Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids

Kara Vickory, left, and Emma Sterling learn the ins and outs of a Western saddle as part of a TRAK horsemanship class.

Here's your annual reminder that winter break is quickly approaching. And for working parents or families looking for fun ways to keep their kids active during their time off from school, it's time to start making plans to fill those days. 

Luckily, so many Tucson places offer day camps, with themes including science, arts and crafts and horseback riding. Plus, they can make a great holiday gift. 

Making new friends, exploring a new interest and fun-filled days? Sign us up!

Little Buckaroos and Horsemanship Winter Riding Camps

Coalton Quakenbush, 10, runs with his horse Little Doc during riding class at the TRAK Ranch at 3250 E. Allen Rd. in Tucson, AZ. TRAK, Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids, just recently moved into this property.

What: Kids ages 5-7 will learn about animals that live on the ranch, make crafts, play games and have hand-led riding lessons as part of the Little Buckaroos session. The Horsemanship Camp is for ages 8-14 and includes daily riding, barrel racing, pole patterns practice and learning how to ride and care for a horse. Beginners are welcome. 

Ages: 5-14

When: Little Buckaroos is on Monday, Dec. 23 and Friday, Dec. 27, 8:30-11:30 a.m. The Horsemanship Camp is Monday, Dec. 30- Friday, Jan. 3, 8 a.m. to noon.

Where: TRAK, 3250 E. Allen Road

Cost: $125 for Little Buckaroos; $300 for Horsemanship Camp.

Info: Go here

Playformance Camp

Playformance offers a day camp on Veterans Day for kids in Kinder through 8th grade. 

What: Kids will spend the day participating in active, age-appropriate games, activities, sports and creative play. Playformance is a parkour gym downtown. 

Ages: Kindergarten through eighth grade

When: Monday, Dec. 23; Thursday, Dec. 26; Friday, Dec. 27; Monday, Dec. 30 and Thursday, Jan. 2.

Where: Playformance, 119 E. Toole Ave.

Cost: $70 per day. Early and after care available for $10 per hour

Info: Go here

Reid Park Zoo camp

A giraffes plays with a soccer ball while another grabs a snack from a visitor during the Safari Nights event at the Reid Park Zoo.

What: Children will learn about what the zoo does to keep animals warm and safe during winter. Each day, camp will focus on a different theme with animal encounters, zoo tours, crafts and hands-on activities. 

Ages: 6-12

When: Dec. 26-27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Court

Cost: $55 per day; $45 members

Info: Go here

UA Fusion Camp

Mia Moon, 8, and Rutvik Pateo, 8, from Fulton Elementary School, help prevent a mock uranium leak at the Flaundrau Science Center and Planetarium.

What: Children can sign up for different themed camps including Lego Engineering, space science and sharks, where they'll participate in hands-on activities, games and more. 

Ages: Kindergarten through sixth grade

When: Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 2-3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd.

Cost: $55 per day. Early care and after care are available for an additional $5 per day. 

Info: Go here

Jewish Community Center Winter Camp J

Arts and crafts at the Jewish Community Center's Winter Camp J. 

What: The Jewish Community Center offers camp themes which include cooking, art, sports, and Lego engineering plus field trips. 

Ages: Kindergarten through fifth grade

When: Week 1 is Dec. 23-24 and Dec. 26-27. Week 2 is Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 2-3. Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free early care begins at 7 a.m. and after care is as late as 6 p.m. 

Where: Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road

Cost: $60 per day for non-members; $50 for members. 

Info: Go here

UA Campus Rec “A” Camp

What: Campers will participate in winter-themed games, arts and crafts, STEM activities and an exploration of the UA campus.

Ages: 5-15

When: Jan 2-3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can drop them off as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m. for no additional charge

Where: University of Arizona Student Recreation Center, 1400 E. Sixth Street.

Cost: $100 or $55 per day. Discounts are available for members, siblings, returning campers, and UA staff.

Info: Go here

Ott Family YMCA Winter Camp

Kids will participate in a variety of games and activities at the Ott Family YMCA's winter break camp.

What: Fun-filled days that include art projects, crafts, games, field trips and more. 

Ages: Kindergarten through sixth grade

When: Weekdays from Dec. 20-Jan. 3. No camp on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1. Camp runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. except on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 when camp ends at 2 p.m.

Where: Ott Family YMCA, 401 S. Prudence Road

Cost: $35 per day. 

Info: Go here

Kidco SchoolzOut Camps and In-Betweener's Club


What: The City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department hosts camps during school breaks for children ages 5-11, and In-Betweener's Club for ages 12-14. Activities include games, sports, arts and crafts, nutrition-based learning, performing arts, field trips and more.

Ages: 5-14

When: Weekdays from Dec. 23-Jan 3. No camp on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Camp is from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day except Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 when the centers close at 2 p.m. 

Where: Various recreation centers in Tucson

Cost: $40 for City of Tucson residents; $50 for non-residents. 

Info: Registration begins Dec. 9. Go here for more information. 

Sew Hip Kids Winter Break Camp

Sew Hip

What: Kids ages 8-13 will spend four days sewing their own quilt. No experience necessary. If your child has a sewing machine that is in good working order they can bring it to use. 

Ages: 8-13

When: Dec. 31-Jan. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Cost: $220

Info: Go here

Hi-Five School Break Camps

Camp at Hi-Five Sports Club will include a variety of games, sports and fun activities. 

What: Campers will learn the fundamentals for a variety of team sports and games and then get to compete. 

Ages: 5-14

When: Dec. 20 and Jan. 2-3, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with after care until 5 p.m.

Where: Maracana Indoor Sports Arena, 555 E. 18th Street

Cost: $50 per day or $45 for the two-day pass for the January session. 

Info: Go here

Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club Holiday Camp

What: Choose from Tennis Camp for ages 7-17 and All-Sports Camp for ages 5-14 which focuses on developing athletic skills for a range of sports.  

Ages: 5-17

When: Session 1 is Dec. 23-27(no camp on Dec. 25); Session 2 is Dec. 30-Jan. 3 (no camp on Jan. 1). Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with early care and after care available for an additional fee.

Where: Tucson Racquet and Fitness Club, 4001 N. Country Club Road

Cost: $160 per four-day session or $50 per day. Extended care available for an additional fee. 

Info: Go here

Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Winter Break Camp

Mikayla Moose, 9, keeps a balloon in the air using her elbows during a relay game.

What: Kids stay active with golf, tennis, games, arts and crafts. 

Ages: 6-12

When: Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 2-3

Where: Oro Valley Community Center, 10555 N. La Canada Drive

Cost: $130 for all four days, or $40 per day. 

Info: Go here

This list was updated from a list published in 2018 by Angela Pittenger. 

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Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson