15 Pittsburgh summer camps for kids who love tech and science

Photo above courtesy of Tree Pittsburgh.

There are summer camps in Pittsburgh for every kid. Some focus on sports and outdoor fun, others are all about the creative arts, and many offer a broad mix of all these things. You can find them all in our big 2024 summer camp guide. But what if your kid would prefer to spend summer days deep-diving into the worlds of science and technology?

Pittsburgh-area summer camps have you covered for that, too!

The lineup of 14 great local summer camps you’ll find below offers everything from cyber security and environmental science to digital media production, computer coding, tech tinkering, veterinary science and even genetic research.

Check out what’s available:

summer camp
Photo courtesy of Assemble Pittsburgh.

1. Assemble Pittsburgh

Summer camp at Assemble Pittsburgh offers STEAM camps for kids entering grades 1-9. Camps, happening this year June 19 through Aug. 9, are all about hands-on learning through shared experiences. This year’s weekly themes include Film Crew Camp, Eco Explorers and Animation Camp. Explore their lineup and register right here. Scholarships are available, and registration is free for Garfield residents.

2. University of Pittsburgh Gene Team

Science-minded teens from Pittsburgh Public Schools and other urban high schools who have an interest in biology are invited to apply for the five-week Gene Team program. Pitt Biology Outreach will provide state-of-the-art laboratory training to collect data for a current research project. Bus passes will be supplied and participants will receive a stipend at the end of the program. Sessions will include a focus on strategies and skills that will help with college applications. To be eligible, kids must have completed one year of high school biology. Gene Team runs from June 24 to July 19. Applications will be available in March and accepted through April. Students will be selected for the program and notified in May.

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Science Center. (Masks were used during the pandemic.)

3. Kamin (formerly Carnegie) Science Center

Carnegie Science Center offers a wide range of camps for ages 4-14. Kids can step into the shoes of a space scientist to search the universe for habitable planets. They can learn about superhuman science or take a scientific voyage through the Magic School Bus and dive into video game design. Registration opens for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh members on March 4 and to the public on March 11. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available.

4. ICE-T Project

In this initiative of The Citizen Science Lab, Black youth will explore the computational and experimental techniques required to examine the physiology, biochemistry, and voltage potential of microbial fuel cells (MFC), a living battery powered by bacteria. After learning basic concepts, students will build and create a device powered by these living batteries. The program is open to all Black high schoolers. We weren’t able to confirm details for summer programming as of Feb. 1, but they should be coming soon to their website.

Photo courtesy of WQED Film Academy.

5. WQED Film Academy

WQED Film Academy is a youth education program in digital media arts and filmmaking. The Academy is open to all high schoolers, from rising ninth-graders up through recent high school grads. Teaching artists and professional mentors will offer a curriculum covering all aspects of digital media production, including storytelling, camera, audio, lighting and editing. Summer session dates and details should be announced soon.

6. Camp Invention

Camp Invention offers an inspiring, action-packed experience for kids in grades K-6. The STEM summer program helps kids develop innovative thinking and problem-solving skills and encourages collaboration. Camps are held in schools around Pittsburgh. Find a program location and register here.

7. Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code summer programs teach high school girls and non-binary students the computer science skills they need to drive community impact and prepare for a tech career. Participants will get exposure to tech jobs, meet women in tech careers and join a supportive sisterhood of girls in tech. The program is available as a 2-week intensive immersion or a 6-week self-paced program and offers a $300 needs-based stipend for eligible students. Apply here.

8. Air Force Association CyberCamp

The annual Air Force Association CyberCamp is presented via a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security and Pitt Information Technology. This year, the free, weeklong camp is scheduled from June 24-28. High school kids will be immersed in a range of technical skills and digital literacy with a focus on cyber ethics and systems security. Sign up to be notified about registration tentatively opening in May.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

9. Pittsburgh Zoo

You might say Summer Zoo Camps are pretty wild. Each five-day week is packed with animal encounters, guided tours and themed classroom lessons designed to be fun and engaging for specific age groups. Themes this year include Amazing Animals, Wild Destinations and Photos for Conservation. Registration begins Feb. 7.

10. Mad Science

With titles like Fizz Boom Bang, Red Hot Robots, Brixology and Underground Explorers, Mad Science summer camp sessions have us intrigued. Workshops, held at a number of area locations, are geared to kids from kindergarten through 6th grade, giving them the chance to be junior scientists for the summer. Register here for your choice of location and camp.

A teen naturalist explores his surroundings through one of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy programs.

11. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Kids ages 4-14 are the focus of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s summer camps based out of the Frick Environmental Center. Camps are geared to specific ages, so kids get the most from the experience. In Kinder Camp, for example, 4- and 5-year-olds dig for worms, plant seeds and sing songs. Fifth and sixth graders in Outdoor Expedition Camp take part in hands-on projects and skill-building activities while exploring the beautiful spaces in Frick Park. This year, registration opens at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. Scholarships (called “camperships”) are available — details here.

12. The Hillman Academy

The Hillman Academy provides authentic research experiences and mentorship to high school students ages 15 and older. Participants work in labs on a cancer research project alongside a Pitt faculty member, graduate student or post-doc. The seven-week program tentatively runs June 17 to Aug. 2 with a final application deadline of Feb. 11. The program offers 34-plus stipends to students from underrepresented groups.

Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

13. National Aviary

As of Feb. 1, some of the National Aviary summer camps (Toddler Camp and Little Explorers) are already sold out for 2024. But Colors of Nature for kids 6-12 and the Saving Species with Science teen camp are still available. Get all the details and register here.

14. Tree Pittsburgh’s STEAM Outside Camp

For two weeks this summer, the STEAM Outside Camp will engage 4th, 5th, or 6th graders in the urban forest, fields, and rivers through a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) lens. The camp takes full advantage of Tree Pittsburgh’s five‑acre riverfront campus with interactive activities focused on the benefits of trees, nature in an urban environment, exploration of riparian forests and river habitats, and the life of a tree from seed to sapling at the Heritage Nursery. Camp will be happening June 24-28 and July 8-12 at Tree Pittsburgh’s campus in Upper Lawrenceville. Register here.

15. PA Trolley Museum Summer Camps 

For a wonderfully unique experience, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is hosting STEAM-focused summer camps for children ages 6 through 12, designed to ignite curiosity and creativity  while blending history with hands-on STEAM activities. All camps include behind-the-scenes, interactive guided tours of the museum’s collection of artifacts and historic streetcars, plus time to explore the new 21,000-square-foot Welcome and Education Center exhibit galleries. Kids can also ride on several of the museum’s fully-restored antique trolleys, helping to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, while building new friendships and memories on their STEAM-fueled adventures. Details and registration here.