Who hasn’t dreamt of becoming an astronaut? It’s a dream held by children and adults (or big kids) alike. Few people will ever get to really experience launching off from Cape Canaveral or walking in space. But you can come close by enrolling in the next best thing – space camp.
For years, attending space camp was strictly for kids and teens. Nowadays facilities offer adult and family camps for everyone to take part in. So if you want to experience weightlessness, get hands-on with robotics and rockets or learn how to survive on Mars, check out our selection of the best space camps America has to offer.
Camp Kennedy Space Center
Just across the river from Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast, is NASA’s launch headquarters, Kennedy Space Center. From here, NASA runs weeklong day camps for kids aged 7 to 16, focusing on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Activities are geared towards each age group and include astronaut training and hands-on engineering and lab experiments.
Your budding astronaut will get to fly to Mars and experience what it’s like to live and work in space. With the Space Shuttle Atlantis to explore and the opportunity to meet a veteran astronaut, Camp Kennedy Space Center offers space enthusiasts a unique experience that’s out of this world!
Space Camp at the U.S. Rocket and Space Center
The U.S. Rocket and Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is the home of Space Camp. Since 1982, Space Camp has been welcoming would-be astronauts and scientists to immerse themselves in different aspects of life in space. It boasts impressive alumni with 12 graduates becoming actual NASA astronauts. Space Camp also claims that 61% of attendees have gone on to have careers in defense, aerospace, energy, education, technology or biotech
When attending Space Camp, you get to choose a specialty path to follow:
- Space, which incorporates all things space-related
- Aviation, where you learn navigation and air-combat techniques
- Robotics, so you can build your own robot
- Cyber technology, which teaches you programming and online security skills
Space Camp has additional residential and day camp programs for adults, families, the visually-impaired and those with special needs, so everyone gets to take part in this once in a lifetime experience.
Virginia Space Flight Academy
If you’re looking to encourage your young ones to take an interest in STEM subjects, the Virginia Space Flight Academy could be the space camp for you. It offers week-long residential summer camps for children between the ages of 11 and 15. Campers can get involved in rocketry, building their own rocket using CAD design and 3D printers. By following the robotics program, kids take on the challenge of designing a robot with Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits.
The program also involves field trips to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the Navy’s Surface Combat System Center and the NOAA weather facility. Evening activities include go-cart racing, mini-golf and eating ice-cream so your child won’t miss out on traditional summer fun.
You may not get to step foot on the moon. But enrolling in one of these space camps will provide you and your family the chance to experience being an astronaut and allow you to escape to infinity and beyond! At least for a few days. (For more space info, please click here.)