Columbus Youth Camp, once known for week-long getaways of summer bliss, has shifted toward a Twitter-style approach to teaching and entertaining today’s youngsters.

That means short bursts of outdoor fun and education offered in day camps or single-session possibilities at the 137-acre wooded property.

As appetites for week-long adventures changed, so have the camp’s offerings, said Todd Harris, camp director. This summer, for example, youth can experience sediment rock painting or learn to build outdoor living shelters.

Some week-long activities still exist at other venues, however, giving local families plenty of options based on time, cost and interests.

If you haven’t made plans for summer yet, here’s a list to get you started.

Columbus Youth Camp

12454 W. Youth Camp Road, west of Columbus

Outdoor living shelters: One to two hours, various days. Information: 812-372-7867 or

Field Trip Week: June 23 to 27, ranging from Bloomington’s WonderLab to the Indianapolis Zoo. Times are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. various days. Field trip fee is $10 plus any weekly fees. Information: 812-372-7867 or

Donner Aquatic Center

739 22nd St., Columbus

Public swimming: Begins May 23. Hours: 1 to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 6 p.m. weekends.

Special swim: Adapted aquatic instruction for those ages 5 to 18 with special needs. 10:15 and 11:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays June 9 to July 23. Cost: $40.

Information: 812-376-2683 or

Bartholomew County Historical Society

Columbus and Hope office locations

Spring on the Farm: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14-15, $2 per person. The society and Hauser Junior High School eighth graders explore 200 years of fun at the Henry Breeding Farm north of Columbus near Edinburgh. Activities include historic crafts, butter churning, 19th century games, hand tools, blacksmithing, fashions through time and engines. Groups should register in advance by calling 812-372-3541.


309 Washington St., Columbus

This year’s 17 camp offerings, including five new ones, are structured for youngsters ages 4 to 12. Programs include five Lego camps, among the more popular options, according to the museum’s Diane Robbins. But timing matters on registration for much of kidscommons schedule. Four camps already boast waiting lists.

Jr. Camp Experience: 9 a.m. to noon June 29 to July 2. Cost: $95 for members and $110 for non-members. Museum staff sees this as “a great intro” to the day camp experience for 4- to 7-year-olds because it highlights a new theme each day.

BOOM Science: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. July 6 to 10. Cost: $110 for members and $125 for non-members. Experiments with chemistry, physics and other things that can go boom. Information: 812-378-3046 or

The Commons James A. Henderson Playground

300 Washington St., Columbus. Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Hamilton Community Center & Ice Arena

2501 Lincoln Park Drive in Columbus.

Summer public skating: Now through Aug. 1. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 7 to 9 p.m. Friday; 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Hamilton Center Variety Camp: July 22 to 24. Cost: $40. For children 5 and older, a mix of basic skating, figure skating, hockey and speed skating.

Information: 812-376-2686.

Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Center

ACT (Active and Creative Training), a new program using theater for youngsters to help them build skills from confidence to creativity. Taught by professional actor Jill Tasker. Every Monday from June 8 through July 27. For fourth- through sixth-graders, 10 to 11 a.m. For seventh and eighth-graders, 2 to 3 p.m. at YES Cinema stage, Fourth and Jackson streets in Columbus. Cost: Free to those in the center’s downtown neighborhood area, or $10 per session for others. Limited to 16 people total.

Information: 812-379-1630.

Columbus Gymnastics Center

405 Hope Ave., Columbus

Cheer basics: For 7 to 12-year-olds, covering basic cheerleader skills — voice, motions, jumps and more. 6 to 6:45 p.m. Mondays. Cost: $45. Information: 812-376-2545.

Columbus Area Arts Council

Noon Kids Concerts at Donner Park Shelterhouse near 22nd and Lafayette streets in Columbus: June 18 — Paul Odenweld’s Heroes and Legends of America. Serious and humorous tunes about Davy Crockett, John Henry and others in a fast-paced program. June 25 — Marc and Max the Moose. Marc Thomas and his puppets bring what her terms “Moosical Fun” to town. Free.

Information: 812-376-2539.