PDX Parent Reader Favorites: Classes and Camps

It’s time to book summer camps in Portland, Oregon, and the BEST recommendations are always the ones you get from other parents.

Check out the winners of our annual readers’ poll in the Classes and Camps Category below. Can’t get enough camp content? Find even more camps listed in our Summer Camps Directory.

Congratulations to these fabulous winners!

Outdoor Adventure Classes and Camps

WINNER: Trackers Earth Portland 

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

Archery, blacksmithing, farming, fishing, boating, rock climbing. Kids can learn all these fun, outdoorsy skills and more at Trackers Earth. And this repeat PDX Parent Reader’ Favorites winner not only offers classes and camps year-round, but also has flexibility in terms of length, from after-school, to day camps to overnight options.


Girl Scouts of Oregon/SW Washington
Bird Alliance of Oregon
Camp Two Roads
Friends of Tryon Creek
Alpengirl Camp

Arts & Crafts Classes and Camps

WINNER: Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)

Image courtesy Children’s Healing Art Project

CHAP’s mission is to bring the healing power of art to children and families facing medical challenges. At CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity, not their disease, diagnosis, or disability. Art workshops are also open to the public for a reasonable fee. No wonder they’re a multi-year Reader Favorites winner.


Art World School
Grace Institute Home of Grace Art Camps
Owl and Bee Clay Company
Vibe of Portland
Willowbrook Arts Camp

Climbing and Obstacle Classes and Camps

WINNER: The Circuit Bouldering Gym

Image courtesy Circuit Bouldering Gym.

Got a kiddo who is bouncing off the walls? Have them harness that energy with a youth indoor bouldering class. Kids ages 5 to 18 can learn the technical skills, and strength and problem-solving skills to maneuver up and across walls. The gym — with three Portland-area locations— also has after-school clubs, a competitive team, winter and spring break camps, and hosts birthday parties.


The Movement Park
Portland Rock Gym
Skyhook Ninja Fitness
Revolution Parkour
Movement Portland

Dance Classes and Camps

WINNER: Oregon Ballet Theatre School

 Photo: Jingzi Zhao, courtesy Oregon Ballet Theatre School

For children dreaming of being a sugar plum fairy gliding across the grand stage of the Keller, have them learn from the best during a class at the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. The youngest of dancers enroll in the pre-ballet classes, and there are also more intensive classes and summer programs for older, experienced dancers. 


The Portland Ballet
The Everybody Dance Project
NW Dance Project
Steps PDX

General Day Camps

WINNER: Trackers Earth 

Image courtesy Trackers Earth

Kids can choose their own adventure when participating in one of Trackers’ day camps. During Basecamps, which are located in Portland neighborhoods, kids do both indoor and outdoor activities. And during Adventures, youth are bussed to the wilderness, where they learn hands-on outdoor skills.


Mittleman Jewish Community Center
YMCA of Columbia-Willamette
North Clackamas Parks & Recreation Department
Sellwood Community House
Oregon Episcopal School

Foreign Language Classes and Camps

WINNER: Adventures in Spanish (formerly PELP)

Courtesy of Adventures in Spanish

Adventures in Spanish introduces children and their parents to Spanish language and culture through the magic of songs, play, and more! This year they took the top spot in both foreign language camps and best after school classes.


International School of Portland
L’Etoile French Immersion School
Kids Like Languages
International Leadership Academy
Camp Abenteuer

Gymnastics Classes and Camps

WINNER: The Children’s Gym 

Image courtesy The Children’s Gym

At The Children’s Gym, little gymnasts can somersault, handspring and backflip their way to strength, flexibility and coordination, all while having fun and making friends. Littles as young as 18 months to teens are welcome; The Children’s Gym offers classes grouped by age, and also has a structured, non-competitive, invitational team for older kids.


Echo Theater Company
Oregon Gymnastics Academy
Westside Dance & Gymnastics Academy
The Little Gym Lake Oswego
Metro Gymnastics

Animal Classes and Camps

WINNER: Oregon Humane Society

Image courtesy Oregon Humane Society

The Oregon Humane Society summer camp is super popular with animal-loving kids. The largest animal welfare organization in the state loves to bring shelter pets and campers together because youth who learn to be kind and compassionate to animals grow into more compassionate adults. Campers can expect to interact with companion animals; learn pet care and training techniques; make animal-based crafts; bake treats; and build a warm and welcoming camp community.


Triskelee Farm
River Ranch Horse Camp
French Hill Farm
Royal Ridges
Wilsonville Equestrian Center

Inclusive Camps

WINNER: Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp

Image courtesy Mt. Hood Kiwanis

The Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp seeks to help kids and adults with developmental disabilities access and enjoy the outdoors. It offers week-long, overnight camps for kids 12 and older, and young adults with disabilities. And there is also a family camp for ages 9-14. In this supportive environment, campers can make friends, fish, swim, ride horses and more, all in the beautiful forest setting.


B’nai B’rith Camp
Camp Yakety Yak
Spectra Gymnastics
Tucker Maxon School Arts Camp
Upward Bound Camp

Overnight Camps


Image courtesy OMSI

With two exceptional destination sites — Camp Gray on the Oregon coast and Camp Hancock in Oregon’s high desert — it’s no wonder OMSI takes this year’s top spot for sleep-away camps. Each location allows for specific activities like surfing or stargazing as well in-depth explorations of STEM topics such as natural habitats; tidepool wildlife and plants; fossils; and astronomy.


Camp Howard
Camp Namanu
Big Lake Youth Camp
Camp Two Roads
Trackers Earth Portland

Performing Arts Classes and Camps

WINNER: Northwest Children’s Theater and School

Courtesy of NWCT

Drama kids love the camps and classes at Northwest Children’s Theater & School (NWCT) in their brand new space The Judy. Kids as young as four can play silly theater games, while kids up to age 14 can delve into stage combat or theater design.


Broadway Rose Theatre Company
Echo Theater Company
Oregon Children’s Theatre
Lovegood Theater
Imagine Theater

STEM Classes and Camps

WINNER: OMSI – Oregon Museum of Science & Industry

Image courtesy Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

OMSI camp staffers know the coolest ways to engage kids in science — LEGO robotics, animation, building rockets and even exploring the science behind gross things like burps, mold and scabs! Pro tip: OMSI offers camps for kindergarteners to eighth graders, which makes scheduling siblings a lot easier. Camps are offered at OMSI and at Portland Community College Rock Creek in the Bethany area.


Saturday Academy
Code Ninjas
Coding with Kids
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Experiment PDX

Sports Classes and Camps

WINNER: Soccer Shots

Courtesy of Soccer Shots

Soccer Shots is committed to providing save, positive soccer experiences for ages 2-8. Parents love the three-part program that teaches the right skills at the right age, incredible coaches, and welcoming, supportive environment fostered in the weekly classes.


Rose City Futsal
Skyhawks Sports Academy
Stronger Skatepark
Baxter Sports

After-School Classes and Camps

WINNER: Adventures in Spanish

Courtesy of Adventures in Spanish

The after school classes at Adventures in Spanish are full of songs, games, books, and movement. The classes are held at schools across the city, making after school care absolutely effortless for families. Kids learn Spanish while having fun, and they can continue their lessons in an online, self-paced Gogo Español program.


Saturday Academy
Engineering for Kids
Crafty Mindz
Aim High Martial Arts

Swim Instruction

WINNER: North Clackamas Parks & Recreation

Courtesy of North Clackamas Aquatic Park

North Clackamas Aquatic Park provides the largest swim lesson program at one facility in the state of Oregon, with classes available for all ages and ability levels (even adults). Parents who score a spot appreciate the chance for their kids to learn this essential skill at an affordable price.


Children of the Sea Swim School
DolFUN SWIM Academy
Farber Swim School
Emler Swim School

Music Classes and Camps

WINNER: School of Rock

Courtesy of School of Rock

All year long, School of Rock offers the coolest music lessons and camps for musicians of all skill levels who want to play guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals.

Ethos Music Center
Music Together of Portland
Youth Music Project
Oregon Repertory Singers
Backbeat Music Academy

Spring and Winter Camps

WINNER: Northwest Children’s Theater and School

Courtesy of NWCT

With three locations, including their spectacular new downtown space The Judy, Northwest Children’s Theater is bringing theater classes to kids all over the city. Whether your child is new to theater or they’ve been hamming it up since the toddler years, NWCT is ready to enhance their acting, singing, and dancing skills. There’s something for everyone at NWCT!


Oregon Children’s Theatre
Echo Theater Company
Vibe of Portland
Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation

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