21 Affordable Summer Camps for Philadelphia Families

Eleven weeks. That’s how long your Philly public school kid has off from school for this summer, and roughly the same if you are in a public charter or private school as well. While you could see this as a great bonding time with your kids (and it is!), there is one problem: it’s just so. much. time! And if you're a working parent you need a way to fill the days that doesn't mean sitting in front of a tech device vegging out while you try to get work done. That’s where summer camps come in to save the day. Teaching your kids new skills, helping them form new friendships, and burning off the copious amounts of energy.

But summer camp can be a major burden on the wallet. Fortunately, there are a number of local summer camps and programs that make enrollment much more manageable. Whether they want to learn more about science and technology, grow as an artist, or gain athletic skills, there is an affordable camp for every age and interest.

To help you make your selections, we’ve rounded up a great list of free or affordable summer camps (using the cap of $350 per week as the highest limit) that you can use to help keep your kids entertained and engaged all summer long. Most camp registrations are on a week to week basis. For more ideas, check out our Camp Guide.

1. Portside Arts Center

Dates: Art Camp June 22- July 3 and August 10- 21, 2020, Art Studio July 6-24
Ages: 4-6 (Minnows), 7-9 (Sharks), and 10-13 (Pirates)
Hours: 8:30 AM- 3:30 PM 
Price:$225-$325 per week + additional fees for before and aftercare
Portside offers a summer art camp experience using a combination of materials and skills. Campers learn techniques in drawing, painting, printmaking, clay sculpture, mosaic, collage, and fiber arts. Each day children will play at Cione Rec Center, plus a weekly cultural field trip to places such as Smith Playground and Insectarium. Older children will also get to swim on Fridays and the little minnows enjoy weekly dance parties. New this year is the Summer Art Studio in July which takes a more immersive theme-related art exploration, including field trips. 

2. Schuylkill Center Nature Camps

Dates: June 15- August 21, 2020
Ages: 6-12
Hours: 9 AM- 3:30 PM
Price: Non-member $315-$350 per week
Give your kids the gift of nature without ever leaving the city limits with camp at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Campers explore and learn about nature and environmentalism. Some weeks offer a field trip, for an additional $25 fee. Both before and aftercare is available. Camp is also offered for ages 3-5, but falls outside of our "budget" parameters. 

3. Soccer Shots Summer Camp at Smith

Dates: August 24-28, 2020
Ages: 4- 9
Hours: 9 AM- 12 Noon
Price: $200
This summer, the national Soccer Shots program is offering a week-long camp experience at Smith Memorial Playground. Camp includes soccer instruction, scrimmages, and games.

4. Briar Bush Nature Center

Dates: June 10-August 30, 2019
Ages: 2-15
Hours: Vary by program
Price: $168-$400 per week
Half-day camps, full-day camps, and overnight camps are all available at Briar Bush Nature Center. Many fit into our "affordable" category at under $350 for the week, but the overnight and older kid camps may be over that pricepoint. Younger campers (aged 2-4) must register with an adult.

Photo courtesy of Flipped Out Productions

5. Flip Out Productions

Dates: June 8- August 21, 2020 (excluding June 28-July 4)
Ages: 4-14
Hours: 9AM - 3PM
Price: $275-$300 per week
An active summer program is in store for your future gymnast, with a focus on gymnastics, yoga, arts and crafts, and more.

6. Independence Seaport Museum

Dates: June 22-August 14, 2020
Ages: 6-12
Hours: 9 AM- 3 PM
Price: Early bird $330 per week, $355 after May 1. Discounts are available for museum members
You children will learn about the history of the Philadelphia waterways during these themed weekly camps. Some single day camps are available during the week of July 4th. The Museum offers teen camp opportunities as well.

7. Northern Liberties Arts

Dates: June 22-July 3, and August 17-28, 2020
Ages: K-4, and 5-8 grades
Hours: 8:30 AM- 5:30 PM
Price: $150-195 per week depending on age
Each of the four weeks provides a chance to gain hands-on art experience, with the goal of a project created within the week. The Middle School program is extra special, creating a movie each week with Poet Lindo.

8. Fleisher Art Memorial Camp

Dates: June 20-July 30, 2020
Ages: 5-18
Hours: Half and Full-day options are available.
Price: $180-$350 per week
This camp offers many options for children. From themed art for younger kids to figure drawing for older ones, classes provide a place for imagination and creativity.

9. PAFA Summer Art Camp

Dates: June 22- August 14, 2020
Ages: 4-15
Hours: 9 AM- 3 PM
Price: $350 per week with discounts for members
PAFA summer camp includes hands-on art experiences as well as field trips to studios within the school and around the city. Sessions are designed for all skill levels. Aftercare is available on a daily or weekly basis for an additional fee.

10. Arden Theatre

Dates: Weeks of June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10, and August 17, 2020
Ages: Grades 1-5
Hours: 9:30 AM- 4:30 PM
Price: $350 per week; discount offered for additional weeks
Arden offers one and two week-long camps for children in Grades 1-5. Additional weeks are offered at a discount. There are five different themes each week as well as specialty camps for musical theatre, comedy, dance, and design.


11. Penn Museum Anthropologists in the Making

Dates: June 22- August 17, 2020
Ages: Grades K-8
Hours: 9 AM- 3 PM
Price: $300-320
Campers explore themes such as myth and legends, understand the key components of anthropology, and tour the galleries. Through these week-long sessions, campers also gain important insights into the diversity of our ancestors and history. Penn Museum offers a Junior Summer Camp for children who are 6 years old. Before and aftercare is available.


12. Yes! And...Collaborative

Dates: July 6 - August 28, 2020
Ages: 7-13
Hours: 9 AM- 3 PM
Price: $320
Kids from Kindergarten to 4th grade participate in Imagination Camp, a summer performing arts camp specifically designed for younger students by laying a foundation for effective collaboration. For those entering 5th-8th grade, students will participate in acting, dance/movement, visual arts, storytelling/playwriting, all of which will be on display in a final performance created, produced, and performed by the campers!


13. Pinnacle Parkour

Dates: June 15-August 28, 2020
Ages: 6-15
Hours: 8:30 AM- 12:30 AM
Price: $250-350
At Pinnacle Parkour, your children will learn the essential skill of failure, following Ukemi - The Discipline of Falling. where students learn how to fail safely, building important skills along the way.​


14. Newlin Grist Mill

Dates: July 6-10, July 20-24, and August 3-7, 2020
Ages: 4-12
Hours: 8:30 AM- 12:30 AM
Price: $150-$200
Children are separated in age groups (4-9 and 10-12) for this half-day camp experience. Newlin Grist Mill also offers a number of afternoon adventures for the family, which are held in the latter part of the day.


15. Palmyra Cove Nature Park

Dates: July 6-17, 2020
Ages: Entering Grades 1-8
Hours: 9 AM-1 PM
Price: $140-200
The mission of the program is for students to feel a sense of environmental responsibility and campers get a chance to participate in hands-on, outdoor play and exploration. Membership is included with registration if you are not already a member.


16. ZoomDance Summer Camp

Dates: July 6- September 4, 2020
Ages: 3- 7
Hours: 9 AM- 3 PM
Price: $200-$300
ZoomDance Camp really burns off the energy for your fun-loving young kids. Kids experience music and dance classes, and also yoga, art projects, and a chance to visit local playgrounds and pools. Register by the day or by the week, and save when you register before April 30.


17. Rock to the Future Summer Music Camps

Dates: August 10-14, 2020 (GuitarStars) and August 17-21, 2020 (Rock*A*delphia)
Ages: 7-12 (GuitarStars) or 12-17 (Rock*A*delphia)
Hours: 9 AM- 4 PM
Price: $250; Free for low income
Kids learn or develop music skills with camps designed to inspire. Instruments are provided for students to learn guitar, drums, bass, or keyboard. Camp ends when student-formed bands present live for families and friends. Rock to the Future Summer Music Camps are free for low-income Philadelphia youth. (A scholarship application must be filled out and approved.) Early drop off and late pick up is available. Registration is open to the first 40 applicants.

Photo courtesy of Briar Bush Nature Center

18. YMCA

Dates: Vary by location throughout the entire summer
Ages: 4 and up
Hours: Varies by location and age
Price: Vary by location
With multiple locations throughout the Philadelphia Region, you can easily find a summer camp with the Y that fits your interests and budget. YMCA camp programs focus on social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual development. All campers must be current Y members but you can register your membership when you sign up for camps. Check your local listings for more details.


19. Apple Camp

Dates: Vary by location
Ages: 8-12
Hours: Vary by location
Price: Free
Apple offers free day camps at different Apple store locations in the Delaware Valley allowing students to create characters and compose music; make stories in motion with iMovie, or code games, and program robots. Be sure to check availability at your local Apple Stores and register early as these events fill up fast.


20. GSK Science in the Summer

Dates: Vary by location
Ages: Grades 2-6
Hours: Vary by location
Price: Free
Free certainly fits the affordability factor. GSK offers this summer camp for kids who are entering grades 2-6. Space is limited and camps fill up quickly so be sure to contact your local venue to see how they handle registration. More information will be available in April with official registration opening May 4, 2020


21. Philadelphia Parks and Rec

Dates: Vary by location
Ages: 4-12
Hours: Vary by location
Price: $25 and up
With rec departments across the city, more than 100 neighborhood day camps are available at affordable rates. Specialty camps include teen camps, performing and visual art camps, camps for people with disabilities, as well as arts and crafts, and more. Use the department's finder tool to locate a summer program near you.

Updated for 2020

Palmyra Cove
1335 Route 73 South
Palmyra, NJ 08065

Flip Out Productions
2757 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19134

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)
128 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

Penn Museum
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA

Rock to the Future
2139 E. Cumberland St
Philadelphia, PA

Portside Arts
2531 E Lehigh Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
8480 Hagy’s Mill Road
Philadelphia, PA

Smith Memorial Playground
3500 Reservoir Dr.
Philadelphia, PA

1802 S. Broad Street Equilibrium Dance Studio
Philadelphia, PA

Northern Liberties Arts
700 N 3rd St,
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Tyler Arboretum
515 Painter Road
Media, PA 19063

Newlin Grist Mill
219 South Cheyney Road
Glen Mills, PA 19342

Arden Theatre Company
40 North 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Independence Seaport Museum
211 S. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Briar Bush Nature Center
1212 Edge Hill Rd
Abington, PA 19001

Yes! And… Collaborative Arts
21 W. Washington Lane
Philadelphia , PA 19144

Pinnacle Parkour Academy Philadelphia
3500 Scotts Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19129
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