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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or would like more information, please give us a call at 202-633-3030 extension 1 or send us an email at
1 What are the dates and times for Smithsonian Summer Camp?
Camp sessions are one or two weeks in duration and camp sessions are offered between June 17–August 16, 2019. One the week of July 4, camp will be held July 1-3. All sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each of the nine weeks presents a different selection of camps and themes.
2 What are the age limits?
Camps are offered for young people entering Kindergarten through 9th grade in the upcoming Fall. Camps are not designed for children under five. The camper's grade must fall between the listed range in order to participate in the camp. If special accommodations should be considered, please contact registration staff prior to Registration Day. Students age 14 are eligible to register for a one-week YTA boot camp. High School students ages 15 and above are eligible to apply for a volunteer position as a Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA).
3 Where are the Summer Camp sessions held?
Most of the Smithsonian Associates' summer camps are in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC.. Many of the computer-based camps take place at the CIC-Computer Lab located in the National Museum of Natural History, 10th St and Constitution Ave., NW, on the Smithsonian Mall. Pick-up and drop-off for all camps is at the Ripley Center and campers will walk to the room with their Youth Teaching Assistants.
4 How do participants get to and from camp?
Campers must provide their own transportation to and from camp. There is a supervised drop-off and pick-up of campers in front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center on Jefferson Dr., S.W. with authorized adults. Exact drop-off and pick-up location will be included in informational material sent to parents two weeks before camp sessions begin.
5 When can I drop-off and pick-up my camper?
Supervised drop-off begins at 9:00 a.m. and campers are taken down to their classrooms at 9:30 a.m. If you arrive after 9:30 a.m., it is your responsibility to escort the camper to their room. Pick-up is promptly at 4:30 p.m. Campers who have not been picked-up by 4:45 p.m. will be taken to the after-camp room and charged a late fee of $15 every subsequent 15 minute period.
6 What should my child wear?
Campers should wear comfortable clothing and shoes (no flip-flops) appropriate for craft activities, playing outside, and walking long distances. Some activities will be outside so please apply sunscreen before camp and bring additional sunscreen if necessary.
7 What about lunches and snacks?
Campers have two supervised snack and a lunchtime for which participants must provide their own non-perishable food. Please bring a water bottle and additional snacks each day for your camper. We do not have access to vending machines, refrigerators, or microwaves. The location of lunch varies depending upon weather and circumstances.
8 What if my child needs medication during the day?
If your camper needs medication throughout the week, please give it to one of the camp staff at the Check-In table on the first day of camp. Camp staff is not allowed to dispense medication; all medication must be self-administered. Parents are responsible for taking home the medication at the end of each day.
9 Who teaches the Smithsonian summer camps?
Two experienced instructors lead each summer camp session and are assisted by two high school volunteers (YTAs). The camper to instructor/assistant ratio is 4-to-1. View the list of the instructors for this year's summer camps.
10 Can my family view the work my child has done during camp?
Families and friends are welcome to attend the Open House on Friday afternoons to view your child's gallery or performance. You will receive a notice with details earlier in the week.
11 Can I use the cost of my camps as an expense toward my child and dependant care credit on my taxes?
Per IRS guidelines, the cost of day camp may count as an expense toward child and dependent care credit. For those who qualify, a receipt can be issued in the name of the camp buyer that paid/registered for summer camp. For more information on these IRS rules, visit the IRS Web site.
12 What is the cancellation/refund policy?
A 75% refund will be issued if a request is received in writing (by email, fax, or U.S. Mail) at least four weeks before the start of the camp(s) for which you are registered. No refunds or changes will be made thereafter. Camps are nontransferable. No refunds by phone.
13 What is your inclusion policy?
Smithsonian Summer Camp is committed to serving children of different abilities and creating a welcoming environment for all campers. Please contact us prior to enrollment if your child requires individualized medical, behavioral, or social support to ensure a successful experience at Smithsonian Summer Camp. In order to best serve each camper, please also list all physical, cognitive, medical, emotional, learning needs or anything else you would like us to know in your application materials.
14 What is expected of campers while visiting the Smithsonian's museums?

We expect that all campers demonstrate good "museum manners" while at camp and visiting the Smithsonian's museums. Museum manners include acting with respect towards others, being careful of the exhibits, and following instructions from instructors and YTAs.

In your parent pack you will receive a Camp Culture guideline document. Please review this with your child in the weeks leading up to their camp session.

15 What are the benefits of becoming a Smithsonian Associates member?

Members receive reducd pricing on camp sessions. Donors at the Contributor level ($300) and higher can also register for camp before general registration.