Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



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Homeschool Classes

Homeschool classes at the National Zoo are a unique addition to your child's science curriculum. Experiments, hands-on artifact explorations, interactive discussions with Zoo professionals, and, of course, the Zoo's animal collection will engage students in a class experience they will never forget.

Homeschool classes are offered as five, multi-week series during the academic year. Each year has a new overarching theme and each series investigates a new topic within this theme. Class series focus primarily on concepts from life science, ecology, and environmental science, but also build mathematics, language arts, and critical thinking skills.

Parents will receive a summary of each class and a "home challenge" activity will extend the student's learning beyond the end of class.

2016-2017: Terrific Taxonomy

During the 2016-2017 academic year, our homeschool classes will be guided by the Biological Classification system that groups and categorizes all living things. Each multi-week series will explore a different class of animals, digging deep into the features and elements which define it and exploring a different group within that class each week. Students will develop a rich picture of the variety of animals within the Animal Kingdom and how Smithsonian zoologists and conservation scientists at the National Zoo are using biological taxonomy to care for and help save species. Students may sign up for individual series or for all five series.

Primary classes for 5-9 year olds meet Mondays from 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. in partnership with the City Kids Homeschool Cooperative.

Advanced classes for 7-13 year olds meet Thursday mornings from 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m.

Five-Class Registration Fee:

$150/series (FONZ Members); $187.50/series (non-members)

Six-Class Registration Fee:

$180/series (FONZ Members); $225/series (non-members)

Register for all five 2015-2016 series and save an additional 10% after checkout! Contact the Education Programs Office to receive your rebate after you checkout. (Offer ends Oct. 1, 2016.)

Sept 19-Oct 27: Amazing Aves (Birds: 6-Week Session)

This fall, our class takes off by exploring the world of birds. A different featured group each week, from flightless ratites to clever corvids, helps us takes a closer look at the taxonomic class Aves. We’ll also learn about how the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is helping to support birds around the world.

Nov 7-Dec 15: Radical Reptilia (Reptiles)

Meet the coolest creatures in the Kingdom! From lounging lizards to sssensational snakes, there’s nothing to fear from the cold-blooded critters of the Reptile Discovery Center. Join us as we “croc” open the hidden worlds of reptiles and explore some of the incredible efforts underway at the Zoo to save turtles, crocodiles, and others from extinction.

Jan 9-Feb 9: Watery Wonders (Amphibians and Fish)

Scales, slime, and shape-shifting? Sign us up! Dive into the fascinating underwater worlds of fish and amphibians, and discover the secret senses and hidden super powers swimming just beneath the surface. We’ll also learn why scientists think these amazing animals are critical to environmental conservation around the world!

Feb 27-Mar 30: Marvelous Mammalia (Mammals)

From the very small to the very tall, many marvelous mammals call the Zoo home. Get ready to comb through the wide variety of our furry friends as we explore what makes it so wonderful to be warm-blooded. We’ll also learn about some the National Zoo’s projects to save some critically endangered mammals and even reintroduce them to the wild!

April 24- June 5: No Bone Zone (Invertebrates)

Over 90 percent of the Earth’s animals are classified as Invertebrates; they do not have bones. So how do they survive and what makes them so numerous? We’ll discover the incredible diversity of animals that belong in the no-bone zone, do some hands-on ecology studies of our own local inverts, and learn how the tiniest creatures help scientists make huge discoveries about the health of our planet.


Cancellation Policy: All cancellation requests received by the FONZ Education office at least two weeks prior to the start of the program will receive a 75% refund. No refunds or changes will be made with less than two-weeks notice.

Transfer Policy: All transfer requests received at least two weeks prior to the start of the program will be charged a 10-percent administrative fee.

Age Policy: All children must meet the minimum age for the class by the date of the first class session in order to participate. Registered children who do not meet the age requirements for the class may be asked to leave and no refund will be provided.

Minimum Class Size: FONZ reserves the right to cancel a program no less than two days before the class begins if registration is under five participants. In this event, you will be notified by phone or e-mail and offered credit for another program, a full refund, or the option to donate your program fee to FONZ.