Plan now if you want happy campers this summer

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As that classic art house Bill Murray film Meatballs implores us, "Are you ready for the summer?"

We know it sounds odd to people reaching for a sweater, but now is the time that savvy parents secure their spots in the cooler summer camps for their kids — even by April, it's too late for some of the better ones.

The staff at Go, Momma magazine, a sister publication of tbt* and the St. Petersburg Times, have assembled a list of more than 90 summer camps in the Tampa Bay area, from the deals to the downright hip.

Among our favorites:

Camp Cigma Magician's Camp: Day camp that teaches magic, performing arts, juggling, mime and balloon art for ages 7-13. It's $600-$710 per three-week session from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Sudakoff Center at New College of Florida in Sarasota. (941-377-3971, campcigma.com)

Circle C Ranch Academy and Summer Camp: Send your city slickers off to a dude ranch experience where kids learn to ride horses and care for farm animals. There's also swimming and other thematic activities. Ages 1-15. $180/week. 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Extra care free. Drop off at 6204 Interbay Blvd., Tampa, or at the camp site in Inverness. June 8-Aug. 10. Two overnight camps available for Monday through Friday, $350. (813-831-8429, circlecranchacademy.com)

Destination Aviation: Forget macrame pot holders, these kids get to fly a plane! Explore the world of aviation through science, careers and technology. All students have a chance to fly an aircraft with a flight instructor near the end of the week. Ages 11-18. It's $250 per week for day camp of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $625/week for weeklong residential camp (Sunday through Friday) Scholarships available. Florida Air Museum at Sun 'n Fun Campus, 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland. (863-904-4073, floridaairmuseum.org)

Hazley's Academy Fashion Summer: Little divas in training get a half-day camp that offers runway modeling, make-up, dressing skills, etiquette and more. Ages 4-14. Two- and three-week sessions available starting June 8 at $350 per three-week session. Extra care available. 6152 126th Ave. N, Suite 504, Largo. (727-519-8727, hazley.com)

Mangrove Marcus Adventure Camp: Makes use of our beaches and shores for a fun-filled week of snorkeling, fishing and exploring the Tampa Bay area. Ages 8-12. $75/session. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Extra care available. Dates, drop-off and pick-up locations to be determined. (813-274-7338, tampagov.net/parksandrec).

NoiseMakers' Rock 'n' Roll Summer Camps: Put down the Guitar Hero game and pick up the real thing. Campers will learn the basics on how to play guitar, drums, keyboards, bass, ukulele and more. There will also be interactive games, song writing, music reading, instrument making and lots of listening to music from around the world. Each session will end with a concert on a local stage. Ages 5-12. $225/week, includes T-shirt, musical instrument, class photograph, CD of child's own music and more. Four weekly half-day sessions between June and August at 5900 Central Ave., Suite K, St. Petersburg. (727-345-7472, noise-makers.org)

Sharon Kennedy Wynne is a blogger on the parenting blog Go, Momma and can be reached at swynne@tampabay.com or on the blog at blogs.tampabay.com/moms.

For more information

Get the full list: Go to the Whoa, Momma! blog at blogs.tampabay.com/moms. Click on the blog headlined "Momma has the big, fat list of summer camps"

Get the magazine: To find a location to pick up a copy of Go Momma magazine, go to tampabay.com/gomomma and click on the location finder.

Plan now if you want happy campers this summer 02/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 16, 2009 4:27pm]

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