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Summer camp season is nearly upon us, and metro area day camps are filling up fast.

Dori Settles will offer summer camp for the first time at her nearly year old gallery and workshop space, Smiling Turtle Art Spot. Her afternoon camps cover mediums like polymer clay, painting, and sewing, as well as mixed media from duct tape to old shop supplies.

"Being out in the Millard area we know there's an awful lot of families out here, and there are creative opportunities like Joslyn, but they're farther away," Settles told WOWT. "Our camps are geared at families where mom's still at home, but maybe a couple hours a day to get away and learn some art. They get to express themselves, and they have a sense of pride when they're finished."

Some popular established camps are gearing up for the 2014 season as well. Camp Kindness at the Nebraska Humane Society once again invites young animal lovers to become shelter advocates and get a behind the scenes look at shelter operations.

"One of the most amazing things about our camps more so than maybe others is that kids who come here really want to help the animals, and they get a chance to do that here," said the Humane Society's Pam Wiese. She says campers learn about philanthropy by working with a kennel buddy they're assigned to for the week. "They make posters that say 'Help me get adopted' and 'I'm a great animal'."

Campers at the humane society also get to see veterinarians working in surgery, hear a behaviorist explain the language of dogs, and learn the differences between domestic and exotic animals.

Another campsite that remains popular year after year is the Durham Museum. Their new Design Zone exhibit opening at the end of May will serve as the backdrop for much of this year's camp activity.

"Kids can go into the exhibit everyday and learn the math and science behind different career choices, such as designing roller coasters or video game developers," said the museum's marketing director, Patty O'Bryan. "What does it take for a DJ for instance to get that rhythm and beat? There's a math behind it."

The museum has a student to teacher ratio of 8:1. All of the camp instructors are certified teachers, so O'Bryan describes the summer days as learning "disguised as entertainment." Parents can opt for before and after care to help accommodate work schedules as well.

Registration for all three locations listed above is open now. Many of the camps are on track to fill up weeks before the school year ends.

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