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Family Programs for Grades 2–6

Our interactive programs are designed to spark the imaginations of our youngest CTY participants, with a range of all-day and overnight learning experiences for students and parents at prestigious museums, aquariums, and science centers. Program structure varies at each site, but every event includes hands-on activities during which families can learn and discover new interests together.

Featured Program

illustrations of Davinci's perfect mean, detail from a Mondrian red, yellow and blue painting, and design-focused artworks

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead

Join us for this exciting CTY Family Education Series, a much-needed opportunity for families of bright students to get to know one another while learning together. Over four sessions held once a month this spring, participants will investigate intersections between mathematics and art, including the mathematical principles behind some famous (and not-so-famous) works of art. Parents and children will learn together by engaging in hands-on workshops exploring how mathematics can be used to describe the world, and by creating their own unique math-based works of art. Additionally, parents will attend seminars on topics that may include supporting gifted students, the emotional needs of gifted students, and monitoring social media. Families who complete the program will gain a new support network for parents of gifted students, great memories, and project presentations to share with relatives and friends.

Note: This program will run from 1–4 p.m. on the designated dates. It is designed as a series and requires attendance on all four dates. Families may not enroll for single dates, and there are no refunds for missed dates. Make-up dates will be scheduled if there are weather cancellations.

Speyer Legacy School – New York, New York
Day Program (four-day series), Grades 2-4

green-arrow Session 1 of 4: Sunday, March 15, 2020
green-arrow Session 2 of 4: Sunday, April 5, 2020
green-arrow Session 3 of 4: Sunday, May 3, 2020
green-arrow Session 4 of 4: Sunday, May 31, 2020

Cost: $1,500 per family (only one student and one adult may attend)
green-arrow Register Now

Programs for Grades 2–4

Ocean Park Adventure

Visit Ocean Park in Hong Kong with CTY! lots of fish in a tank

Ocean Park – Hong Kong
Day Program, Ages 7–10
green-arrow Sunday, February 9, 2020

Dive right into a day of learning and marine life at Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s premier attraction for getting up close to creatures of the deep! Students will start their day by visiting the aquarists’ workplace, where employees practice husbandry and conservation methods such as coral breeding, and learn about Ocean Park’s unique focus on conservation and protecting our oceans. Later, families will get a behind-the-scenes look at the Rainforest area, where caretakers will introduce them to rainforest animal management and care.

This program will begin around 9 a.m. and end around 1 p.m., at which point guests will be served lunch and can continue enjoying the park until closing (10 p.m.). Lunch at the Ginger Grill restaurant and park admission are included.

Cost: $215 US per person
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LEGO roboticsLEGO Robotics

Lawrence Hall of Science – Berkeley, CA
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Lawrence Hall of Science is your playground for the day as you explore the roles of force and motion in designing moving mechanisms. Using two-dimensional mechanical linkages, you’ll build and test a LEGO robot that creates art, discuss your design process, and observe and compare how your motorized contraption performs. Later, you’ll visit the planetarium to observe the ever-changing Moon and find out what causes its phases. We’ll end the day by enjoying an exciting National Geographic 3-D movie.

This program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Lunch and admission to the museum are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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two CTY students doing science experimentCrack the Case

Fleet Science Center – San Diego, CA
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Saturday, March 28, 2020

Ever wonder how forensic scientists solve cases? Learn how to classify mysterious powders, calculate the pH of soils, and perform chromatography to separate pigments. By using chemistry, physics, and observation skills, become a detective and piece together evidence to crack the case! Being comfortable with innovation means you have imaginative ideas and aren’t afraid to test them out. Explore “blind innovation” by utilizing unknown materials hidden in a brown bag to solve a given problem. Then create a narrative out your innovation to explain how you came up with your design. To top off the day, we’ll enjoy an IMAX film!

This program will begin at 10 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Lunch and admission to the museum are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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steaming cauldronMagic at the Met

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Sunday, March 29, 2020

See the Metropolitan Museum of Art through a magical lens on this tour inspired by the Harry Potter series. Educational guides will take students and their families through exciting games and other activities to connect them with these popular fantasy books, including exploration of part of a real castle and signage that could have come right from Diagon Alley. Brush up on your wizarding knowledge, and feel free to wear wizarding gear!

This program begins at 1 p.m. and ends around 4 p.m. Museum admission is included.

Cost: $125 per person
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student doing a science experimentTrue Detectives

Liberty Science Center – Jersey City, NJ
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Saturday, April 4, 2020

Participate in two fascinating science-based workshops at Liberty Science Center:

Forensics Silver Monkey: LSC has lost a valuable artifact and needs your help! Become a forensic investigator as you examine fingerprints, study shoeprints, delve into blood-typing, and combine your knowledge to nab the thief and solve the Case of the Silver Monkey!

Food Science: Investigate the chemistry behind food science as you identify the four types of macromolecules that are crucial to the human body, as well as the role of other nutrients like vitamins. Discover where these macromolecules are found in foods and how our bodies break them down into energy.

To top off this exciting day, we’ll enjoy a film in the Planetarium Theater.

This program begins around 9:30 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. A lunch voucher and admission to the museum are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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bird on a tree branchBird’s-Eye View

Irvine Nature Center – Owings Mills, MD
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Sunday, April 19, 2020

Join a naturalist on a field research experience by conducting a bird census and recording observations of behaviors, flight patterns, field marks, and habitats. Take an in-depth look at hawks and owls by meeting live animals to study how their adaptations allow them to survive. Get really hands-on during an owl pellet dissection before exploring the wonders of bird migrations. Learn what it means to become a falconer and get up-close and personal with a red-tailed hawk!

This program will begin around 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $120 per person
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Chabot telescopeAstronomy Adventure

Chabot Space and Science Center – Oakland, California
Overnight Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Saturday, June 6 to Sunday, June 7, 2020

Explore the universe and your place in it during this action-packed overnight experience at the Chabot Space and Science Center! This program will take you from Earth into the vast celestial unknown through workshops, activities, exhibits, and telescopes. After viewing the state-of-the-art full dome Planetarium Show, go outside and discover constellations and other objects of the night sky using one of the largest telescopes in the country. Join us for a truly out-of-this-world overnight adventure!

This program will begin around 5 p.m. on Saturday and end around 10 a.m. on Sunday. Dinner, a snack, and breakfast are included. You will need to bring sleeping bags, mats, and pillows.

Cost: $190 per person
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Aquarium Overnightjellyfish

The National Aquarium – Baltimore, MD
Overnight Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Saturday, June 13–Sunday, June 14, 2020

Ever wonder what happens at the National Aquarium when the sun goes down and the doors are closed to the public? This truly unique overnight adventure gives CTY families exclusive access to fascinating areas inside the aquarium with a behind-the-scenes tour, workshops, interactive discussions with aquarium experts, and a closer look at some of the aquarium’s animals. Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of and appreciation for what it takes to care for more than 17,000 animals who live there.

This program begins at 5 p.m. Saturday and ends at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Dinner, a light breakfast, and admission to the aquarium are included. Participants should bring sleeping bags, mats, and pillows.

Cost: $205 per person
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computer rendering of a planetary vehicleSpace Engineering

Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD
Day Program, Grades 2–4
green-arrow Notify me when the date is available

What does it take to put spacecraft on another planet? How do you safely operate one to complete its mission? Discover the answers to these questions and many more during this day of hands-on workshops that will get you thinking like an engineer.

You will take a project through its entire lifespan—from brainstorming ideas and designs to building and testing—and find ways to transform ordinary household materials into something extraordinary. You will make your own prototype Mars Rover, “land” it on “Mars,” and still be able to take it home with you.

This program will begin at 10 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $140 per person

Programs for Grades 5–7

Literary World-Building

Map of the world of hobbitsJohns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD
Two-Day Program (no overnight accommodations provided), Grades 6–8
green-arrow Saturday and Sunday, February 15-16, 2020

Over two days, participants will craft imaginary realms as a springboard for writing their own stories that take place in settings similar to The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Redwall series. Beginning with a focus on geology, geography, and cartography, the first day will result in the creation of a map that rivals those found at the front of some of your favorite novels. Once the stage has been set, participants will return for the second half of the program to focus on descriptive writing in a workshop setting. Arrive with nothing but your imagination and leave with an entire universe of your own characters and their compelling stories!

This program will begin around 10 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Lunch and snacks will be provided each day.

Cost: $205 per person
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Top of the Pop (Culture)!

Visit the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, WAMuseum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) – Seattle, WA
Day Program, Grades 5–7

green-arrow Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Join CTY for this amazing program at MoPOP, which invites you to unlock your creative potential through in-depth exhibitions and hands-on experiences that bring pop culture to life. Participate in two fascinating workshops and explore the new Minecraft exhibition:

Building New Worlds—Science-Fiction Story Builder: What can stories like Star TrekThe Hunger Games, and WALL-E tell us about our own society? We’ll examine what makes science-fiction stories unique, explore some common questions they pose, and seek inspiration for our own stories in the Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction exhibit.

The Hero’s Journey in Science Fiction and Fantasy: Embark on a hero’s journey! From Star Wars to Wonder Woman and beyond, we’ll examine the role of the hero and common elements among their stories, and we’ll write our own stories using inspiration from MoPOP’s galleries.

Explore Minecraft, the immersive new exhibition that brings the virtual landscape to life. Discover how it has developed into a platform for unlimited creative expression, community crafting, and influence to build a better world outside the game.

This program will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Admission to the museum, the Minecraft exhibition, and a $15 lunch voucher are included.

Cost: $75 per person
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Solving Tough Issues in International RelationsCTY students looking at a map

Hong Kong University – Hong Kong, China
Day Program, Ages 10–13
green-arrow Saturday, March 7, 2020

Participants in this action-packed program will work together to save a country torn between competing factions and on the brink of collapse. Acting as representatives of groups within the fictional dissolving country of Pakavia, families will learn to practice negotiation, diplomacy, and critical reasoning, using what they learn to redraw the country’s borders and negotiate a peaceful solution. A breakout session for parents includes strategies for continuing to engage students in thinking about the world. Participants will leave the program with stronger confidence and applicable skills for tackling tough global issues.

This program begins around 9 a.m. and ends around 4 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $165 US per person
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The Science of Speedrocket ship in space

San Diego Air & Space Museum – San Diego, CA
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Sunday, March 29, 2020

Prepare for a day of family-friendly engineering challenges! Build and test your own flying car during a Fly Your Ride workshop, create and test your own BattleBots in the Pavilion of Flight, and explore the Museum while testing your engineering skills at unique building stations specifically created for CTY: Space Lander Challenge and Glider Builders. Look inside the actual Apollo 9 space module as you explore SPACE: Our Greatest Adventure, an interactive exhibit that explores mankind’s quest for the stars and explains how space exploration impacts our daily lives. At the end of the day, take part in a secret mission which involves a mystery reentry payload drop.

This program will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Lunch and museum admission are included.

Cost: $145 per person
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Students in classroom sitting in circleScientists of the Sea

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – Sarasota, FL
Overnight Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Wednesday to Saturday, April 15-18, 2020

View a sample itinerary

Dive into the amazing and diverse underwater world of marine life at this renowned aquarium and research laboratory. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium houses unique and exciting ocean animals that thrive in Florida’s diverse marine ecosystems, and it includes a Dolphin and Whale Hospital and Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center. You will solve a Marine Mammal Mystery case, participate in field experiences such as kayaking through a mangrove forest and collecting marine specimens in Sarasota Bay, meet some resident animals and their trainers through exclusive tours of the aquarium, and much more! Whether exploring the bay aboard a private charter or gaining a deeper understanding of fish anatomy through hands-on investigation, you are guaranteed to have a unique and educational visit to Florida while experiencing this exciting program.

Some meals will be provided during the program. Hotel reservations and transportation are not included in the cost of this program.

Cost: $500 per person
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computer rendering of a planetary vehicle/droneDroning and Roving

Liberty Science Center – Jersey City, NJ
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Saturday, April 18, 2020

Participate in two fascinating science-based workshops at Liberty Science Center:

Paper Plane to Drones: This is Drone Training 101! Learn basic concepts of flight and apply this knowledge through flight experiments and flying micro pocket drones.

Sphero Rovers—Mission to Mars! Can you create the next Mars Rover design? Use your engineering and design skills to create a Sphero-driven rover that can carry a payload across our simulated Mars surface. Once you’ve designed your rover, jump into the driver’s seat and code your way through the tricky terrain!

To top off this exciting day, we’ll enjoy a film in the Planetarium Theater.

This program begins around 9:30 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. A lunch voucher and admission to the museum are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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lab buildingBig Lab, Big Ideas

California Science Center – Los Angeles, CA
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Saturday, April 25, 2020

The California Science Center’s Big Lab is no ordinary laboratory—it’s a place to conduct investigations and make discoveries during two dynamic workshops:

Boats and Balance: Don’t rock the boat! Find out why some boats float and some don’t by working with a team to design, build, and test model sailboats in the Big Lab’s 40’ x 20’ Water Works pool.

Rocket Lab: Explore aerodynamics, the forces of flight, and the engineering design process by designing, building, and launching model straw rockets.

You’ll also have an opportunity to tour the Endeavour exhibit. The Endeavour is a retired orbiter from NASA's Space Shuttle Program and the fifth and final operational shuttle built.

This program will begin around 9:30 a.m. and end around 3:30 p.m. Lunch and admission to the museum are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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Photo of Columbia UniversityClimate Change and the Human Body

Columbia University – New York, NY
Day Program, Grades 7–10
green-arrow Saturday, April 25, 2020

Hosted by Columbia’s Center for Environmental Health in northern Manhattan, this program will focus on the role of the environment in human health and disease. A keynote address by Dr. Joseph Graziano, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, will explore how exposure to toxins in everyday products and consumption affects our health. This will be followed by four breakout sessions that give participants the opportunity to explore the methods that are used to determine an individual’s exposure. The sessions will also show how environmental exposures like air pollution increase asthma and neurological diseases, how climate change can put health at risk, and the importance of environmental justice in developing fair solutions to these challenges.

This program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end around 4 p.m.

Cost: $195 per person
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International Spy Museum, Washington, DCSpy Games

International Spy Museum – Washington, D.C.
Overnight Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Saturday, May 2 – Sunday, May 3, 2020

The museum doors have been locked for the night. Behind the shadows, a group of exclusive recruits stand ready to begin a night of top-secret spy training. CTYers and their families will perfect their alias and cover story, check in at “Border Patrol,” and prepare for a night of intrigue and adventure. They will begin their mission by assuming a secret identity and gathering intelligence using real spy skills. During the night, students will transform themselves through disguise; make and break secret codes; interrogate real spies; and hunt for a mole in their ranks. Meanwhile, the adults will be busy with their own clandestine mission, the details of which are too sensitive to reveal. As day breaks, enemy agents will be exposed in a dramatic finale.

This program begins around 6 p.m. Saturday and ends around 10 a.m. Sunday. Participants should bring sleeping bags, mats, and pillows as they will be sleeping on the museum floor. A sandwich dinner, SPY snacks, a light breakfast, and museum admission are included.

Cost: $195 per person
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podium and microphone from speaker's point of view. Be a senator!Be a Senator

Edward M. Kennedy Institute – Boston, MA
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Sunday, May 3, 2020

You’ll be a senator for the day, working to craft legislation in the institute’s full-scale replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber. Using the Senate Immersion Module, families will learn about representation and the legislative process by deliberating, negotiating, and voting on a bill they create. Students will explore the history and traditions of the Senate, visit a replica of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Washington, D.C. office, and debate an active piece of legislation in committee, while parents tour exhibits before re-joining students for the bill’s conclusion on the Senate floor. This program educates families about the important role of the Senate in our government and inspires them to engage in the civic life of their communities.

This program begins around 10 a.m. and ends around 2:30 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $135 per person
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Two men digging in the woodsEnvironmental Exploration

NYU School of Medicine Department of Environmental Medicine
Sterling Forest State Park – Tuxedo, NY
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Sunday, June 7, 2020

Don a lab coat to extract DNA from strawberries with common kitchen items, determine how clean our air is and how much air our lungs can hold, play a scientific version of Jeopardy, and learn about the science of toxicology and other environmental health issues in this exciting, action-packed program. Families will also take a pond walk and an iron mine tour with an experienced park ranger who will help participants identify the many different species of aquatic life and the abundant variety of plants, animals, and birds in the forest.

This program will begin around 10 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Lunch is included.  

Cost: $145 per person
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microscope, gloved hand and a small vial of liquidGenetics, Bioinformatics, and Biomedical Research

National Institutes of Health – Bethesda, Maryland
Day Program, Grades 7–10
green-arrow ​Monday, June 29, 2020

Join us for a day of scientific inquiry at the National Institutes of Health. Co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and the National Human Genome Research Institute, this program features lectures given by leading experts in genetics, bioinformatics, and biomedical research, exciting hands-on activities for students, and a tour of the National Library of Medicine’s fascinating History of Medicine collection for parents.

This program begins around 9 a.m. and ends around 4 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $140 per person
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vegetables and a bag of beansMaster Chefs

Home Cooking New York – New York, NY
Day Program, Grades 5–7
green-arrow Saturday, August 15, 2020
green-arrow Saturday, September 12, 2020

Join one of the wonderful chefs from Home Cooking New York in a food adventure like no other! A knowledgeable chef-instructor will guide you through Union Square’s famous outdoor Greenmarket to learn about what foods are in season and how to select the best of the best. We will then go to the Home Cooking Manhattan cooking school, where we’ll use the ingredients we found to prepare a fresh three-course meal before sitting down together to enjoy it. This half-day program will provide an invaluable culinary experience for both students and parents!

The program will begin around 10 a.m. and end around 2 p.m.

Cost: $165 per person
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