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Family Programs for Grades 7-12

Our interactive programs include one-day and overnight learning experiences for students and parents at prestigious museums, aquariums, and science and nature centers. Program structure varies at each site, but every event includes hands-on activities designed to provide an environment in which families can learn and discover new interests together.

A note about our overnight programs: Unless otherwise indicated, families spend the night in the host institution. Participants should bring sleeping bags, foam pads, and pillows, as they will be sleeping on the floor.


Programs for Grades 5-7

Volcano Campout

Mount St. Helens Institute – Toutle, Washington
Overnight Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, August 3 to Sunday, August 4, 2019

Participants in this overnight adventure experience a volcano at night while learning about the ever-changing landscape of Mount St. Helens and the fascinating geological discoveries underway there. CTYers and their families engage in hands-on scientific activities including an evening hike and interactive discussions with educators about the Pacific Northwest’s volcanic landscapes, natural processes, and cultural past. Trek in the Blast Zone area and marvel at the dramatic views of the volcano, the Pumice Plain, and Spirit Lake. This campout in the Science and Learning Center offers spectacular views of the crater and lava dome. This program begins around 2 p.m. Saturday and ends around noon on Sunday. It includes dinner and a continental breakfast and lunch. Participants should bring sleeping bags, mats, and pillows as they will be sleeping in bunk beds. Detailed information will be available upon registration.

Cost: $205 per person
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Adventures in Cooking

Home Cooking New York – New York, New York
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, August 24, 2019
green-arrow Saturday, September 21, 2019 - CLOSEDAdd me to the wait list

Interested in the science of cooking and eating? Join one of the chefs from Home Cooking New York culinary school in this food adventure like no other. Our chef will guide CTYers and their families through Union Square’s famous outdoor Greenmarket to learn what foods are in season and how to select the best of the best. We will then go to the Home Cooking New York’s Manhattan cooking school where we will use ingredients we bought to prepare a fresh and delicious three-course meal. Afterwards, families will sit down together and enjoy the wonderful meal prepared by the CTY chefs. This nourishing program will provide an invaluable culinary education for students and parents, while teaching them to look at food in a whole new way. This program begins around 10 a.m. and ends around 2 p.m.

Cost: $165 per person
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Science Under Sail

Living Classrooms Foundation at Masonville Cove – Baltimore, Maryland
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Sunday, October 6, 2019

Participants learn about urban environmental issues through this distinctive program held jointly at the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Campus (MCEEC) and aboard the traditional Chesapeake Bay skipjack Sigsbee. At MCEEC, families use the microscope lab to dissect Eastern oysters and learn about their role as a keystone species in the Chesapeake Bay. Families also learn the unique history of Masonville, including how humans have impacted the local environment. Then participants board the Sigsbee, where they raise and lower the sails, navigate and steer the boat, trawl for estuarine life, measure water quality including dissolved oxygen and salinity, and get a close-up view of the Port of Baltimore. This program begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $135 per person
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Wonders of Ancient China

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Sunday, October 13, 2019

Travel back through centuries of time and explore priceless artifacts from the many dynasties of ancient China, including writings on oracle bones, Buddhist artwork, and sculpture from early Chinese tombs and temples. Through engaging activities and discussions, participants will learn about the techniques archaeologists use to determine an artifact’s age, try their hand at the art of writing with Chinese characters, and compete in teams to create large timeline scrolls and see which team can place objects correctly in time the fastest. This program will begin around 9 a.m. and end around 3 p.m. Lunch and admission to the museum are included.     

Cost: $135 per person
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Spy Games

International Spy Museum – Washington, D.C.
Overnight Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, October 19 to Sunday, October 20, 2019

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, light breakfast, and admission to the Museum on Sunday are included.

Cost: $195 per person
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Lunar Engineering and Science

Fleet Science Center – San Diego, California
Day Program, Grade 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, November 2, 2019

Join CTY and Fleet Science Center’s resident astronomer Dr. Lisa Will for an expedition to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon. Through lively discussions and activities, participants will become space engineers for a day—examining the latest lunar research, designing, building, and launching their own rocket, and creating and testing a space shuttle parachute system to see if their shuttle can survive a rapid descent into Earth’s atmosphere. This program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Lunch and museum admission are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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Coding and Problem Solving: Surviving Worst Case Scenarios

The Franklin Institute – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Sunday, November 3, 2019

What do robots and disaster survival skills have in common? Find out in this exciting day-long program at The Franklin Institute! Through hands-on activities and engaging discussions, participants will learn about computer coding and command logic using small robots called Ozobots, design and test a flight device to safely transport a 3-D designed object, and tour the new exhibit The Worst-Case Scenario: Survival Experience, where they’ll use problem solving skills and teamwork to navigate a series of interactive survival scenarios. The program concludes with a screening of the new IMAX movie: Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation. These programs are designed for each grade level. This program begins at 9 a.m. and ends around 3 p.m. A $12 lunch voucher and museum admission are included.

Cost: $140 per person
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Magic at the Met

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, New York
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Tuesday, November 5, 2019
green-arrow Monday, November 11, 2019

Families see the Metropolitan Museum of Art through a magical lens with this tour inspired by the Harry Potter series. Participants see part of an actual castle and signage that could have come right from Diagon Alley! Educational guides take students and their families through games and other activities to connect them with these popular fantasy books. Brush up on your wizarding knowledge, and feel free to wear wizarding gear for this program co-hosted by Fable & Lark, an innovative, educational organization that conducts storied adventures. This program begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 3:30 p.m. The cost of the program includes museum admission and a $25 "express coupon" to use in the museum’s cafeteria.

Cost: $155 per person
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Aquarium Overnight

The National Aquarium – Baltimore, Maryland
Overnight Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, November 23 to Sunday, November 24, 2019

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 access to fascinating areas inside the aquarium with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, workshops and interactive discussions with aquarium experts, and a closer look at some of the aquarium’s animals. Participants gain an appreciation for what it takes to care for more than 17,000 animals who live there. This program is an overnight. It begins at 5 p.m. Saturday and ends at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. It includes dinner, a light breakfast, and admission to the aquarium on Sunday. Participants should bring sleeping bags, mats, and pillows as they will sleep on the floor of the aquarium.

Cost: $195 per person
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Explorations in Science: Celestial Mechanics

Lawrence Hall of Science – Berkeley, California
Day Program, Grades 5-7
green-arrow Saturday, December 7, 2019

Join CTY at the Lawrence Hall of Science for an out-of-this-world exploration of astronomy, chemistry, engineering, and the physical world. Through hands-on experiments, activities, and discussions, participants will dive deep into intersections between the laws of motion and gravitation, systems of planets and moons, the solar system, and our galaxy, and employ engineering practices to determine the roles of force and motion in the design of moving mechanisms. This program will begin around 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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Mission to Phobos: Aerospace Engineering and Technology

Museum of Flight – Seattle, Washington
Day Program, Grades 5-7

green-arrow Sunday, December 8, 2019

Blast off into the exciting world of aerospace science, engineering, and technology at Seattle’s Museum of Flight! Guided by museum educators, families will embark on a fascinating virtual mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. During their voyage, participants will discover the mission is in jeopardy due to a rogue asteroid on a collision course with Mars, and work together using the tools of aerospace engineers and scientists to handle the emergency and its aftermath. After saving the mission and safely returning to Earth, our hero engineers will study the effect of space flight on the human body, designing their own space-ready pressure suit and testing it in the Museum’s portable vacuum chamber. This program begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends around 2:30 p.m. Lunch, museum admission, and educational materials are included.

Cost: $135 per person
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Programs for Grades 7-12

Holographic Microscopy

New York University – New York, New York
Day Program, Grades 7-10
green-arrow Saturday, November 2, 2019

An in-line holographic microscope uses laser illumination and a conventional video camera to record holograms of microscopic objects. Using techniques from computer vision to analyze the resulting stream of holograms yields astonishingly precise information about the positions and properties of particles. Participants will build working holographic microscopes and will use them to perform experiments on systems, including iridescent colloidal crystals, natural colloidal dispersions, and bacteria. The program offers a tutorial on holograms and computational holography, an introduction to high-power techniques of computer vision, and a hands-on clinic for precision measurements with home-made microscopes. This program begins around 9 a.m. and ends around 4 p.m.

Cost: $155 per person
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Instrument Build-A-Thon

Stevens Institute of Technology – Hoboken, New Jersey
Day Program, Grades 7-12
green-arrow Saturday, November 2, 2019

Calling all sound explorers! CTY and the Music & Technology Program at Stevens Institute of Technology invite you to join us for a polyphonic adventure in instrument building and improvisation. During this one-day workshop, families will explore digital, electronic, and acoustic strategies in instrument production, discuss build workflow strategies, and research instrument-building resources to use in their own instrument build. Participants can come to the workshop with materials for an instrument they’d like to build, or get their creative juices flowing with inspiration projects and instrument materials provided at the workshop. At the end of the day, participants will perform in a group improvisation to showcase the idiosyncratic variety of instruments they produced together! This program will begin around 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $135 per person
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America's Industrial Past and Present

New York Historical Society – New York, New York
Day Program, Grades 7-12
green-arrow Sunday, November 10, 2019

Discover how new technology intersects with the past and see New York’s oldest museum, the New York Historical Society, through a whole new lens! Designed exclusively for CTY families, this program invites participants to explore the Industrial Era in the United States and examine the impact its innovations have had on American society over time. Through engaging discussions and hands-on activities, participants will delve into the new machines and manufacturing processes of the Industrial Revolution, and then use the modern, cutting-edge technologies of today to create their own robotics and circuitry. Families will also have the opportunity to experience “The Big Picture” gallery, an exhibit about American panoramas. This program will begin around 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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Inside APL

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory – Laurel, Maryland
Day Program, Grades 7-10
green-arrow Monday, November 11, 2019

In its 70-year history, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has worked with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and the National Security Administration, among others, to find solutions to some of the country’s most pressing scientific and national security challenges. Participants in this program explore the engineering, research and development approaches used to solve some of these challenges by engaging with APL scientists and engineers, and learn about APL’s internship opportunities. This program begins around 9 a.m. and ends around 4 p.m. Lunch is included.

Cost: $145 per person
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Shocking Henries, Leaping Lizards, and Meandering Water Bears: Exploring Electromagnetism, Engineering, and Biology

Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey
Day Program, Grades 7-10
green-arrow Saturday, November 16, 2019

Join us for an unforgettable day-long exploration of electromagnetism, engineering, and biology, hosted by two renowned Princeton University professors. Through hands-on experiments and engaging lectures, participants will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Oersted’s discovery of electromagnetism by learning about units of electromagnetic inductance called ‘henries,’ and delve into the many original and modern applications of electromagnetism. Later, families will investigate control strategies used by lizards and collective behavior in biology (the way birds flock and skin heals), putting what they’ve learned into practice by making mazes to trap tiny ‘water bears’ called Tardigrades.

Cost: $140 per person
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