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Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo

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Preschool Classes

Preschool classes invite adults and young children (ages 2-3) to discover the National Zoo together. 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.

Classes use crafts, science activities, music, and the Zoo's animal collection to help your child learn about environmental conservation and life science while building important developmental and social skills. There is no direct animal contact during classes.

Weekday class series meet once a week for 5 weeks. Weekend family programs are single class offerings. All children must be at least 2 years old by the date of the first class session to attend.

Preschool Morning Series

Shapes with the Apes...and Other Animal Friends

Join us on a shape safari at the National Zoo! Each week a different shape will guide our explorations of a Zoo animal and the adaptations that help it survive. Children will make an animal shape book to take home at the end of the series.

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m. (Friday afternoons: 3:00-4:30 p.m.)
  • Member Fee: $150 / Non Member Fee: $187.50

Classes meet as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday morning sessions. A special Friday afternoon session is open to 3 year olds only. There will be no classes during the week of Thanksgiving.

  • Mondays: November 3, 10, 17, December 1, 8
  • Tuesdays: November 4, 11, 18, December 2, 9
  • Wednesdays: November 5, 12, 19, December 3, 10
  • Thursdays: November 6, 13, 20, December 4, 11
  • Fridays (morning/afternoon): November 7, 14, 20, December 5, 12

1, 2, 3, To the Zoo

All aboard! Eric Carle’s beloved animal counting book comes to life with elephants, crocodiles, seals, and more. Each week, children will add a new animal to their very own Zoo train as they count their way through the Zoo. 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, or Friday sessions.

  • Mondays: January 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9
  • Tuesdays: January 13, 20, 27, February 3, 10
  • Wednesdays: January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11
  • Thursdays: January 15, 22, 29, February 5, 12
  • Fridays: January 16, 23, 20, February 6, 13

Register now!

Nur-Zoo-Ry Rhymes

Dogs, tigers, and piggies, too. Where are they all? At the National Zoo! You're sure to have a fabulous time, making crafts and reading rhymes! So come to the park and take a look and meet a character from Mother Goose’s book!

  • 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, or Friday sessions.

  • Mondays: February 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23
  • Tuesdays: February 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24
  • Wednesdays: February 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Thursdays: February 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26
  • Fridays: February 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27

Register now!

Weekend Preschool Programs

Just Like Me!

Animals at the Zoo are a lot like you! Come and discover how some of your favorite friends at the Zoo eat, sleep, play, and learn. Do you and Bao Bao share a favorite food? Let’s find out together!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Dates: Saturday, Jan. 31 or Sunday, Feb. 1
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Tails

How is your body the same as a sea lion’s? How is it unlike an elephant’s? Explore the amazing body parts that help animals survive in the wild and discover how they are the same or different than ours! We “nose” you’ll have fun in this class!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Dates: Saturday, Feb. 21 or Sunday, Feb. 22
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!

In Like a Lion

Roar into spring with the pride of the National Zoo: our lion pride! These feisty felines are ready to show you why they really are the tops… top predators, that is! Pounce on this class today.

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

Register now!

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!

  • Ages: 2-3
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Dates: Saturday, March 14 or Sunday, March 15
  • Member Fee: $28 / Non-Member Fee: $35

Register now!


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-percent 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.