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harry potter camp
harry potter camp

11 Alternative Summer Camps

harry potter camp
harry potter camp

All a summer camp used to need to keep kids entertained was a good ball field and a place to go swimming. Now, though, campers can while away their summer days doing all sorts of specialized camping. Let's take a look at some camps that appeal to kids with specific interests.

1. Kids ‘N Comedy Camp

“Take a break from the mosquitoes and the kumbayas,” says the official website, “and spend 2 weeks at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan, learning about improv, comic acting, and stand-up comedy!” Every session ends with the participants putting together a live “graduation” show like the one above from 2008.

2. Explosives Camp

If your teen loves pyrotechnics, don’t let her summer go up in smoke. The Missouri University of Science & Technology admits 20 lucky high-schoolers into this elite program every June. During the application process, prospective campers are asked to submit a 500 word essay about “Why I am interested in a career focusing on the application of explosives.” If accepted, your son or daughter will learn safety procedures, demolition basics, and how to build 3-inch firework shells.

3. Ninja Camp USA 

Here’s an epic recruitment video guaranteed to stir your inner ninja. Sessions are held in New York state’s Orange County during June, July, and October. 

4. Spy Camp

Spy Camp feels so authentic, it might as well be classified. Training missions, making top-notch disguises, and learning the ropes from actual spies are all part of the package. And as an added bonus, the super-secret camp is hosted by Washington D.C.’s International Spy Museum.

5. Fiji Shark Studies Camp

Go Broadreach

Before departing for college, kids can go scuba-diving off the coast of Fiji with the ocean’s most misunderstood denizens.

6. “Talk to the Hand” Puppet Camp

Tears of Joy

With a name like that, it has to be good! Aspiring Jim Hensons throughout the greater Portland area construct their very own puppets before showing them off in an original stage play.

7. Pali Hollywood Stunt Camp

“There’s a lot of trust involved,” says stunt director Dean Cudworth. “I start kids off at a two-foot fall. Every day, I go up about two [to] three feet.” That all adds up. Other heart-pounding activities include stage-fighting and motorsports.

8. Wizards and Warriors Camp

Located in northeastern Massachusetts, the camp helps kids create their own characters and partake in a large-scale fantasy roleplaying game. 

9. Urban Kid Adventures

New York City's Urban Kid Adventures teaches city kids about the wonders of nature. Their goal is to "provide a fun, safe, environment where the children can discover first hand how awesome nature is"—from friction fires to archery. UKA also runs seminars and workshops for adults.

10. Canada’s 1st Zombie Survival Training Camp

Zombie Survival Camp

It’s the trend that just won’t die! These brain-eaters have become media darlings lately. Should the living dead ever actually rise, you’ll be well-prepared to fend them off after mastering “hand-to-rotting-hand combat” and this unique camp. 

11. Harry Potter Camp

Harry Potter Camp

This delightful camp (run by Logan, Utah’s school district) has been “Bringing Magic to Muggles” by helping Potter parents educate the next generation of witches and wizards for over a decade. Now, if only somebody would start a Game of Thrones version…

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Pop Culture
Solve a Murder Mystery (and Eat Cheesecake) with The Golden Girls
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Something is rotten in the city of Miami. A murder has been committed—and nobody knows who’s behind the dastardly crime. The police are likely no match for the killer, so it’s up to the Golden Girls characters to combine their wits (over cheesecake, of course) to crack the case. But they can’t do it without your help.

That’s right: Peddler’s Village, a quaint shopping village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania, is now offering a Golden Girls Murder Mystery dinner and show every Friday and Saturday night through August 25, 2018. The whodunit takes place at Peddler's Pub at the Cock 'n Bull Restaurant, at 7 p.m.

While the major plot details have been kept under wraps (it is a murder mystery, after all), we do know that Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia have "invited a couple of well known detectives to join the party and discuss their famous capers." And given that the show is titled "The Golden Girls: The Curse of Jessica Fletcher," we can only guess (and hope) that an amateur sleuth from Cabot Cove, Maine will be making an appearance.

It's not the first time Peddler's Pub has hosted the gals from Miami; the current show is a sequel of sorts to the original Golden Girls Murder Mystery that Peddler's Pub put on back in 2016. Fun fact: Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Erin McCarthy beat out a room full of other Betty White sangria-drinking armchair detectives to correctly solve the mystery during its original run. (She has the mug to prove it.)

Tickets are $69.95 per person, and you can make a reservation (which is required) by calling 215-794-4051. As for what you'll be dining on: You can scope out the menu online (and yes, the Girls’ favorite dessert is involved).

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Pop Culture
Cheerleaders and Chicken Suits: Funko is Releasing Several Special Edition Deadpool POPs!

Marvel’s “Merc With a Mouth” is not only getting a sequel—he’s also getting some new swag. Deadpool, the sardonic superhero/villain in red spandex, will soon be immortalized in a new line of special edition Funko POP! vinyl toys.

In keeping with the franchise's eccentric sense of humor, there will be several outlandish outfits to choose from, each one sold exclusively by a different retailer. Among the outfit options Funko lovers will find are a mermaid get-up (complete with starfish bra) at Target; a cheerleader uniform for BoxLunch; a king’s robe and crown at FYE; and a chicken suit for Amazon shoppers. There’s even one of Deadpool holding a chimichanga while wearing ninja gear for 7-Eleven.

These parody dolls seem to be keeping in character with the Deadpool films, which themselves are parodies of the superhero genre. The title character, played by Ryan Reynolds, often breaks the fourth wall in order to poke fun at both DC and Marvel. (The filmmakers also famously signed off on spending $10,000 for a quick shot of the unlikely superhero wearing a tank top with Golden Girl Bea Arthur's face on it.)

The figures will be out this summer following the release of Deadpool 2 on May 18, 2018. Funko also recently released its royal family line of POP! dolls, depicting Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Elizabeth II, and her kin.

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