Discover Your Child’s Summer Adventure
Camps at the Virginia Discovery Museum embody all that summer should be: exploration and fun! Whether your child is brand new to the camp experience or already knows the ropes, our week-long, half-day summer camps for children 4 and older provide opportunities for kids to gain confidence, make friends, and explore a range of enrichment-focused topics through creative, engaging, and hands-on learning and play experiences. Plus, campers enjoy a special playtime in the galleries each morning before the Museum opens to the public.
Details | 2023 Camps | General Policies | FAQs | Contact
Upcoming 2023 Summer Camps
Due to space, please limit two camps per child.
Fantasy & Fable
June 19-23 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 15
Ages 4-8: Do you dream of magical creatures? Secret spells? Enchanted adventures in faraway lands? Bring the fantasy worlds of some of our favorite fairytales to life as we learn about history and storytelling along the way!
June 26-30 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 15
Ages 4-8: Space, Time, Soul, Mind, Power, and Reality. Each of Marvel's Infinity Stones has its own power channeled to control the universe. Join special guest educators from UVA L.E.A.D. as we discover each gem's unique function and investigate how scientists measure these different phenomena and wield science to master the universe.
Ready, Set, Robots!
July 10-14 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 14
Ages 4-8: What is a robot, and how does it work? How can we make robots do things like dance, complete a maze, sing, or put on a light show? Join guest educator Sarah FitzHenry as we explore these questions and more using real Finch robots!
July 17-21 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 14
Ages 4-8: Dinosaurs come alive – well, at least in our imaginations! Travel back in time on a paleontological adventure as we discover prehistoric Earth through fossils and other clues left behind by extinct creatures.
July 24-28 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 12
Ages 4-8: What has muscles that can lift hundreds of pounds, a brain that can create beautiful art and make complex calculations, and sensors so advanced they can hear music, taste chocolate, and admire a rainbow? The human body, of course! Journey inward as we embark on a fantastic voyage through the most incredible machine of all – YOU!
July 31-Aug. 4 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 12
Ages 4-8: Did you know that robots can create art? It's true ... but only if they have creative artists writing the code! Join guest educator Sarah FitzHenry as we explore the foundations of robotics and simple coding, explore self-expression through computer science, and create marker masterpieces with the help of real Finch robots.
Aug. 7-11 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 11
Ages 4-8: Animals survive and thrive in some of the most amazing and extreme places! From the driest deserts to the steamiest jungles, from total darkness to icy lands where the sun (sometimes) never sets, explore unique Earth ecosystems and the incredible organisms that call them home.
Aug. 14-18 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Spots Left: 13
Ages 6-10: Like to play chess? Interested in learning this timeless game? Join guest instructor John “Tex” Teixeira, a three-time Albemarle and Charlottesville area chess champion with 45 years of experience playing and coaching, as we exercise our mind muscles; practice basic mechanics and gameplay; and develop creativity, executive function, and math skills, all while having fun. Suitable for players of all skill levels.
- Campers with any of these symptoms are asked to refrain from visiting the Museum.
- Masks are encouraged but optional for all campers. If a child does not have a mask and would like one, VDM will provide one for them.
- All parents / guardians must Check-In at the front desk before dropping off campers at the Museum.
- Nut-free lunches and labeled water bottles must be packed and placed in the designated bin in the Museum’s coat room.
- No food, gum, or drinks are allowed in the Museum galleries, except water bottles.
Check-In & Check-Out
- 9:00-9:30 a.m.: Arrival & Check-In
- Takes place in the Museum’s front lobby area.
- Campers will enjoy supervised play in the Museum’s front gallery until all campers arrive. The Museum will be closed for general admission visits during this time.
- 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Camp Activities & Gallery Playtime Breaks
- Camp activities will take place in the Creation Station camp room and will be interspersed with playtime in the Museum galleries.
- Creation Station will be closed to general admission visitors, but the Museum galleries will be open to the public.
- 12:00-12:45 p.m.: Lunch Time
- Campers must pack a nut-free lunch and water bottle.
- 12:45-1:00 p.m.: Pick-Up & Check-Out
- Parents / Guardians are asked to wait in the front lobby area, and campers will be walked up by a staff member or volunteer.
- Campers and their families may stay and play in the Museum galleries as long as they wish following the camp day, but parents/guardians must first check-out their child at the front desk so that staff knows the camper has been picked up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will VDM be open for general admission during camps?
Yes, VDM will be open for general admission visits during camps, but the Creation Station camp room will only be open to campers.
Who else will be in the camp room during camps?
At least one VDM staff member and between two and three volunteers will be present during camps. All staff members and any volunteers who will be in the building have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
How often is the Museum cleaned?
The Museum is cleaned daily, and a crew will be on site after the Museum closes to clean and sanitize.
Registration & Waitlists
What is required to be eligible for camps?
Children must be at least 4 years old and fully independent in the bathroom.
What if the camp I want to participate in has filled?
Camps have a maximum capacity of 16 children. If you have an interest in a camp that is full, please submit a waitlist request through our online Summer Camp Waitlist form. In the event of a cancellation, those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order their requests were received.
Does VDM offer financial assistance for camps?
In accordance with the Museum’s mission, VDM does offer a limited number of scholarships for all of its programs, including camps. Contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x102 for information about applying for a scholarship, or submit a Summer Camp Scholarship Application online.
How do I apply my 10% annual member discount?
To apply this discount to camp registrations made online, you must have an active annual membership and will need to create a Website User Account and link it to your membership record by following these instructions. If you have already created a Website User Account, click the registration link for the camp you wish to register for and sign in using the link at the top of the registration page. If you need help applying your 10% discount when using our online registration forms, please contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x103.
How do I set up my Website User Account?
Did I successfully link my Website User Account and membership?
Contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x103, and we’ll make sure everything is all set.
Cancellations & Refunds
What is VDM’s cancellation and refund policy for camps?
A minimum of 6 campers is required for a camp to run. If a camp is canceled by the Museum due to insufficient enrollment or other extenuating circumstances, the registration fee will be refunded to all registrants.
Individual cancellations must be made at least 2 weeks before the corresponding camp to be eligible for a refund. If an individual cancellation causes the camp roster to fall below the required minimum, the refund will be contingent upon the vacancy being filled. If an individual cancellation is made within two weeks of the camp, the registration fee will be forfeited. No refunds will be issued after a camp begins.
Drop-Off & Pick-Up
Where can I park to drop off and pick up my child?
VDM validates parking for camp participants at the Market Street Garage and Water Street Garage. Both locations provide the first hour of parking for free, and camp participants receive an additional hour of free parking – for a total of two hours – when they request a validation ticket at VDM’s front desk. The Museum is also located next to the Downtown Transit Station, and Charlottesville Area Transit offers a Free Trolley that stops at the station as it travels through Downtown and the University of Virginia. Click to learn more about parking downtown or more about public bus routes and fares.
Click the icon in the upper left corner for map legend and details.
Does VDM provide food or should I pack lunches for my child?
Due to food allergy concerns, the Museum does not provide any food or snacks during camp. Instead, camp participants are asked to pack nut-free lunches and labeled water bottles each day to help us maintain a nut-free environment for our friends with food allergies.
Does camp include gallery playtime?
Yes, camps do include playtime in the Museum galleries, both in the morning before VDM opens to the public and interspersed among activities throughout the camp day. Additionally, campers and their families may stay and play in the Museum galleries as long as they wish following the camp day, but parents / guardians must first check-out their child at the front desk so that staff knows the camper has been picked up.
To learn more about Summer Camps, contact Education Manager Lara Musser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 977-1025 x106. For scholarship information, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at email@example.com or (434) 977-1025 x102.