Nothing to do? Not this summer!

“Ah, mom and dad, there’s nothing to do.”

Kids, don’t try that line on your parents. Between arts, sports, science and outdoors camps and activities, you can pack your schedule with something to do almost every day starting this weekend. While some overnight camps can run $300 and more, scholarships are available from most organizations offering camps. Drop-in fees for some programs, like the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Knee-High Naturalist, are as low as a $2 donation. Homer Wilderness Leaders also offers day trips on a sliding scale from $10 to $40.

Popular camps are offered again this summer, like Pier One Youth Theatre — a program that has been going on long enough that former campers sometimes return as teachers. New this summer is a twist on the Homer Council on the Arts Bluegrass Camp. Homer-grown musician Andrew Vait, now living in Seattle, returns to teach a rock-pop section of the music camp.

Visiting Homer for the summer? Are the grandparents here to spend some quality time with those precious grandchildren? Some programs are geared toward families of all ages, like the Discovery Labs and guided nature walks at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. The Discovery Labs have already started with the Junior Birder labs held during the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival May 9-12. The labs are designed to appeal to kids age 3 and adults age 80 and older, said Jessica Ryan, education coordinator for the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, the state agency running the labs.

“It’s extremely informative, but it’s fun, too,” Ryan said.

Another summer favorite are the day programs at the Carl Wynn Nature Center on East Skyline Drive, which has been offering junior naturalist programs since the 1990s. With its trails, covered outdoor education areas and spectacular vistas, it offers immersion in nature a short drive from town. Day programs also are set up to give parents a little time off from kids.

“If parents come to town and want a couple of hours to have lunch and get their kids to play, they can go to one of those programs and play, get outside and learn something,” said CACS office manager Melanie Dufour.

CACS also has longer overnight camps at its Peterson Bay Field Station and day activities at its Spit Kids program at the yurt near the harbormaster’s office.

“I can’t go outside. It’s raining.”

Oh, and kids, don’t try that excuse, either. Like Alaskans say, “There’s no bad weather, only bad gear.” Most outdoor programs are rain or shine and participants expected to dress for it — even if you wind up wearing a snappy trash-bag poncho.

Theater and music camps are indoors, and the Homer Community Recreation programs keep running through the summer with lots of evening gym time for sports like basketball, ping-pong and the ever popular pickle ball.

“We’ve got a lot going on,” said Community Recreation Director Mike Illg. “We’re just continuing what we’ve been doing over the past 10 years.”

Michael Armstrong can be reached at


Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Wynn Nature Center Summer Youth Programs

Mile 2.5 East Skyline Drive

Starting June 15 10:30-11:30 a.m. Fridays: 

Knee-high Naturalist Program, ages 2-4

Starting June 18 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays:
Bio-kids: Art and Nature, ages 5-8

Starting June 19 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays: 

Trackers, ages 8-11

Starting June 20 1-3 p.m. Thursdays: 

Budding Botanist, ages 8-12

July 23-26: 

Junior Naturalist Summer Camp, ages 9-12,
Wynn Nature Ctr & Peterson Bay Field Station

Aug. 5-9:

Marine Mammal Mysteries, ages 9-15, Peterson Bay Field Station

July 3-13:

Teen EcoAdventure Camp, ages 12-15, Peterson Bay Field Station,
Grewingk Glacier camp out, Farmers’ Market

June 28-30, July 19-21:

Family Camps

June-August 1: 4 p.m. daily: 

Yurt on the Spit, Harbormaster Ramps

Creatures of the Dock tours


Homer Community Recreation

Homer High School and other locations

4-6 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays:
Open basketball, children and adults

6-8 p.m. Wednesdays: Volleyball

6-8 p.m. Monday-Thursdays, Weight room 

6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Ping Pong

6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays,
Homer Education and Recreational Complex: Pickle ball


Bruins Basketball Clinic


Homer Council on the Arts


Homer Music Camps

Offered by Bluegrass Camps for Kids and Andrew Vait

June 17-21: 

Bluegrass camps, ages 6-18

Rock-Pop camps, ages 12-18

June 24-27: 

Rock-Pop camps, advanced and adults


Circus Arts Camp 

Christian Community Church gymnasium   

with Morgan Langham and Daniel Sloan of Roustabout Circus.

Aug. 12-16: 

Three camps for ages 6-8, ages 9-14 and ages 10 and older (aerials)

Aug. 16, 7 p.m.: 

Roustabout Circus performance


Homer Public Library

Hazel Avenue



Homer Soccer Association

Coach Tommie Carlin-Schauer

West Homer Elementary School

May 28-Aug. 9 (week off July 4)

11 a.m.-noon Tuesdays, Thursdays:
Little Feet Program, ages 3-6

Recreational League


1-2:15 p.m., 6-8 year olds

2:15-3:30 p.m., 8-10 year olds

3:45-5 p.m.,10-12 year olds



Wednesdays and Thursdays

1-2:30 p.m., 6-10 year olds 

3-4:30 p.m.,10-12 year olds 

Times to be announced:
Competitive soccer for older players


Homer Wilderness Leaders

Ocean Drive and FAA Drive

399-HOWL (399-4695)

June 11-Aug. 20

Noon-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Sundays: 

HoWL Day trips, ages 8 and up

June 13-Aug. 22

Noon-5 p.m., every other Tuesday,
Edible Harvest Series, ages 10 and up

June 20-Aug. 15

Noon-5 p.m. Thursdays:
Xtreme Adventure series

May 23-Sept. 15;

Multi-day expeditions check online for more information


Kachemak Bay Research Reserve 

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center

June 17-Aug. 4

Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays:

11 a.m.: Guided walk

1 p.m.: Ranger talk

3 p.m.: Alaska Geographic film or talk


Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays

1-3 p.m. Discovery Lab



11 a.m., Guided walk


Pier One Theatre 

Youth Theatre Camps

With Casey Parrett, Heather (Reichenberg) Benz, Kathleen Gustafson, Adella Sundmark


May 27-June 4:

Theatre Play, ages 5-7

June 3-13: 

Stories on Stage, ages 8-10

June 10-29: 

Youth Theatre Skills Conservatory, ages 10-14; performances June 28, 29.

July 1-Aug. 10: 

Summer Production, ages 10 and up

Throughout Pier One season: 

Technical Theatre, ages 10 and up. Performances: Aug. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10


Pop Warner Football

July 15, 5:30 p.m: 

First practice, Homer Middle School