Nature Camp

  • Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
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For more than 20 years Friends of the National Zoo has offered a unique residential camp experience. Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, FONZ Nature Camp strengthens the bond between youth and nature by providing students in grades 5-10 the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, while connecting them to conservation initiatives through exposure to cutting edge research at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia.

Through hands-on investigation of local ecology, campers enhance their understanding of their surroundings. They learn to identify local flora and fauna, monitor biodiversity, and observe ecological systems at work.

Our campers get to see conservation science in action with campus tours and lectures from Smithsonian scientists. The direct interaction with these world-renowned science leaders and visual encounters with endangered species offers unique insight into the importance of global ecology and sustainability.

Learn more about FONZ Nature Camps.

REGISTER TODAY and fill your camper with an appreciation and love for animals, nature, and our precious natural resources!


  • Grades 5 & 6: July 9 – 15
  • Grades 7 & 8: July 16 – 22 or August 6 – 12
  • Grades 9 & 10: July 23 – August 5

Cost (one-week session): Members: $1,095 | Non-members: $1,195
Cost (two-week session): Members: $1,995 | Non-members: $2,195
Camp fee includes includes full week of housing and meals.


Registration Dates

Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.: FONZ Premier Plus and above
Feb. 7 at 10 a.m.: All FONZ members 
Feb. 14 at 10 a.m.: Non-members

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

Register Now