Get ready for a real zoo-venture! A new mission each day will help us learn about the animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo with real creature-powered technology. What if ... you registered for this camp today? Please note: This class is inspired by the "Wild Kratts" television show; no actual characters will be present.
Welcome to FONZ Summer Safari Day Camp! Each program explores the lives, habitats and conservation of animals around the world. Week-long sessions include exciting hands-on activities, lessons, craft projects, science experiments and walks through the Zoo (but no direct contact with animals).
Camp sessions are grouped into four grade levels: K-1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6-7. Day camp is not offered at the pre-K level. Children should be registered for the grade level they will be entering in the fall, and they may only be registered within their correct age group. Summer Safari Day Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.
Dates: June 22 to Aug. 14
Times: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (campers must be dropped off between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the Visitor Center auditorium)
Cost (five-day sessions): Members: $425 | Non-members: $530
Cost (four-day session June 29-July 2): Members: $340 | Non-members: $425
Optional Before-camp Care: 8-8:45 a.m. | Cost: $100 per session ($80 for the four-day session), limited availability
Optional After-camp Care: 3-6 p.m. | Cost: $175 ($140 for the four-day session), limited availability, fee charged for pickup after 6 p.m.
After-camp Care is completely full for the summer. There is no waitlist for After-camp Care.
We no longer offer a waitlist for each individual camp. Instead we will be keeping a waitlist for the entire summer camp season. If a camp you wanted was full and you would like to be notified if a space becomes available, you may complete an online waitlist form. Occasional emails with new camp openings and registration links will be sent to the waitlist group. Waitlist group members will have 48 hours to register online (first-come, first-served basis) before those spaces are released back to the general public.
Summer Safari Day Camp is pleased to offer needs-based scholarships to campers. Each scholarship includes full tuition for one week-long camp session. Camp tuition includes a hat, a reusable water bottle and a ride on the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel. Scholarship applicants may request before- and after-camp care. However, due to limited availability, FONZ may not be able to offer it as part of the scholarship package.
To apply, download the application packet here.
Jan. 28 at 10 a.m.: FONZ Premier Plus and above
Feb. 4 at 10 a.m.: All FONZ members
Feb. 11 at 10 a.m.: Non-members
FONZ members receive early registration priority and camp discounts. Not a member? Join Today!
2020 Camp Descriptions
A little bird told me that we'll have the lion's share of fun in this camp! Meet the animals that play a part in some popular English expressions. Even if it's raining cats and dogs, we're sure to get up to some fun monkey business this week!
Get to know your cousins, from itsy-bitsy monkeys to awesome apes. Learn about the O-Line and how it enables orangutans to travel high above the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Plus, there’s no denying you’ll adore our golden lion tamarins! Monkey around with us all week long.
Jump into the pages of your favorite “tails.” Huff and puff with the big bad wolf, visit the homes of three species of bears and meet the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s billy goats gruff at Kids' Farm. We'll bring these stories to life and learn about the real animals behind the critter characters.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo is always purring with excitement. Come meet lions, tigers, cheetahs and more. Then, learn about your favorite felines through Zoo walks, science activities and purr-fect crafts.
Imagine what it takes to care for a toothy tiger or slimy salamander. How do you X-ray a stingray or give a shot to a shrew? Zoo veterinarians have one of the toughest jobs around. Learn how our experts care for our animals. Please note: Campers do not come in direct contact with live animals nor do they assist with animal or veterinary care.
Calling all future conservationists! Species are in danger because of threats from our fellow humans. Discover species that are targeted for their valuable skin, fur and horns, and become part of the worldwide network of supporters who are fighting to save them. You can make a difference!
You don't need a swimsuit to learn about the amazing aquatic world. Hold your breath as you meet the Smithsonian's National Zoo's wettest friends. From playful otters to armored alligators, learn about the many creatures that inhabit the world's waters.
From pigeons and naked mole-rats to elephants and pigs, Mo Willems really knows a lot about animals. Jump into the pages of his bestsellers to learn more about the animals that inspired them! Please note: This class is inspired by Mo Willems' books; no actual characters will be present.
Zoolympics is about more than feats of enormous strength. Check out the small but mighty animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and learn what makes these mini stars so spectacular!
Calling all man cubs! Join the pack and have a wild time discovering animals that live deep in the jungle! The bears, tigers, apes and snakes are waiting to teach you the bear necessities of life. It will be a swingin’ good time. Please note: This class is inspired by the "The Jungle Book" children's book; no actual characters will be present.
Calling all paleontologists! Dinosaurs may be extinct, but some of their relatives are still very much alive. Travel back in time to learn about the ancient ancestors of animals we have here today. You'll really dig this camp!
It takes skill, strength and smarts for animals to thrive, but they still need your help. Even some of the fastest racers and the most furious fighters are in danger of extinction. Discover what you can do to be a species survival champion!
There is really no such thing as a wimpy animal! It takes skill, savvy and even a little trickery to survive in the wild, especially when you’re not at the top of the food chain. Crack open your field journal. You’ll want to put this camp on the record!
Come and meet a group of Smithsonian's National Zoo animals that are experts at hide and seek. Spots, stripes and colors help some animals find dinner and keep others from being on the menu. Learn how animals hide from predators and search for prey.
One of a kind? Part of a pack? Some animals live in groups while others prefer to go it alone. Study the living arrangements of animals from a flock of flamingos to the solitary sloth. The more the merrier!
What could you do with ears 3 feet wide or a tail that can wrap around branches? From the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes, animals are pretty amazing! Learn about the extraordinary features animals use to survive, and then create your own awesome adaptation!
This land was made for you and me … and the animals! Explore the nature in your backyard, and say hello to your neighbors at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's American Trail exhibit, including gray wolves, sea lions and the iconic bald eagle. Then, learn how you can help keep America beautiful!
Act like an animal this week as we explore the five senses and how they help species survive. Use your senses, test your skills and see how you compare to some of the wildest animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. It doesn’t take eagle eyes to see that this is a sense-ational camp!
Ready to get your hands dirty, slimy or sticky? We’re digging into the animal behaviors and adaptations that are weird, gross and downright ewwww-some!
Take a magical journey with dragons, unicorns and other creatures found in your favorite books and movies! We’ll explore the mythical beasts from some beloved tales and learn about the real animals that inspired them. Get ready for an epic adventure!
Pack your bags! We’re traveling the world to visit our animal friends. From the meerkats of Africa to the arapaimas of the Amazon, learn how each species adapted to the place it calls home. No passports necessary for this camp!
The Smithsonian's National Zoo is always purring with excitement. Come meet our lions, tigers, cheetahs and more. Then, learn about your favorite felines through Zoo walks, science activities and purr-fect crafts.
The Zoo Police Department is looking for 16 new recruits to explore the “metropolis” of the Zoo. We’ll patrol the Meadowlands, the Canal District, Savanna Central, the Rainforest District and more, as we investigate which animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo could call the neighborhoods of Zootopia home sweet home. Please note: this class is inspired by the "Zootopia" movie; no actual characters will be present.
Welcome to Dr. Zoo-euss! Turtles, elephants and tigers, too. Where can you find them? At the Smithsonian's National Zoo! You're sure to have a fabulous time, making crafts and reading rhymes. So come to the park, take a look and see an animal from a Dr. Seuss book. Please note: Campers do not come in direct contact with live animals or assist with animal or veterinary care.
Cuddly cubs and snugly kittens … who needs them? Explore the underbelly of animal life, and visit the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s wolves, skunks, snakes and crocodiles. We’ll also uncover some of the creepy crawlies that dwell in your own backyard!
Animals are built for survival. They can live deep in the sea, high in the sky or in the driest desert. Learn about the amazing adaptations that make these animals winners!
There’s no need for a passport when you can explore the savanna at the Smithsonian's National Zoo! Take part in activities, experiments and crafts as you learn about African animals and culture. We’re not lion when we say it’s going to be a wild time!
Pack up your trunk and follow the herd to learn about the largest living land mammals — elephants! Study their fascinating adaptations and get to know the gentle giants that call the Elephant Community Center home. Please note: This class is inspired by the "Babar" books; no actual characters will be present.
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? A wonderful week at Smithsonian's National Zoo camp! Learn about hungry caterpillars, mixed-up chameleons and many more Eric Carle favorites during a week of art, science and exploration. Take a bite out of this camp today! Please note: This class is inspired by the book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar;" no actual characters will be present.
Grab your honey pot for a "Grand Adventure" in the Smithsonian's National Zoo's own Hundred Acre Wood! Discover the Pooh Bears, Piglets, Tiggers and Owls that call the Zoo home. You may even spot some Heffalumps and Woozles along the way! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Winnie the Pooh" book; no actual characters will be present.
There’s no place like home! Visit the Smithsonian's National Zoo and explore the homes and habitats of nature's natural builders. Dig into the animal world before becoming an animal architect yourself. Join the crew!
Help kick extinction! Become a part of the Furious Five and earn a black belt in conservation. Travel Asia Trail and uncover the mystery of the giant panda, clouded leopard, red panda and more. This camp is sure to be a knockout! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Kung Fu Panda" movie; no actual characters will be present.
Looking for a camp with cattitude? Hunt with lions, pounce with tigers, race with cheetahs and leap into fun with clouded leopards. Meet all of the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s favorite felines, and learn what you can do to protect them. We’re paw-sitive you’ll agree: this camp is purr-fect!
It’s survival of the fittest in this dog-eat-dog world. Investigate evolution and create your own theory on the future of a zoo species. Will your species survive? How can you help? Your name has been picked, so register now and “may the odds be ever in your favor.” Please note: this class is inspired by the "Hunger Games" series; no actual characters will be present.
Get ready for a real zoo-venture! A new mission each day will help us learn about the animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo with real creature-powered technology. What if ... you registered for this camp today? Please note: this class is inspired by the "Wild Kratts" television show; no actual characters will be present.
From the very small to the very tall, many marvelous mammals call the Smithsonian's National Zoo home. Find out why it's so fantastic to be furry, so wonderful to be warm-blooded and so much fun to be in Zoo Camp!
A wonderful world unfolds in this five-day investigation of the animal kingdom. Each day, you'll learn about a different type of animal and the wild place it inhabits. Be prepared for awesome facts about mammals and birds and reptiles, oh my! Let the wild rumpus start! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Where the Wild Things Are" book; no actual characters will be present.
Weird, freaky and totally true! Animals have developed some strange strategies to survive. From third eyelids to sixth senses, animal adaptations are a truly wild business. We know you’ll give this camp a pseudo-thumbs up!
Beat the heat with the cold-blooded creatures of Reptile Discovery Center! These fascinating animals are sure to pull you out of your shell as we “croc” open the hidden worlds of reptiles and amphibians. Jump to it; you’ll be hoppy in this class!
From sea lions and otters to arapaimas and amphibians, dive into the watery worlds of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s bubbliest animals. We will investigate some of the “current” threats to these fragile ecosystems and learn what we can do to help!
Imagine what it takes to care for a toothy tiger or a slimy salamander. How do you X-ray a stingray or give a shot to a shrew? Smithsonian's National Zoo veterinarians have one of the toughest jobs around. Learn how our experts care for our animals. Please note: Campers do not come in direct contact with live animals nor do they assist with animal or veterinary care.
To the lookout! Earn badges as you find animals at the Smithsonian's National Zoo that can fly like Skye, call loudly like Chase, build like Rubble and swim like Zuma. Are you ready to join the force? Please note: This class is inspired by the "Paw Patrol" television show; no actual characters will be present.
Do you have what it takes to work at a zoo? From zookeepers and veterinarians to police officers and gardeners, running a zoo takes a lot of people. Find out how all of the different people who work at the Smithsonian's National Zoo help each other — and the animals! Please note: Campers do not come in direct contact with live animals or assist with animal or veterinary care.
Red Fish, ZOO Fish! Discover the animals that inspired your favorite Dr. Seuss characters, from the Cat in the Hat and Yertle the Turtle to Gertrude McFuzz. From there to here and here to there, animal fun is everywhere!
Visit the Smithsonian's National Zoo and meet fascinating creatures lurking behind every corner. Frogs, snakes, lizards and more are waiting for you to slither on over to this toad-ally awesome camp!
Find the nearest phone booth and change into your cape; we’re meeting the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s most incredible creatures! Join the squad as we uncover animals with powers of speed, strength, flight and more. Then, transform into a hero yourself!
Have you ever stepped outside your home and spotted a cheetah, or stumbled upon an elephant or gray wolf in your backyard? What happens when animals and people have to live in the same place? Learn about wild animals all around the world who live right alongside people, including some who are our neighbors right here in Washington, D.C.! Put on your conservationist cap as you brainstorm and build ways for humans and animals to share the most important habitat: Earth! Howl can you make a difference?
MR. FAB (also known as mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds) has a few bones to pick with you. Did you know only 3% of all animal species are vertebrates? Feel it in your bones and dig into this camp with the fabulous MR. FAB! Investigate the mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds at the Smithsonian's National Zoo who all own a backbone, including you! Find out why there is more to these animals than just skin and bones.
Endangered species need your help! We'll learn about the endangered animals from Eric Carle's classic rhyming book, as well as other favorite Carle critters, as we explore what we can do to help them. No grouchy ladybugs here; we'll have a great time! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" book; no actual characters will be present.
Are you as curious as George? Then, this is the camp for you! Put on your yellow hat and learn about all of the curious little lemurs, monkeys and apes at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. We'll explore the special features that help these primates make mischief and learn what makes us humans a lot like George! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Curious George" books; no actual characters will be present.
It’s time for the mane event! We’re beaming with pride over our lions! Learn about the kings and queens of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and visit with their cat cousins: cheetahs, tigers and leopards. Pounce on this camp and register meow! Please note: This camp is inspired by the "Lion King" movie; no actual characters will be present.
Welcome to Dr. Zoo-euss! Turtles, elephants and tigers, too. Where can you find them? At the Smithsonian's National Zoo! You're sure to have a fabulous time, making crafts and reading rhymes. So come to the park, take a look and see an animal from a Dr. Seuss book!. Please note: Campers do not come in direct contact with live animals or assist with animal or veterinary care.
Superheroes have invisibility powers and masks to stay safe on the prowl. Did you know that animals have camouflage superpowers too? From the cheetah’s spots to the macaw’s bright and colorful feathers, the animal world is full of disguises! Learn how cool patterns and colors help animals hide in the wild.
It’s a classic case of whodunit! Pull out your magnifying glass as you look for evidence and clues to mystery animals. We’ll look for the animals’ signs and tracks and work toward identifying the culprit in this week of investigative fun!
You’ve heard that bats are blind, that you can get warts from toads and that an elephant never forgets. But can these be true? Get ready to investigate and help debunk a new animal myth each day. If you’ve heard that science is boring, guess what? Myth BUSTED! Please note: This class is inspired by the "Mythbusters" television show; no actual characters will be present.
Camp Policies and Information
Summer Safari Day Camp welcomes campers, families, and staff of all cultures, religions, sexual orientation and gender identification, family constructs and abilities. We do not tolerate aggression, violence or bullying against one another. We foster a fun and educational environment by using teaching strategies that are all-inclusive, reinforce positive behaviors and promote physical and emotional safety.
Minimum Age Requirement
Following D.C. kindergarten eligibility law, children must turn 5 years of age on or before Sept. 30 to be eligible for our K-1 programs. There are no pre-K Summer Safari sessions. Children should be registered for the grade level they will be entering in the fall, and they may be registered only within their correct age group.
Minimum Camp 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 email and offered credit for another program, a full refund or the option to donate your program fee to FONZ.
Drop-off for all camps is in the Zoo's Visitor Center auditorium. After gathering with their teacher and classmates, campers will go to their classroom at one of several locations in the park. Campers in After-Camp Care must be picked up in Visitor Center classrooms. You must show photo identification when picking up your camper at dismissal or in After-Camp Care.
All participants must have an online account in the Friends of National Zoo’s registration system. This system enables you to register multiple children at once, view your account online and make payments. You will need your FONZ member login information to register and access the member rates.
American Camp Association policy updates require that we collect the following information at the time of registration. Please have this information available at the time of registration.
- Your family’s medical insurance carrier name and policy number
- The date of your child’s last tetanus shot
If you have questions about these updates, please email the FONZ Safari Day Camp Office.
Hats and Water Bottles
This year Safari Day Camps will issue each camper just one hat, reusable water bottle, and bottle strap for the summer. Children who participate in more than one week of camp are responsible for taking home their items on Friday, washing them and bringing this year’s hat, water bottle and bottle strap back to camp on the Monday of his/her next session. Families who forget their items will be automatically charged for replacements on Monday morning. A hat costs $7, a water bottle costs $2.50 and a bottle strap costs $2.50. We will collect the items on Monday and keep them until Friday.
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.