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Preschool Classes: Tadpoles

Tadpole classes at the National Zoo are perfect for 2 and 3 year olds preparing for preschool. Engage your child's sense of wonder about wildlife and the natural world with interactive learning stations, hands-on activities and crafts, music, movement, and exciting walks through the Zoo to visit our animals! There is no direct animal contact during classes.

Tadpole preschool classes invite adults and young children (ages 2-3) to discover the National Zoo together. Weekday class series meet once a week for five (or six) weeks. Your child will have the same teacher and classmates for the each series and learn about a new animal each week.

All children must be accompanied by an adult who is prepared to take part in the activities. For everyone's safety and enjoyment, unregistered children (including siblings) may not attend, with the exception of infants who are not yet crawling. All children must be at least 2 years old by the date of the first class session to attend.

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 Sept. 19, 2015.)

Register now!

Preschool Morning Series

Who's New at the National Zoo

Who's New at the National Zoo? Lots of animal friends, waiting for you! Learn about some of the Zoo's newest arrivals and how zookeepers care for them. Children will make a "Who Am I" book to take home. (Note: this class does not repeat content from the 2014 "Who's New" class)

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10-11:30a.m.
  • Member Fee: $150 / Non Member Fee: $187.50

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning sessions.

  • Mondays: Sept. 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5, 12
  • Tuesdays: Sept. 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13
  • Wednesdays: Sept. 16, 23, 30, Oct. 7, 14
  • Thursdays: Sept. 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15
  • Fridays: Sept. 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16
  • Saturdays: Sept. 19, 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17
    (NOTE: Saturday classes will meet from 9-10:30a.m.)

Register now!

Animals Around the World

Pack your bags and join our animal ambassadors as we travel the world learning about our animal friends. From the meerkats of Africa to the Amazonian arapaima, there is so much to see! No passports necessary!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Member Fee: $150 / Non Member Fee: $187.50

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning sessions. No class the week of Thanksgiving.

  • Mondays: Nov. 9, 16, 30, Dec. 7, 14
  • Tuesdays: Nov. 10, 17, Dec. 1, 8, 15
  • Wednesdays: Nov. 11, 18, Dec. 2, 9, 16
  • Thursdays: Nov. 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, 17
  • Fridays: Nov. 13, 20, Dec. 4, 11, 18
  • Saturdays: Nov. 14, 21, Dec. 5, 12, 19

Register now!

Coats of All Kinds

Brrr! We put on jackets and coats when we go out in the cold, but our animal friends wear them all year long! Fur, feathers, scales, and more are right at your fingertips in this hands-on adventure. Don't forget your mittens!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Member Fee: $150 / Non Member Fee: $187.50

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning sessions.

  • Mondays: Jan. 11, 18, 25, Feb. 1, 8
  • Tuesdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26, Feb. 2, 9
  • Wednesdays: Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10
  • Thursdays: Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11
  • Fridays: Jan. 15, 22, 29, Feb. 5, 12
  • Saturdays: Jan. 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13

Register now!

Colorful Creatures

From Golden Lion Tamarins to color-changing chameleons, the National Zoo is home to some colorful characters! A different animal each week will help us explore all the colors of the rainbow and understand how animals use these colors to survive.

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Member Fee: $150 / Non Member Fee: $187.50

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning sessions.

  • Mondays: Feb. 22, 29, Mar. 7, 14, 21
  • Tuesdays: Feb. 23, Mar. 1, 8, 15, 22
  • Wednesdays: Feb. 24, Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23
  • Thursdays: Feb. 25, Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Fridays: Feb. 26, Mar. 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Saturdays: Feb. 27, Mar. 5, 12, 19, 26

Register now!

Animal Alphabet (6-Week Series)

Z is for Zoo! Each week, a different Zoo animal will introduce us to a new letter and the adaptations that help the animal survive. Children will make an animal alphabet book to take home at the end of the series.

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Member Fee: $180 / Non Member Fee: $225

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning sessions.

  • Mondays: Apr. 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23
  • Tuesdays: Apr. 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Wednesdays: Apr. 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Thursdays: Apr. 21, 28, May 5, 12, 26, June 2 (No class May 19)
  • Fridays: Apr. 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Saturdays: Apr. 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21, June 4 (No class May 28; Saturday classes will meet from 9-10:30 a.m.)

Register now!

Weekend Preschool Programs

Curious George Goes to the Zoo

Curious George is a curious little monkey who loves to explore, just like the monkeys in the Small Mammal House. We'll learn about some of their special features that help them make mischief, then put on our yellow hats and pay a visit to some of our favorite pint-sized primates! (Note: this class was also offered in March 2015.)

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m. (September) or 9:00-10:30 a.m. (November)
  • Date: Sunday, September 13; Saturday, November 7; or Sunday, November 8
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Breakfast with the Bears

Bring your favorite snack and join us for a real teddy bear picnic! We'll learn about the favorite foods of our three species of bears at the National Zoo then join them outside for a picnic snack time! (Note: participants must bring their own snack.)

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • Date: Sunday, October 4
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Spots and Stripes

In the animal world, patterns aren't just pretty, they are pretty important! Join us for some pattern play and learn how spots and stripes help animals survive.

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • Date: Sunday, November 15
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Preschool Class Policies

Cancellation and Transfer 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. All transfer requests received at least two weeks prior to the start of the program will be charged a 10% administrative fee. No refunds or changes will be made with less than two-weeks notice.

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.