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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. Preschool Morning Series meet once a week for five weeks. Your child will have the same teacher and classmates for each series and will learn about a new animal each week. Weekend Classes are single-session offerings.

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 2016-2017 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.)

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 2015 "Who's New" class)

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

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

  • Mondays: Sept. 26, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Tuesdays: Sept. 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Wednesdays: Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
  • Thursdays: Sept. 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Fridays: Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28
  • Saturdays: Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

(NOTE: Saturday classes will meet from 9-10:30a.m.)

Register now!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Tails

There’s "nose" doubt about it, animals use some pretty amazing body parts to survive in the wild. Some parts of their bodies are a lot like ours, but others might seem very silly! Get ready to wiggle, squiggle, move, and groove as we explore animal tails, paws, whiskers, and wings.

  • 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. 7, 14, 28, Dec. 5, 12
  • Tuesdays: Nov. 8, 15, 29, Dec. 6, 13
  • Wednesdays: Nov. 9, 16, 30, Dec. 7, 14
  • Thursdays: Nov. 10, 17, Dec. 1, 8, 15
  • Fridays: Nov. 11, 18, Dec. 2, 9, 16
  • Saturdays: Nov. 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, 17

Register now!

Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home! Travel from treetops to river bottoms and even deep underground as we learn about the different kinds of places that animals live. Is your home more like a tiger’s or a turtle’s? Let's find out together!

  • 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. 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6
  • Tuesdays: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7
  • Wednesdays: Jan. 11, 18, 25, Feb. 1, 8
  • Thursdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26, Feb. 2, 9
  • Fridays: Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10
  • Saturdays: Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11

Register now!

1, 2, 3, To the Zoo!

All aboard the Zoo Train! Eric Carle's beloved animal counting book comes to life with lions, crocodiles, seals, and more. We’ll count our way through the Zoo and add a new animal to our own Zoo Trains each week. We hope you’ll choo-choo-choose to join us!

  • 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. 27, Mar. 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Tuesdays: Feb. 28, Mar. 7, 14, 21, 28
  • Wednesdays: Mar. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
  • Thursdays: Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
  • Fridays: Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
  • Saturdays: Mar. 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1

Register now!

Backyard Buddies

Discover the Zoo in your own backyard this spring! Each week, we will explore a different animal classification and learn about a new animal friend that makes its home in the same place we do! Meet the neighbors on this backyard safari!

  • 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: Apr. 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22
  • Tuesdays: Apr. 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23
  • Wednesdays: Apr. 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Thursdays: Apr. 27, May 4, 11, 25, June 1 (No class May 18)
  • Fridays: Apr. 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26
  • Saturdays: Apr. 29, May 6, 13, 20, June 3 (No class May 27)

Saturday classes will meet from 9-10:30 a.m.

Register now!

Weekend Preschool Programs

Breakfast with the Beasts

Who needs a teddy bear picnic when you have the real thing right here at the Zoo! We will learn about the favorite foods of each of our featured animals, then head out into the park to join them for our snack time. Make your reservations for one class or all three!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 9:00-10:30 a.m.
  • Dates:
    October 2: Breakfast with the Bears
    October 9: Snacks with the Sea Lions
    October 16: Appetizers with the Apes
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Curious George Goes to the Zoo

Put on your yellow hat! We're learning about some of our favorite curious little monkeys at the National Zoo!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Dates: Saturday, November 5 or Sunday, November 6
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Ele-fun

The Zoo's gentle giants want you to join the herd! Try out your own trunk as we learn about elephants together!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Date: November 13
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Panda-monium!

Pandas may look black and white, but they are pretty colorful characters. Explore the world of the Zoo’s most famous family and stop by the Panda House to say hello to panda cub Bei-Bei!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Date: November 20
  • 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! Learn how spots and stripes help animals like our cheetahs, zebras, and others survive!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Date: December 4
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Preschool Class Policies

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% 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.

Animal Contact: For the safety of your child and the Zoo's animals, there is no contact with live animals or behind-the-scenes access provided in these classes.