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Best STEM Summer Camps In Portland (2024)

Portland is a proud regional center offering immersive STEM camps based on your child’s interests.

These challenging programs encourage students to explore and understand topics that are at the forefront of learning these days. This city in Oregon offers many fun opportunities for kids to connect with others while they apply new knowledge in exciting ways.

In these supportive environments, your child can learn, create, and enjoy the process of invention. Whether the focus is coding a video game, designing a 3D robot, or watching chemical interactions, your child will have new experiences that make studying fun.

STEM Camps In Portland

1. Starbase Portland

Starbase Portland offers after-school STEM programs for 5th graders and completely free summer camps for third to eighth graders at the Portland Air National Guard (PANG) Base.

Students from grades 3-5 can choose to attend physics, robots, and chemistry camps. Kids can experiment with the laws of motion, problem-solve with Lego Spike and Sphero robot projects, or have loads of fun with chemicals and explosions.

Students in grades 6-8 can additionally engage in aquatic biology and engineering and design camps. Kids can collect samples and identify tiny aquatic organisms from Whitaker Pond or design a game board using Glowforge laser cutters. 

Other options include coding, building, and battling with robots or visiting a hangar and exploring the thrill of aviation with drones and simulators. Starbase operates 3-day sessions from 9 am to 2 pm in July and August. 

2. Experiment PDX

Experiment PDX is Portland’s Hands-On Museum and Event Space located off of Stark St. in the southeast. The Museum is open all year and offers after-school and summer 5-day sessions for incoming K-5 graders. 

Campers can choose either full-day LEGO robotics engineering camps or half-day LEGO camps in the mornings with interactive science, arts, crafts, story-telling, and reading activities in the afternoons.

Kids attending the full day can bring their lunch and stay at the Museum for a supervised lunch hour between morning and afternoon sessions.

Experiment PDX also features an 8-class Adventures In Circus series on Tuesdays. Kids in grades 2 – 5 have fun with acrobatics, plate-spinning, dance, and theater performances.

3. Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy encourages younger students from grades 2nd to 8th to develop an interest in STEM topics and provides older students with future career-path learning. Summer is the perfect time to introduce your children to space exploration and rockets, mystery-solving, the study of fossils and ancient animals, and painting and photography at the Saturday Academy

Kids in grades 3-5 can sign up for a Lego Makers Camp if they’re into design or step outside for a nature class about everything from seeds to sustainability. They could also opt for an animation class or learn how to construct machines.

Middle school students can participate in advanced classes in engineering and robotics and explore future career opportunities in aerospace, journalism, athletics, or nutrition.

Summer camps at Saturday Academy are on a 5-day basis, from 9 am to 4 pm daily. Optional after-camp daycare is available until 6.

4. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

OMSI creates excitement about science, technology, and design in Portland and the rest of this Oregon region. In addition to year-round events, labs, and shows, the museum offers STEM-themed day and overnight camps for those in K-8.

Classroom themes at OMSI include science magic, life science, outer-space adventure, pet care, and more. Game design, animation, Lego SPIKE robotics, and music science are also hot topics that kids will love.

Residential Science and Adventure camps at Camp Gray on Oregon’s coast and centrally located Camp Hancock last 3 or 5 days. Camp Gray takes campers on ecosystem and seashore exploring, hiking coastal trails, making nature art, and campfires on the beach.

Camp Hancock hosts students for high desert adventures, including wilderness survival training, rafting, astronomy, paleontology, and fossil hunting.

5. Oregon State University

Oregon State University (OSU) has cutting-edge summer camps for high school students. These immersive programs allow kids to delve into fascinating food science, toxicology, computer programming, color theory, cybersecurity, and microbiology classes. Most are either free of charge or can be attended via scholarships.

While some camps are located at the OSU campus in Corvallis, others include field trips to outlying locations like the Hatfield Marine Station or the Eugene Airport. Optional transport is available to and from local area high schools near the OSU campus, and lunches are provided. 

Other day camps at OSU last 1 to 2 weeks and include a 4-H summer conference for middle and high schoolers.

6. Catlin Gabel

Catlin Gabel is a progressive independent day school in Portland that welcomes children of all grade levels. During the long school break, the popular facility brings campers to its 67-acre campus to explore STEM studies.

Week-long camps at Catlin Gabel are age-specific and run over 8 weeks. The daily schedule also has optional morning and afternoon extended care. All programs offer a balance of classroom study and outdoor time for fun and exercise.

Kids between 4 to 6 years old can enjoy themed classes such as outer space, farms and planting, science, crafting, and the Summer Olympics. In addition to science experiments, wood shop, and maker space activities, campers go on field trips to the local zoo and the Portland Art Museum. Older students participate in tinkering, coding, game design, media, and sports. 

7. Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

OHSU, Oregon’s acclaimed public health center offers academic in-person and remote internships focused on science, mathematics, engineering, and technology in scientific fields.

Internships are multi-week programs that take teens into laboratories, out in nature, or working alongside researchers at OHSU. On the tech side, students dive into robotics engineering and video/filmmaking, create renewable power devices, and work with 3D printers. 

Science-related internships include molecular imaging, research on heart development, decibel health impacts, and public health education. Teens can also opt for hands-on ecological field research on rare plants and endangered species.

The ASE (Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering) is an eight-week summer internship program that matches teens with mentors in various fields throughout Oregon. The students receive in-depth personal mentorship at universities, research facilities, hospitals, and private companies.

8. Portland State University

Maseeh College of Science and Engineering at Portland State University welcomes students from all backgrounds to join their robust community outreach programs.

Maseeh College hosts ongoing and summer education for students within underrepresented groups. PSU sponsors year-round inclusivity support organizations to help students succeed in engineering and computer science studies.

Portland Metro STEM Partnership (PMSP) collaborates with K-12 schools in the city to advance high school science and career connections through government programs, industry involvement, and corporate fundraising.

Oregon MESA is a pre-college elective in area schools that promotes inclusive student participation in technology. CyberPDX is a free 5-day residential summer camp for Native American high school students hosted at Maseeh College. The camp features an interactive curriculum focused on cybersecurity.