Summer Camp

Summer is a time for fun with friends, exploring interests and discovering new worlds! Van Andel Institute for Education (VAI) is offering a unique summer camp experience for 2nd through 12th graders. Students will learn to think and act like scientists in hands-on and interactive investigations. Click on a toggle below to view details for each camp.

Our 2020 Summer Camp schedule is now available! Registration opens January 1, 2020.

2020 Elementary, Middle School, and High School Camps

2nd – 3rd Grade | Can you Dig it?

Explore the amazing world of fossils. Learn how fossils are formed, discovered, and used to help us understand Earth’s past. Participate in a fossil dig and create your very own fossil! Think and act like a true paleontologist as you explore, ask questions, and find answers to the mystery of prehistoric life. Continue your discoveries with a bonus trip to the Grand Rapids Public Museum during one of your five days of fossil fun.

Dates: June 8 – 12
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

2nd – 3rd Grade | Sense-ational Animals

Join us as we explore the amazing world of animal senses. Observe and handle creatures with extraordinary eyes, fantastic feelers, and other sense-ational senses.  Learn how animals use their senses to survive in their environment and use LEGO® Education WeDo robots to explore the science of senses.

Dates: August 3 – 7
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

4th – 5th Grade | Animal Survivor: Pill Bugs, Newts, & Geckos, Oh My!

Our campers begged for more—and we delivered with an expanded all-day experience! Explore the world of animal adaptations in this week-long camp with double the discovery! Study animal behavior, observe structural traits, and discover what helps animals survive in the wild. Learn about a variety of species including invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles through hands-on investigations; and build your animal expertise as you learn to handle and interact with our resident animals and look to nature to inspire solutions to everyday problems.

Dates: June 22 – 26
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lunch: Bring your own
Cost: $120
Join the waitlist

4th – 6th Grade | What's in Our Water? Exploring the Grand River

Ever wonder, “what’s in our water?” Investigate this question as you collect, test, and analyze local water samples. Examine possible sources of contamination in our waterways and come up with solutions. Build your environmental expertise as you explore ways to improve our water quality right here in the Grand Rapids area. Learn from environmental experts to better understand how all of our water is connected—and how crucial it is to keep it clean!

Dates: July 27 – 31
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

4th – 5th Grade | Girl Scouts: Journey Through a Life in Space

In partnership with the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore

Age: Girl Scouts (Juniors) entering 4th or 5th grade in the Fall of 2020

Did you know that virtually every female astronaut has been a Girl Scout? Join us for a week of exploration to learn what it’s like to live and work in space. Earn your Space Science Investigator badge as you discover how the human body works differently in space, gain an understanding of the dangers associated with space travel, learn about what robots can do for humans in space, and much more!

Dates: August 3 – 7
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost:
$60
Register Now

5th – 6th Grade | Life in Space: A Journey Through the Extremes

In partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Museum (posted on their site)

Explore the dangers associated with space travel and investigate ways to make space travel safe for humans. Conduct investigations in Earth and Space science, physics, biology, and engineering. Understand how our bodies work differently in space than on Earth, and investigate the use of robots to help explore hazardous places.

Dates: July 20 – 24
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $120

2020 Camp Registration Coming Soon

6th – 8th Grade | Crime Scene Forensics: Catching a Criminal

Explore and learn what it takes to be a crime scene forensic scientist. Study different techniques used to analyze a crime scene, determine who is ultimately responsible for committing different crimes, and participate in hands-on investigations focusing on fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and more! Talk with an actual crime scene forensic scientist to learn more about this exciting career, and be ready to put your skills to the test, and solve a crime on the last day of camp!

Dates: July 6 – 10
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Join the waitlist

6th – 8th Grade | Power Up: Energizing the Future

Discover the different types of renewable energy and how to use them: use wind energy and power a generator, capture solar energy to heat water, and harness electricity to drive a car. Now more than ever, energy needs to be renewable. Through hands on investigations, learn how different alternative energies can be used to power the future.

Dates: July 20 – 24
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register Now

6th – 8th Grade | Hogwarts in Grand Rapids: The Science Behind the Magic

Calling all witches and wizards! Our campers begged for more—so we doubled the magic with an expanded all-day experience! Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter as you attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—Van Andel style! Get sorted into houses, make a magic wand, and attend courses such as Potions, Caring for Magical Creatures, Herbology, History of Magic, and Broomstick Flying! Use your newfound knowledge to compete in the all new Triwizard Tournament at the end of the camp. 

Dates: August 10 – 14
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Lunch: Bring your own
Cost: $120
Join the waitlist

6th – 9th Grade | Mission to Mars


Explore the science, engineering, and technology needed to complete a Mission to Mars. Build and test a rocket that will travel into space! Use LEGO® Mindstorm robots to construct and test a rover to investigate the surface of the Red Planet. Simulate the role of mission control as you attempt to program your robot to complete mission critical tasks.

Dates: July 27 – 31
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cost:
$60
Register Now

9th – 12th Grade | Biotech Explorers


Investigate the field of biotechnology as you conduct experiments and visit Van Andel Institute research labs to learn from the experts. Learn how to perform lab techniques used in research facilities found around the world including DNA extraction, PCR amplification, gel electrophoresis, gene regulation, and protein purification.

Dates: June 15 – 19
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Cost:
$100
Register Now

Refund/Cancellation Policy
  • Full refunds will be given if requested more than 7 days before the start date of your camp.
  • Partial refunds (50% tuition) will be given if requested 7 days or less of the start date of your camp.