Camper Guide


PARI camps allow visitors to explore their passions, discover new interests, and expand academic boundaries while embarking on exciting adventures in the spectacular Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Mountain region.

Learn About:


What is a typical day like at PARI.


See the variety of places a PARI camper may travel and the fun things we do on campus.


Get the most out of your camp experience.


The tools and resources available to you and how they work.


Eating and sleeping, important on Earth and in space!


Whether you drive, fly, or get beamed by a transporter, here is how to find our coordinates.


What you’ll need while you’re here.

Camp Schedules


Later to bed and later to rise gives us more time under dark skies!

As a campus dedicated to astronomy we make sure campers see the sky every chance they get. That means we stay up a little later and get up a little later so our schedule is shifted towards the evening. We won't be pulling any all-nighters, but we'll often be out after dark.

Field trips, weather, and special events might alter a few days, but the normal schedule is like this:

  • The offical start of the day is at 10:00 AM. Your counselors will set a wake up time so you can be up and ready and have a good breakfast ahead of time.
  • Mornings are usually spent in the classroom. We spend this time getting ready for what the day will bring and learning something new to prepare for it.
  • Lunch is in the early afternoon, typically about 12:30 PM.
  • Afternoons are often spent on activities, projects, and research. You and your team will be diving into new topics,using scientific instruments, recording data, trying experiments, or building and making new things.
  • Dinner starts between 5:00 & 6:00 PM.
  • Evenings are for fun. And, sometimes more research. Some telescopes you have to use at night after all. There will be camp fires and PARI Ball tournaments and throwing things you built off the sides of buildings, stuff like that. Find examples in the Field Trips and Recreation section!
  • Bed time is after dark. Your counselors will set a lights out time that will allow you to spend some time out in the dark, but still get a good night's sleep.

* Especially for the more academically intensive camps, classroom and lecture time will be heavier during the beginning few days of the camp session, but taper off and be replaced with more activity, project, and research time as the camp progresses. This allows us to provide the knowledge and training necessary to use scientific instruments and data safely and successfully!

Field Trips & Recreation


Blue Ridge Mountains, Pisgah Natoinal Forest, Land of Waterfalls

PARI's home is in one of the must beautiful regions of the country. There is a reason so many summer camps are in this region.

Whether its competitions and experiements with rockets and robots or journeys to waterfalls, your time at camp will be full of memories!

Click to see more about trips and activities!

Did you know that PARI is also in the Appalachian temperate rainforest? Read about it!

Camper Expectations & Safety

Our staff is dedicated to providing an educational, exciting, and safe camp environment for our students and guests.


Safety is our top priority at PARI. Our counselors and staff are carefully screened and trained in first aid and CPR. Campers are supervised at all times. Camper orientation and safety guidelines are communicated on arrival day. Here are topics we cover:

  • Nurse station
  • Site Layout and regions
  • ADA Compliance
  • Buildings and their purposes
  • General Safety Rules
  • Emergency Situations
  • Leaving the PARI campus and authorized areas
  • Water Safety & Policies
  • Climbing Policy
  • Instrument Safety
  • Confined Spaces
  • Trash & Obstructions
  • Weather Hazards
  • Emergency Phones
  • Buddy System
  • Special Rules for Field Trips
  • Wildlife Safety including insects and harmful plants

The wildlife section also contains some interesting and unique creatures only found in our region!


Campers are expected to be respectful and courteous to one another, to camp staff, and to those who visit us and those at places we visit.

They are expected to treat the campus facilities and equipment with care and respect, at PARI, and anywhere we visit. They should observe the rules and act in a way to preserve the safety of themselves, others, and the spaces around them.

Campers should be prepared to participate fully in the camp program during both academic and recreational portions of the camp. They should have curiosity and a willingness to learn and experiment, experience new things, and support their teammates. They must keep in mind that though experiments don't always yield the result that was sought, the results are still valuable.


PARI believes that while the clock is an important tool to guide our day, it is not more important than the expreriences, engagement, and inspiration we can provide.

Camp schedules are intended to provide a general idea of the schedule to be followed during the camp session. Activities may shift due to weather, guest speaker availability, or unique astronomical events.


Campers must give appropriate acknowledgement or citation to any materials or resources used in the course of their studies. Copyright, and licenses for use must be honored. PARI provides guidance and assistance in maintaining integrity in all the work that is conducted during camp.


We strive for a balance between the amazing abilities technology gives us to explore the universe around us, and the distraction it can also provide.

Technology is a great help in studying the universe. PARI is proud to be able to provide all the tools and software necessary to do this. Our computer lab is fully equipped to allow campers to do research, work with data, and present their findings.

Other times the best way to learn about the universe is hands-on experiments and projects that can be done without a computer or electronics of any kind. Whether its building a model rocket, creating a landing craft, or observing the night sky, we set technology aside when our hands and brains will get the job done.


Campers should not bring phones to camp. There are no camp activities or challenges that require them, and we find that their presence serves as a strong distraction from learning and building friendships between campers.

We recognize that some campers may need to have a phone while traveling to or from camp. If this is the case, phones they bring will be set aside once they have safely arrived and returned when they depart. Campers traveling with a cell phone should note that most phones do not receive signal on the PARI campus or in the areas we visit due to the remoteness and the surrounding mountains. Land line phones are available.

PARI has land-line phones that can be used to stay in touch with family and in case of an emergency.

Computers and Tablets

Campers should not bring personal electronics such as laptop computers, tablets, gaming consoles, etc. to PARI. A computer lab with all necessary equipment and software to complete the camp program is provided and available to all campers.


A large portion of PARI's campus, including classroom areas are covered by WiFi. Campers will have access to a WiFi network, but it may be restricted in the types of sites it can access and its use may be monitored. WiFi access points may be turned off after lights out at night or during certain activities.

Respect of license and use agreements

PARI does not permit the use of software or other resources, digital or otherwise, in any way that violates license or use agreements. Any software that is necessary for a camper to participate in camp will be available on PARI owned equipment and will not be required to be installed on camper owned equipment.

Violation of license and use agreements, or any pirating of software or digital media or resources, will not be tolerated and may result in loss of access to technology.

Instruments and Equipment

Campers will be trained on the proper and safe use of any scientific instruments and equipment they use. This may include:

  • Radio and optical telescopes, manually and remotely operated
  • Computers
  • Laboratory equipment
  • Robotic equipment
  • Electronic and soldering equipment
  • 3D printers
  • Archival materials, data, and artifacts

Lodging and Dining



PARI has both dormitory style, and cabin style lodging. Campers are assigned lodging based on gender and age and the facilities used are dependant on the proportions of campers registered for each camp.

Rooms have up to four sets of bunk beds. Shared desks and dressers are in each room. Counselors share rooms with campers, but do not share bunks. Restroom facilities are present in all lodging buildings and are shared by other campers of the same gender and age range.

All lodging buildings have common areas where campers in that building can mingle, collaborate or work. Campers may not enter a bedroom that they are not assigned to or a lodging building in which they do not reside.

Laundry facilities are present on site. Their use will be scheduled to allow fair opportunity to all campers. Campers must bring their own detergent.


PARI provides three meals a day and snacks. Indoor and outdoor dining areas are available.

PARI can accomodate most dietary restrictions so long as they are communicated during the camper registration process or with sufficient advance notice. We may not be able to accomodate any dietary changes that are made after camper arrival.

Campers may bring additional snacks so long as they remain stored in a sealed plastic container. Campers may not store food at any time that is not sealed. Additional snacks beyond those provided may be available for sale in the gift shop.

Click to learn more about lodging and dining

Traveling to PARI

Don't get stuck in the transporter buffer!

For those driving to PARI

The arrival window on the first day of camp will be communicated for each camp session well in advance of the start of camp. Families needing to make arrangements to arrive outside of these windows should contact us as soon as possible.

For those flying to PARI

We pick up on the first day of camp and drop off on the last day of camp from the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) within specified time periods free of charge. The airport pick up and drop off times are specified during the registration process for each camp. Airport trips outside of those times may be possible for a moderate fee.

Campers flying alone who are minors must make appropriate arrangements with their airlines to fly as an unaccompanied minor. This should be done at the time of ticket purchase.

Click here for PARI's Location

Packing List

Be prepared for a successful camp!

  • A laptop computer if you have one - Most of the software necessary for camps will run on Windows, Mac, or many Linux distributions. A few will work on ChromeOS. PARI's computer lab is available for those who do not bring a computer and is fully equipped with all necessary software.
  • Pens, pencils, notebooks
  • Flashlight & extra batteries - red colored light is preferred
  • Rain gear and layers - temperatures can range from 50⁰ - 85⁰ F with rain many afternoons
  • Shoes appropriate for hiking
  • Shoes suitable for getting wet - river tubing and similar field trips
  • Swim suit
  • Day pack or bookbag
  • Water bottle
  • Bug Spray
  • Sun Screen
  • Books, Games, Puzzles, etc.
  • Linens - bed sheets, towels, washcloths, pillow & pillow case, blanket
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Toiletries - a tote to carry them is suggested
  • Shower shoes or flip flops
  • Books or materials specific to your camp, if applicable

Campers can receive packages, addressed to them, at:

    1 PARI Drive
    Rosman, NC  28772

* Some camps may have adjusted or additional items that should be packed. A packing list specific to your camp will be sent after registration. If extra snacks are brought they must be packed and remain stored in a container with a sealable lid.

Take a look at some of PARI's out of this world designs!

Each is available on a huge variety of items, like apparel, art prints, phone and laptop cases, backpacks, mugs, blankets, and more! Click one to customize it at our store on Redbubble. All proceeds benefit PARI's education mission.