Adult camp experiences
As parents begin bundling their kids off to camp, they might feel a twinge of jealousy. After all, children aren’t the only ones who love campfire sing-alongs, gooey s’mores and sleepovers. Here are five places where you don’t have to be a kid to go back to camp or have a camp-related experience.
1. San Diego Zoo Sleepovers
Lions and tigers and (teddy) bears, oh my! Sign up for one of the zoo’s popular sleepover programs and don’t forget to pack your favorite stuffed animal and pj’s. During the Black and White overnight, you’ll learn about those cuddly pandas and enjoy dinner and dessert by the campfire. For the more adventurous sort, there’s the extreme sleepover for adults, an evening of “Survivor”-style mental and physical challenges hosted by Dr. Zoolittle. $119-$149. 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego. (800) 407-9534. sandiegozoo.org/zoo (click on Special Experiences).
2. Sequoia High Sierra Camp
Camping doesn’t have to mean being at the mercy of mosquitoes and suffering from back kinks. Bunk down in one of the High Sierra Camp’s 36 luxurious tented cabins complete with plush-top mattresses and down feather pillows. Daytime activities range from fly-fishing to hiking to the top of Mitchell Peak, a 10,000-foot mountain that overlooks Kings Canyon National Park. The best perk? An elegant three-course alfresco dinner that is included in the daily price. Rates: $250-$300 per adult, $100 per child ages 3-11. 65745 Big Meadow Road, Sequoia National Park. (866) 654-2877.
3. REI Outdoor Skills Classes
If the prospect of setting up your own tent, navigating the wilderness or cooking without a microwave frightens you more than face time with a mountain lion, consider taking one of REI’s classes. Beginner workshops for improving your outdoors chops range from Essential Camping Skills to Backcountry Cooking. For more, check out a local REI store or rei.com/outdoorschool.
4. Take a Bao, Santa Monica
As National S’mores Day approaches (Aug. 10 – mark your calendars), it’s time to turn your attention to the sticky guilty pleasure that is a campfire staple. For a new twist, camp out at bao bun restaurant Take a Bao and try the Bao S’more, a mix of fudge, marshmallow and graham crackers in a chocolate bun. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 551-1100.
5. Wine Boot Camp, Napa & Sonoma
Ever wonder what it takes to become a winemaker? During this one-day boot camp, you’ll visit Napa and Sonoma wineries and learn all the steps from vine to table. Students pull up their sleeves and participate in grape picking, sorting and wine blending. No campfire, but, by the end of camp, you’ll be able to build your own wine, complete with a personalized bottle. Cost: $600 includes seminars, winery tours, meals and tastings. 696 Elliott Lane, Sebastopol. (707) 874-1975.
This article appeared on page G – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, June 26, 2011.