Camps can provide fun for kids, relief for parents during spring break

As students across metro Atlanta look forward to taking a break from school next week, parents who can’t take the week off may not share their excitement because they’re unsure what to do with their kids.

Several organizations offer holiday camps that align with school breaks. The idea grew after several local school districts adopted balanced calendars years ago. Those schedules shorten the summers but have more breaks throughout the school year. Now, several metro districts take a week off for fall break, a week at Thanksgiving, a two-week-long winter break in December and, of course, a week-long spring break. But parents can’t always take the same time off. The camps help fill the voids.

Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre has what it calls “school break play days” throughout the year, including a spring break camp April 1-5 this year. Classes are grouped by age.

First grade student Hobbs Lindsey colors a poster showcasing her vote for flowers over trees on Election Day, one of the many "school break play days" at the Alliance Theatre. (Jason Getz /


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Some organizations have started building their program offerings around school districts’ calendars. For example, the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody offers camps on days DeKalb schools are out, including teacher workdays. Zoo Atlanta syncs its camps with the Atlanta Public Schools calendar. Both programs come up with themes for each camp session.

Spruill’s youth programs and community outreach manager Grace Cox said students work on art projects determined by the length of the school break.

“If it’s multiple days, like a three-day camp ... they might have projects that span the whole three days ... like they’ll make clay the first day and then once that dries, they’ll paint it on the third day or something like that,” she said.

Spruill offers a tropical spring vacation camp for kids ages 5-10 next week. The day starts at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Members can save $25 on the $295 fee. Scholarships are available and parents can pay for extended care hours.

Zoo Atlanta’s themes — as you might expect — relate to animals. This year, kids ages 5-11 can participate in a spring break safari camp, where they can learn about the biology and behaviors of different animals and the problems they may face in the wild.

“(Students) spend the majority of the time outside, doing activities, seeing animals and connecting to whatever our theme is,” said Staci Wiech, vice president of education at Zoo Atlanta. Wiech said learning “sneaks in” through fun activities.

“(Kids) can have just a really fun week where they’re learning about conservation research, but they don’t actually know they’re learning because they’re out having fun and seeing animals,” Wiech said.

Zoo Atlanta also offers discounts for members. Nonmembers would pay $400 for a weeklong camp; members pay $320. The day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., but parents have the option to pay for extended care.

Elementary school students give a sneak peak at their play during a "school break play days” at the Alliance Theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in Atlanta. Several Atlanta organizations have started to offer "camps" for kids when school is out and parents have to work. (Jason Getz /


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Below are some organizations in metro Atlanta that offer break camps during the school year.

OrganizationMember discount?More information
Chattahoochee Nature
Josh Powell CampN/A
Spruill Center for the ArtsYes
Zoo AtlantaYes