Summer camps and activities for children, teenagers in Las Cruces

LAS CRUCES – Looking for things to keep your kids active this summer? Check out this list of camps and activities going on in and around Las Cruces.

Summer vacation is fast approaching as the 2021-2022 school year ends this month. The children will soon have weeks of free time (remember, the school year starts in July this year). Why not keep busy by taking advantage of the programs offered by local organizations?

Free swim days at city pools

The City of Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Department has announced that it will be offering free swim days at the city’s outdoor pools this summer on May 30, June 19, July 3, and September 5. The days correspond to a public holiday.

Pools include East Mesa Bataan Memorial Pool at 6141 Reynolds Drive and Laabs Pool at 750 W. Picacho Ave.

Sessions will be held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sessions will be subject to capacity and weather regulations. Children 8 and under must always be accompanied by an adult with only two children 8 and under per adult.

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Group reservations will not be scheduled during open swim sessions. Information on pool capacity or other questions can be found by calling the Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center at 575-541-2782.

Planet Fitness High School Summer Pass Program

With the end of school, Planet Fitness is offering students ages 14-19 a free summer pass to train at any of their locations through August 31. This gives teens a place to stay active while sports programs and other school activities are on hiatus. It is also an opportunity for the company to promote healthy physical and mental well-being.

To further encourage a healthy lifestyle, parents and guardians of teens who sign up will be able to download a free digital copy of “Family Table”, a cookbook by Robert Irvine.

Teens who sign up will also have access to the gym’s club fitness training and trainer-led workout videos. Online registration is available at

Registrants will also participate in a raffle. Planet Fitness will be offering a $500 scholarship to one teenager in each state and Washington DC as well as a grand prize of $5,000 at the end of the summer.

Doña Ana Arts Council Summer Art Camps

The local arts council has announced that it will be offering three art camps for children this summer. These include:

  • Career Art Paths, June 6-17, Alma d’Arte Charter High School
  • Opera Storytellers Camp, June 20-July 1, Centennial High School
  • Missoula Children’s Theatre, July 11-16, Alma d’Arte Charter High School

Career Art Paths is for students in grades five through eight. Working artists will speak to students over the two weeks about their career and artistic practice. Students will work on hands-on art projects and display their work at the end of camp at an art exhibition organized by students and teachers. This course costs $100 with a limited number of scholarships.

The Opera Storytellers Camp is available for students in grades three through 12 and will be led by Christa Fredrickson at Centennial High. The end goal of the camp is for children to compose and perform a 30-minute musical drama. Students will also learn about lighting, sound, sets, and costume design.

This camp costs $250 per student. A free performance will take place at the end of the two weeks.

The Missoula Children’s Theater, a touring company, will be in Las Cruces in mid-July for a production of “The Frog Prince.” They will bring all the components of the show except the cast. Children will audition for roles on the first day of camp.

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The cost of the camp is $70 per student, but families with multiple children registered will benefit from a 50% discount. Two performances of the production will take place on July 16.

Registration forms for all three camps are available online at

Young Women in Computer Science at New Mexico State University

Young Women in Computing from the NMSU Department of Computing will host two summer camps this year for those who identify as female, gay, or non-binary in middle school and high school. Participation is free and supplies will be provided by the department. Middle school students who complete the two-week camp will receive a $100 stipend. High school students will receive a $200 stipend.

The camps are part of a project to increase the interest and number of women in the IT field. Participation is on a first-come basis and is not a competitive process. Registration will remain open until all places are filled.

The middle school curriculum will include Python, virtual reality, and other emerging technologies. They will have the chance to explore the field of study while socializing and learning by creating. The high school curriculum will be slightly different, but will still include learning virtual reality, web and game development, and programming languages.

Interested students can register for the online middle school camp at and the online high school camp at You can find more information by emailing

Summer camps in city museums

The City of Las Cruces Museum System offers a series of camps for children of different ages throughout June and July. Registration can be done in person at the Museum of Nature and Science, located at 411 N. Main St. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Each camp will cost $20 and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Programs include:

  • “Miniature trains” at the Railway Museum from June 6 to 10. Registration closes June 4. This is open to children 13 to 17 years old.
  • “Junior Archaeologists” at the Branigan Cultural Center from June 13 to 17. Registration closes June 11. Open to children from 10 to 13 years old.
  • “Riding the Rails” at the Railroad Museum from June 27 to July 1. Registration closes June 25. Children from 10 to 13 years old can participate.
  • “Art Brut” at the Art Museum from June 27 to July 1. Registration closes June 25. Registration is open to children aged 6 to 10.
  • “Around the World” at the Branigan Cultural Center from July 11 to 15. Registration closes July 9. Children from 6 to 10 years old can register.
  • “Gorgeous Minis!” at the Art Museum from July 11 to 15. Registration closes July 9. Teenagers aged 13 to 17 can participate.

Camp scholarships are available through the William Wachtel Memorial Scholarship Fund of the Las Cruces Museums Foundation. Students can apply online at

NMSU’s Learning Games Lab

Learning Games Lab at NMSU will host three free sessions this summer for middle and high school students. Sessions will involve playing and evaluating games and interactive experiences as well as designing and coming up with game ideas. The group’s mission is to develop educational games, applications and other interactives.

The sessions will take place:

  • May 31-June 3, 8:30 a.m. to noon, middle school students
  • June 6-10, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., middle school students
  • June 20-24, 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m., high school students

Students can apply by completing an online survey at The selection will be announced two weeks after the application. Amanda Armstrong, Games Lab Coordinator, can be reached at 575-646-1076 or with any questions.

Swimming night at Gym Magic

Parents looking for an evening away from the kids can head to Gym Magic every third Saturday of the month. The program features an evening swim in their heated pool, games, music, movies and more for kids who can swim independently.

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The program is open to the public and available for children ages 6 and up. Children will be entertained and safely supervised from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $29 per student with a 10% discount for siblings.

Registration and dates can be found online at

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Leah Romero is the Trending Reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached at 575-418-3442, or @rromero_leah on Twitter.

Sally J. Minick