the San Antonio Zoo has a variety of themed camps available this summer, perfect for your budding naturalist. Children will get a behind-the-scenes look at zoo operations, close-up animal encounters, and also enjoy themed activities, games, and art projects.
Through August, grades Kindergarten-9th.
If your child is more interested in the sea than land, look no further than Sea World’s summer camps. Children will learn how to care for park animals while discovering the life aquatic. They’ll also enjoy animal shows and close-up animal encounters.
Through Aug. 19, ages 3-12.
While their weekly stargazing walks in the park have sadly been suspended due to light pollution in the city, SALSA is still hosting occasional parties to celebrate remarkable astronomical events (eclipses and meteor showers) throughout the summer.
Occasional events, all ages welcome.
Hemisfair’s delightful Yanaguana Garden are the perfect place to get out and play this summer. If you’re looking for an excuse to try the park out, plan around one of their events, which include art- and fitness-themed programs.
Open year-round, all ages.
Every first Saturday, Hemisfair park hosts a free family-oriented event day, with crafts, games and more.
The first Saturday of every month, all ages
The Cibolo Nature Center and Farm in Boerne hosts a variety of children’s programs throughout the summer, all of which encourage curiosity and discovery in the natural world. Specific classes include those on science, art, farming, and survival. All are an excellent way to get children outdoors and inspired.
Through Aug. 4, ages 5-12.
Throughout the remainder of the summer (and into the school year) Phil Hardberger Park is hosting a variety of kid-focused events. Themes include birds, bats, bears, bees, spiders, geology, healing herbs, and biking safety, among others. Most days are free but require registration.
August 1 – December 9, various ages
The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center has a variety of bird-related programs and events for children throughout the summer, including academic programs, guided bird watching, and family-friendly bird migration celebrations.
Events throughout the summer, for all ages.
Get the whole family outdoors with one of SANA’s summer events, centered around topics such as weeds, bees, and insects. They also have poetry days, breakfasts, family hikes, and scavenger hunts (or you can explore on your own at any time). Participating parks include Crownridge Canyon, Eisenhower Park, Friedrich Park, Hardberger Park, the Medina River Natural Area, and Walker Ranch, so you’re bound to find a nearby spot to enjoy.
If the natural areas aren’t enough, San Antonio has literally hundreds of free parks to explore, as well as over 150 miles of city-wide trails. Just don’t forget the water and sunscreen.
If your child is a little more inspired by technology than nature, why not put those interests to good use by enrolling them in Kids Code 2 Learn? The course teaches invaluable computer programing skills for third through eighth graders, with classes focused on game design, animation, “creative coding” through art music and math, and even Minecraft Modding.
Through August, grades 3rd-8th.
The newly re-opened Witte Museum offers several classes for children ages 6-12, all of which sound so appealing that it’s tempting to list every one. Each week has a theme, with courses catering to different age groups: living off the land, what goes on behind the scenes at a museum, dinosaurs, and meteorology. Their summer events are pretty exciting, too.
Various camps offered through Aug. 4, ages 6-12.
Naturally, the Children’s DoSeum hosts a variety of activities throughout the summer, all of which make clever use of the museum’s unique and entirely kid-focused setting and amenities. Classes include an early childhood coding class, an “Invention Lab” for ages 7-8, and robotics and engineering classes for older children. What’s more, the museum proudly offers scholarships for qualifying families.
Various camps offered through Aug. 18, ages 3-10.
The Children’s Association for Maximum Potential hosts overnight summer camps for disabled children and adults at their beautiful Center Point ranch in the Hill Country. Activities including horseback riding, swimming, music, sports, and outdoor cooking, all modified to suit individual camper’s needs.
Programs available throughout the summer, ages 5-50.
If you have a precocious toddler on your hands, consider the Heintz Preschool Literacy Camp, located at Congregation Agudas Achim. Every week focuses on a new book, and days also include play breaks outside in the water.
Various programs available through Aug. 11, ages 18 months-8 years.
The rival tech giants both offer free summer programs for children, teaching everything from game coding to moviemaking (as well as use of their respective products).
Various programs available throughout the summer, ages 8-12.
Free admission for ages 19 and under always applies. Adults receive free admission on the first Sunday of every month, and every Thursday from 4-9 p.m.
Year-round free admission to children under 12, and to all active military and their families (up to four people). Tuesday nights are also free for everyone, between 4-9 p.m., with special programs, music, and more.
Free admission for everyone on the second Sunday of each month, noon-5 p.m.
Free admission on Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon. Children under 12 are always free. Check online for additional special events with free admission, including several child-focused events.
Free admission every Tuesday from 3-8 p.m., with special activities and programming.
Free admission the first and third Tuesday of every month during the summer, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (only the first 1,500 guests will be admitted).
Always free for everyone.
Always free for everyone.
Always free for everyone.
Always free for everyone.
Sports and Play
Free Summer Reading Programs
This story was originally published on July 8, 2017.