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PHOTO GALLERY — Mischief managed at local Wizard Camp; sign-up for next week’s fun

Little wizards don’t have to find Platform 9 ¾ to get to Hogwarts.

They just need to reach Memorial Boulevard.

And while the sign above outside may say American Legion Post 7, a walk through the doors is an express trip to Wizard Camp — at least through next Friday.

So what inspired this fantasy take on traditional summer camp?

“Just being a ginormous Harry Potter fan,” said Kim Christian, who started Wizard Camp four years ago and operates it with her sister Kelly Dowden. “We’ve been to Universal Studios. My daughter and I have been to London a few times and we went on the Warner Bros. studio tour to the sets where they filmed it.”

When not in Hogwarts, Christian teaches English at Odom Academy in Beaumont. And Harry Potter is always on the reading list.

But until next Friday (June 25), it’s all about the magic of summer.

Abraum Cole, 7 (and a half; that’s very important) lives near Corpus Christi but came to Southeast Texas to visit his grandmother. He was enrolled into Wizard Camp as a surprise. And on Thursday morning, before showing up at the center, he told his grandmother, “I wish every day was Wizard Camp day.” And his favorite part was making wands. Naturally, he made the same one Harry Potter has.

Other crafts done during the four-day camp include making a potion of Liquid Luck, making Potter pillows, making candy jars, playing trivia, making T-shirts most days, and painting Potter-themed planters (how else would you replant Mandrakes?).

They also make a cake to celebrate Harry’s July 31 birthday, just a bit in advance.

On Thursday morning, camp attendees were making slime.

Chloe Zarate, 11, attended for the first time this year.

“I only read the books but I watched part of the movies,” she said.

Whereas Presley Dowden, 11, is a bigger fan of the movies than the books.

No matter which way you go, everyone in the room believes the third installment, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” is the best in the series.

And it’s pretty easy to guess who the favorite character is.

“Even if you’ve never watched or read anything, you still have fun,” Christian said.

Another camp will begin next week and run Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at 3750 Memorial Boulevard. The cost is $160 with discounts for siblings. To enroll or get more information, call 409-728-1190 or email

How to make slime

  • Equal parts shaving cream and white school glue
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • A few drops of saline contact solution
  • Food coloring if you’re really brave


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