Day-Off Camps

< Back to Programs

Fall 2023 Curriculum: Under the Microscope

School may be out, but that doesn’t mean the discovery has to stop! The Virginia Discovery Museum offers Day-Off Camps for children in preschool and early elementary throughout the school year when Charlottesville and Albemarle County public schools close for teacher work days. These half-day camps provide active and engaging enrichment opportunities around a central theme that changes each season, plus campers enjoy a special playtime in the galleries before the Museum opens. This fall, all of VDM’s Day-Off Camps and Discovery Workshops from September through November will uncover the incredible, infinitesimal world of microorganisms as we investigate the diminutive but dynamic engines that make life on Earth possible, exciting, and – sometimes – kind of freaky. VDM’s Under the Microscope curriculum supports Virginia’s Standards of Learning in Living Systems and Processes for first and second grades and encourages systematic use of investigation with a focus on asking questions, creating and using models, and recognizing relations and patterns.

Camp Details  |  Upcoming  |  General Policies  |  FAQs  |  Contact


Select Workdays
Times: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
(Child Packs a Lunch)

Day-Off Camp Check-In & Check-Out


Children 4 to 8
Space: 16 Kids Per Camp
(1:4 Staff-to-Child Ratio)

General Policies for Museum Camps


Camp: $60/Child
Annual Members:
10% Discount

Scholarships, Cancellations & Refunds

Upcoming Camps

No Day-Off Camps Currently Scheduled

For other Museum programs, please check out our Programs tab.

General Policies

Camp Participants
  • Campers with any of these symptoms are asked to refrain from visiting the Museum.
  • Masks are encouraged but optional for all campers. If a child does not have a mask and would like one, VDM will provide one for them.
  • All parents / guardians must Check-In at the front desk before dropping off campers at the Museum.
  • Nut-free lunches and labeled water bottles must be packed and placed in the designated bin in the Museum’s coat room.
  • No food, gum, or drinks are allowed in the Museum galleries, except water bottles.

Check-In & Check-Out
  • 9:00-9:30 a.m.: Arrival & Check-In
    • Takes place in the Museum’s front lobby area.
    • Campers will enjoy supervised play in the Museum’s front gallery until all campers arrive. The Museum will be closed for general admission visits during this time.
  • 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Camp Activities & Gallery Playtime Breaks
    • Camp activities will take place in the Creation Station camp room and will be interspersed with playtime in the Museum galleries.
    • Creation Station will be closed to general admission visitors, but the Museum galleries will be open to the public.
  • 12:00-12:45 p.m.: Lunch Time
    • Campers must pack a nut-free lunch and water bottle.
  • 12:45-1:00 p.m.: Pick-Up & Check-Out
    • Parents / Guardians are asked to wait in the front lobby area, and campers will be walked up by a staff member or volunteer.
    • Campers and their families may stay and play in the Museum galleries as long as they wish following the camp day, but parents / guardians must first check-out their child at the front desk so that staff knows the camper has been picked up.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Concerns

Will VDM be open for general admission during camps?

Yes, VDM will be open for general admission visits during camps, but the Creation Station camp room will only be open to campers.

Who else will be in the camp room during camps?

At least one VDM staff member and between one and two volunteers will be present during every camp. All staff members and any volunteers who will be in the building have been fully vaccinated against COVID.

How often is the Museum cleaned?

The Museum is cleaned daily, and a crew will be on site after the Museum closes to clean and sanitize.

Registration & Waitlists

What is required to be eligible for camp?

Children must be at least 4 years old and fully independent in the bathroom.

What if the camp I want to participate in has filled?

Camps have a maximum capacity of 12 children. If you have an interest in a camp that is full, please contact Education Manager Lara Musser at or (434) 977-1025 x106 to add your child's name to the waitlist. In the event of a cancellation, those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order their requests were received.

Financial Assistance

Does VDM offer financial assistance for camps?

In accordance with the Museum’s mission, VDM does offer a limited number of scholarships for all of its programs, including camps. For information about applying for a scholarship, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at or (434) 977-1025 x102.

Annual Members

How do I apply my 10% annual member discount?

To apply this discount to camp registrations made online, you must have an active annual membership and will need to create a Website User Account and link it to your membership record by following these instructions. If you have already created a Website User Account, click the registration link for the camp you wish to register for and sign in using the link at the top of the registration page. If you need help applying your 10% discount when using our online registration forms, please contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at or (434) 977-1025 x103.

How do I set up my Website User Account?

You can follow the instructions here or contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at or (434) 977-1025 x103.

Did I successfully link my Website User Account and membership?

Contact Visitor Services Manager Matt Berman at or (434) 977-1025 x103, and we’ll make sure everything is all set.

Cancellations & Refunds

What is VDM’s cancellation and refund policy for camps?

A minimum of 6 children is required for a camp to run. If a camp is canceled by the Museum due to insufficient enrollment or other extenuating circumstances, the registration fee will be refunded to all registrants.

Individual cancellations must be made at least 2 weeks before the corresponding camp to be eligible for a refund. If an individual cancellation causes the camp roster to fall below the required minimum, the refund will be contingent upon the vacancy being filled. If an individual cancellation is made within two weeks of the camp, the registration fee will be forfeited. No refunds will be issued after a camp begins.

Drop-Off & Pick-Up

Where can I park to drop off and pick up my child?

VDM validates parking for camp participants at the Market Street Garage and Water Street Garage. Both locations provide the first hour of parking for free, and camp participants receive an additional hour of free parking – for a total of two hours – when they request a validation ticket at VDM’s front desk. The Museum is also located next to the Downtown Transit Station, and Charlottesville Area Transit offers a Free Trolley that stops at the station as it travels through Downtown and the University of Virginia. Click to learn more about parking downtown or more about public bus routes and fares.

Click the icon in the upper left corner for map legend and details.

Does VDM provide food or should I pack a lunch for my child?

Due to food allergy concerns, the Museum does not provide any food or snacks during camps. Instead, camp participants are asked to pack nut-free lunches and labeled water bottles to help us maintain a nut-free environment for our friends with food allergies.

Do camps include gallery playtime?

Yes, camps do include playtime in the Museum galleries, both in the morning before VDM opens to the public and interspersed among activities throughout the camp day. Additionally, campers and their families may stay and play in the Museum galleries as long as they wish following the camp day, but parents / guardians must first check-out their child at the front desk so that staff knows the camper has been picked up.

Contact Us

To learn more about Day-Off Camps, contact Education Manager Lara Musser at or (434) 977-1025 x106. For scholarship information, contact Director of Operations Lindsay Jones at or (434) 977-1025 x102.