Camp James moving to Newport Dunes

Camp James, an Orange County summertime staple in Irvine, is moving to Newport Beach to make way for the development of new apartments.

The popular children's summer day camp will call the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina home when it opens for the summer.

"We are very excited that our camp is relocating to the Newport Dunes," camp co-Director Scottie Roach wrote in an email. "We loved our home of 27 years, but we are thrilled to call the Newport Dunes our new home! The property is beautiful and will allow our style of outdoor recreational experience to be enhanced."

Camp James and its former water park neighbor, Wild Rivers, were ousted after not getting their leases extended by their landlord, the Newport Beach-based Irvine Co., which plans to build apartment complexes on the two properties. The camp used to include daily trips to Wild Rivers.

Wild Rivers fans took their last laps around the Safari River this summer before everything shut down Sept. 25.

Camp James, which caters to children aged 4 to 17, signed a three-year contract with Newport Dunes, co-Director Theresa Collins wrote in an email.

At Newport Dunes, the children will be able to swim, kayak, canoe and explore nature, as well as participate in dance, drama, archery, martial arts, Hula-hooping, sports, wall climbing, giant Jenga and a version of Quidditch, a game played in the Harry Potter books.

Collins said Wild Rivers was a big draw for families, but also the largest concern for safety. Camp James' staff is working with Newport Dunes lifeguarding staff and consulting with other camps that operate on a large lake, she said.

"As an accredited camp by the American Camp Assn., there are hundreds of standards we must operate under involving swimming and water play that will also ensure that Camp James provides a safe aquatic waterfront," she said.

The camp is offering families a chance to test out the new location at A Taste of Camp James from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14. The mini-camp is open to children ages 4 to 13 and is expected to cost $20.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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