A licensed daycare facility for children 2 to 6 who do not want to ski. (If you want a half and half program, check out the Lucky Stars program with the ski school). Minors camp offers full or half day programs and even has an evening program in the village. Children do not need to be potty trained.
2009-2010 Northstar-at-Tahoe Deals: Get a free adult lift ticket with a full day minor's camp reservation.
"Bye mommy, bye daddy!" my two year old, Austin shouted over his shoulder to us as he first entered the play area at Minors' Day Camp. Normally an attached momma's boy who doesn't like to leave my side, Austin ran straight to a big magnetic board and started playing with the alphabet and picture pieces, not caring that we were leaving. My husband led Timmy, our four year old with special needs, into the play area and he too was instantly off exploring as well. Because they were greeted so kindly by the friendly staff and each of the different rooms had so many diverse toys, my children felt instantly welcomed and comfortable to explore their new surroundings.
Upon our arrival, at the front desk, two friendly adult childcare providers greeted us. They were ready to get us situated. One took my husband and two children to the play area and one stayed at the enclosed front desk and spoke with me. As I overheard my husband telling one provider in the next room all about the special needs of our 4 year old, Timmy, the provider I was with was doing the same. After I finished filling out pretty extensive forms and telling the front desk provider about my children's dietary needs, she placed a bright yellow round sticker on each of my son's backs listing their dietary exclusions and allergies, which gave me a burst of confidence in their ability to provide care for my children. When we were finished checking them in to the Minor's Camp, they provided us with pagers that receive a signal all over the mountain so that they can reach us if there's a problem or emergency. Also, the phone number for Minors' Camp was listed on the back of the pager and they assured us that if we wanted to check in with them at any time during the day, to feel free to call.
I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness and orderliness of the Minors Camp at Northstar which caters to mini guests ages 2-6 years old. Their teacher to child ratio of under 1:5, is excellent. Inside the facility, rooms are separated by see through partitions, so the childcare workers can always keep an eye on our children, which made me feel safe. When you walk into Minor's Day Camp, to the right is a large room with several different activity stations, straight back is the cubby area, and to the left is a big tree and eating area. Some of the activity stations include a kitchenette and dishes, blocks, a train table, a house, dolls, ride on toys, and so much more. They also have a craft area and separate nap area. Minor's Camp does offer an enclosed outdoor play area with a small play structure and other play equipment for use, but was almost entirely buried in snow while we were visiting.
My favorite security features included use of a pager for myself and my husband in case of an emergency. We also really appreciated the stickers they placed on our children's backs alerting the staff of our children's food allergies. The half wall and enclosed desk at the entryway ensured there wouldn't be any escapees out the front door and into oncoming traffic, which really made us feel safe as well.
All of the staff at Minor's Day Camp were adults which gave us an extra sense of comfort in their experience. Even though there were a few other families checking their children in at the same time, the staff really made sure they knew the specifics of each child in their care and didn't seemed frazzled or rushed to handle multiple children. All of the staff was dressed appropriately for dealing with children and weren't afraid to get down to their level to talk or play with the kids.
When my husband returned that afternoon to pick up our kiddos, he was really impressed with how the childcare providers remembered exactly which kids were ours and exactly where their prized stuffed animal and blanket were dragged to and left. They gave him a rundown of the day including what they ate, how they did with the other children, what they played with, and how wonderfully they behaved. They helped him put our children's snow clothes back on and after completely going through the check out process, wished them a good day.
The only downside to Minors' Day Camp, was that it was a little far from the Village, where everything takes place. For this reason, they do allow for the extra time to pick up your children. The ski lifts close at 4pm and children must be picked up no later than 4:30pm which is ample time to make your way over. The distance isn't enough of an issue to discourage me from using them in the future, but it would have been slightly more convenient if Minor's Camp were located in the village.
Overall, we were extremely satisfied with the service and professionalism provided at Northstar's Minors' Day Camp. Both my husband and I were a little apprehensive to allow strangers to watch our children, but after seeing how it was run and talking to the staff, our fears and anxieties were put at ease allowing us to have a wonderful day to ourselves skiing on the mountain. We would definitely recommend them to any parent with small children wanting to have a little skiing time to themselves. We thought the price for the service was reasonable and will definitely use them again when we return to Northstar!
Parent tips: Lunch and snacks are provided for your child, but if your child has special dietary needs, it will be easier for you to pack a lunch and snack for him/her. I would also definitely recommend making reservations ahead of time as Minors' Camp can fill up pretty quickly during peak season. Also, check the website online to find out before you reserve your space about any free incentives that are being offered if you reserve a space in Minors' Camp. The deal that was being offered to us at the time of our visit was a free adult lift ticket for each child enrolled in full day care, an $84 savings!
"This review is based on a complimentary visit to Northstar/Minors' Day Camp. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view."