Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



There is a place where it's possible to hear the call of a native red fox on the chase and the scream of a brown kiwi stalking worms—a place where nature meets science.

Take in the beauty of the Shenandoah Mountains while enjoying a rare glimpse of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's headquarters (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. This facility is normally closed to the public, but will be open just to you for an unique evening of exploration and discovery!

Your adventure begins with a keeper-led tour and continues with a campfire under the stars. Bunk in tents provided by FONZ, then rise for breakfast and a family-friendly activity.

Your incredible overnight adventure includes:

Cheetah Cubs
  • A conservation-themed exploration of an animal area, led by a keeper
  • A late night campfire under the stars
  • Lodging in a 4-person tent, provided by FONZ, on historic Race Track Hill
  • Continental breakfast and a family-friendly morning activity

Participants must be 6 years and older to attend Conservation Campouts. A paying adult must accompany anyone under 18, and a minimum of 1 adult must chaperone every 3 children (under 18).


Participants in family overnights are not to exceed the maximum of 6 participants per registration. Conservation Campout campers sleep in a 4-person tent. Participants are never asked to share their tent with a stranger. Large groups cannot be accommodated.

Please note: Adults may register for all Conservation Campout options, but please be aware that children may be in your camp group.


Conservation Campouts are currently on hiatus. If you are interested in our other overnight experiences, check out our Snore & Roars!


Adults and children ages 6 and up. A paying adult must accompany anyone under 18, and there must be one adult chaperone for every three children.


5:00 p.m.-10:00 a.m

A small snack is provided, but participants should dine before arriving. You can find many restaurants within a few miles of SCBI Front Royal.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation requests received at least four weeks prior to the scheduled Campout will receive a 75-percent refund. Requests must be made via email. No refunds or changes will be made thereafter. Conservation Campouts are a rain or shine event.


Member: $115 per person

Non member: $125 per person

Join FONZ.