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Space Science Summer Camps for Rising 5th-8th Grades

2024 Camp information

We plan to have registration set up in March. Camps typically take several weeks to fill up. You are invited to check back, follow us on FB, X, or Instagram (click the icons at the bottom of any of our web pages), or sign up for our email list below.

The Dyer Observers Space Science Summer Camps support middle-school students in their exploration of the worlds of science, math, engineering, and technology, and open up their minds to future career possibilities in these fields.

The highlight of the week is a journey to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville for a day-long adventure. Other activities may include:

  • Interact with cutting-edge research astronomers.
  • Learn how telescopes work, and build your own.
  • Safely view the dynamic surface of the Sun through a solar telescope.
  • Learn about basic electronics, and use the knowledge to build working projects.
  • Design a surface lander to survive a 50′ drop from a drone.
  • Make your own realistic models of comets, and learn how craters are formed.
  • Design and launch water rockets as an introduction to rocketry.


  • 5th+6th grades the week of July 8-12
  • 7th+8th grades the week of July 15-19


  • Monday: Please arrive between 8am and 8:45am to get checked in.
  • Other regular days: Our gates open at 8am, but please have your camper here by 9am when activities begin. Pick-up time is 3pm sharp.
  • Wednesday: Arrive at Dyer between 7am and 7:10am to check in for our field trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Pick up at Dyer will be between 4:30pm and 5:30pm depending on traffic. We will give you more details about the trip the week of the camp.

COST: $350 per camper. Merit scholarships are not awarded, but financial aid is available to those students who demonstrate financial need.

LOCATION: Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory, 1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood, TN. The observatory is located off of Granny White Pike, approximately 1/3 mile north of Old Hickory Blvd. We are NOT on the main Vanderbilt campus.

HOW TO APPLY: Visit our camp page in early February for enrollment information.

DIRECTIONS: Set your GPS or see the Dyer website for directions to 1000 Oman Drive in Brentwood. Note that we are not located on the main Vanderbilt campus.

ATTIRE: Campers should wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes that are suitable for walking inside and outside, as well as appropriate for an educational environment. On Wednesday, your child is required to wear their camp shirt on the field trip.

LUNCH: Bring a lunch with beverage on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Additional snacks and drinks will be provided every day (taking into account campers’ allergies and food restrictions). On Wednesday, lunch will be provided at the Space and Rocket Center.


  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray as we will be outdoors for part of each day. We will have extra on hand if needed.
  • For our water rocket activity, please bring 2-liter soda bottles to camp if you have them. They may be clear or a color.

Further details and updates will be emailed to campers before camp starts.


On Wednesday we will travel on a chartered coach to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to explore exhibits, engage in an experiment, view a film, and maybe enjoy a few rides!

Be at Dyer Observatory between 7:00am-7:10am to check in. We will leave at 7:30am and cannot wait for late students.

The target return time is 5:30pm. Due to unpredictable traffic, we cannot guarantee that exact time. If campers have their own cell phones, we will ask them to contact you with arrival updates. You may certainly call them for updates. If your child does not have a cell phone, one will be provided for them to contact you. Please be sure they know the number to call.

Admission and on-site activities for this trip are included in your camp fee, so everything is already paid. The only money you may wish to send is for a gift shop visit. We end the day in that area waiting for the bus. Lunch and snacks will be provided on the field trip. Campers may bring additional food if they like, but they will have to eat/leave it on the bus or carry it around with them if they wish to eat it at lunch time.

Clothing: Campers must wear their Dyer camp shirts on the field trip. This is how we easily identify and track them when mixing with other groups. Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. (No flip-flops) We will be both inside and outside while on the grounds.

Items not allowed in the US Space and Rocket Center Park include digital music players, portable game devices, CD players, radios, etc., but they are allowed on the bus. Cameras are encouraged!

Questions? Email Alex. Rockafellar or phone (615) 373-4897 for more information.

Download our camp flier to share or print.