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Summer Camps

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As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, the Smithsonian's National Zoo is temporarily closed. Please check back in February for updates on the 2021 Spring and Summer Safari Day Camps season.

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. 


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.

Registration Dates

FONZ members receive early registration priority and camp discounts. Not a member? Join Today!

Please contact the education office at 202-633-3024 or fonz_programs@si.edu with any questions.

2020 Camp Descriptions

We are not offering any camps at this time.

Camp Policies and Information

Cancellation requests received at least four weeks prior to the start of the session will receive a 75% refund. Transfer requests received at least four weeks prior to the start of the session will be charged a 10% administrative fee. Please email the FONZ Safari Day Camp Office with cancellation and transfer requests. No refunds or changes will be made for less than four weeks' notice.

Inclusion Policy

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.

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.