Click here to download this year's brochure!
There’s no more exciting place to spend the summer than at Summer Camp at the Smithsonian, where all kinds of dreams can come true. Where else can campers blast into space or take center stage, create a masterpiece or invent a fantasy world, or relive history or learn to shape the future of the planet? The rich and exciting world of the Smithsonian Summer Camp program, now in its 46th year, is all theirs to discover in these one-of-a-kind learning experiences that spark the imagination—and offers plenty of great fun!

Summer Camp Registration begins on Thursday, February 12, 2015, starting at 9 a.m. (online and by phone).
To ensure you have the smoothest camp registration experience when camps go on sale, there are some things you can do in advance:
  • Sign in or create an account if you do not already have one. Individual camp information will be sent to the email addresses listed on your profile one month prior to your first day of camp.
  • Pre-register your campers or confirm their information if you registered them for previous Summer Camps. This includes entering or confirming their grade level, emergency contact information, pick up and drop off information, and medical and medication information. This information is required to purchase tickets, and having it completed in advance will help get you through the checkout process much quicker.
  • Browse our selection of camps. Be more prepared by knowing which camps you plan to purchase in advance. We suggest you have a second choice in mind when registering as camps can sell out quickly.
  • Become a member of the Smithsonian Associates and save big on camp prices! Join at the Resident Contributor level or above, and register for camp early, before registration opens to the public.
  • Want more information? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for important information about camp.
About Our Camp Sessions
  • Size: 16-21 kids, with a camper to instructor ratio of 4:1
  • Duration: Each camp is a week long and runs the full day (9:30 AM - 4:30 PM). Before- and after-camp options are also available.
  • Lunch/Snacks: Camps have a supervised brown-bag lunch hour. Many camps take a snack break so please pack a water bottle and extra snack.
  • View our Smithsonian Summer Camp photostream on Flickr!
BeforeCamp and AfterCamp Options
  • BeforeCamp and AfterCamp options are available for campers. You can sign up when you register for camp. Space is limited.
Supervised Drop-Off and Pick Up
  • Location: The entrance of the S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, D.C.
  • Transportation: Campers provide their own transportation to the Mall. Please provide a signed letter of permission if your child is allowed to leave without an adult.
Camp Prices
  • Regular Camps: $450 General Admission; $385 Members
Smithsonian Associates donors at Resident Contributor level ($300) and above can register for camp early, before registration opens to the public. You will receive electronic notification about the early registration date and time. Click here to become a Resident Contributor and learn more about additional benefits.
View and edit your camper's medical information, emergency contacts, and drop off and pick up infromation all online. Any information not provided in advance will be required during the camp registration process.

Why We Need Medical Information During Registration
Having this knowledge prior to camp will facilitate the dissemination of pertinent allergy and medical condition information to your camper’s instructors and Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA) in a timely manner, reduce the time required to check in on your camper’s first day (you will only have to claim your t-shirts!), and eliminate the possibility of the information being lost in the mail.

Note: Children without current medical information in their profile before their first day of camp will not be admitted.
Camps are created specifically for the stated grade levels and are therefore appropriate only for children entering those grades in the Fall. You will only be allowed to register your child for the camps in which his/her grade level falls between the stated ranges. Camps are not designed for children under five.

If your child requires special accommodation to the policy, please speak with a Ticketing Agent prior to registration.

You can save big on your Summer Camp tickets by becoming a member of The Smithsonian Associates (TSA). If you do not already have a TSA membership or you need to renew your existing membership, you can purchase one here.
Smithsonian Associates donors at Resident Contributor level ($300) and above can register for camp on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 two days before registration opens to the public. You will receive electronic notification about the early registration date and time. Click here to become a Resident Contributor and learn more about additional benefits.
We are currently looking for responsible and highly motivated teenagers and young adults to assist with Summer Camp. Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA) are ages 15 and older and offer support to the instructors. YTA options will be available from June 22 - August 21 on a weekly basis. Summer camp sessions meet for a five-day week, Monday through Friday. Summer camp sessions are held on the National Mall in the S. Dillon Ripley Center, unless otherwise stated.
Serving as a YTA provides an extraordinary way for teens to be involved with a national organization, the Smithsonian Institution. YTAs befriend, help, and act as role models for younger children. Assisting a professional instructor, YTAs are introduced to the world of teaching. The wide range of programs offer YTAs the opportunity to experience and learn about new subject areas or increase and share their understanding of a more familiar subject such as art, science, or theater. YTAs earn community service credits and also have an intriguing experience to add to a resume or application for college or a future job.

How to Apply Download the application form and return the completed application to, fax to 202-786-2536, or mail to ATTN: YTA Program, PO Box 23293, Washington, D.C., 20026-3293. Applications are due by March 28 and volunteers will be notified via email on April 18.
  1. You will be given a monitor packet for your class.
    This packet contains a roster of participants, copies of each child's medical release forms, and other important information. It is your responsibility to keep the monitor packet in a safe place and have it with you during all classes, on all field trips, and during drop-off and pick-up of campers. Monitor packets must be given to the YTA supervisor at the end of the day and should not be taken home.
  2. Arrive at 8:15 am on Mondays and 8:30 am the rest of the week.
    During this time, you will help the instructor prepare for the class. Check with the instructor for specific needs and assignments. During this time you will also meet with the other YTAs and the YTA supervisor.
  3. Be prepared for the arrival of campers.
    Have your monitor packet in hand and be stationed in front of the Ripley Center by 9:00 am. Check in each camper upon arrival and provide supervision for the campers in front of the building and on the way to the classroom to meet the teachers.
  4. Verify medical release forms.
    Make sure you have every participant's medical release form during drop-off the first day.
  5. Wear your name tag at all times.
    You will need to bring it to and from home each day to assure access to the Ripley Center before the building is opened to the public. Make sure you have a nametag for each camper. Campers leave their nametags with you at the end of each day.
  6. You are responsible for each child's whereabouts at ALL TIMES.
    Take the participants to the restroom (students under 8). Also act as a "go for" if necessary.
  7. Be active, engaging and participate, as the instructors require.
    Don't just watch. BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL for the younger participants.
  8. Assist with field trips.
    Keep tally of campers, have a positive attitude, and help the instructors as requested. Always leave a note on the door of the classroom when the class goes out, informing people where the camp group has gone, when you left, and when you expect to return.
  9. Oversee the lunch hour with leading in safe games and organized activities.
    All full day camps will have lunch from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm at a designated outside location.
  10. Assist the instructor with class clean up.
    Classrooms MUST be left CLEAN. Please see the Room Cleaning Policy for details.
  11. Pass out and collect student evaluations at the end of class on the last day.
    The younger children may need their parent's help in filling out evaluations. Also, fill out the YTA evaluation forms at the end of each week. Don't forget to give the instructors their evaluations to fill out.
  12. Supervise drop-off at the close of camp. Ensure you have all of the children, and escort campers to after-camp or upstairs to the drop-off point in front of the Ripley Center. You will ensure that each child leaves with an adult with the appropriate drop off cards. Collect name tags from campers before they leave and give them to the YTA supervisor.
  13. PROMPTNESS and ATTENDANCE are musts.
    Not adhering to the schedule is cause for dismissal as it could jeopardize the safety of the campers.
  14. Dress code is informal, but neat.
    Short shorts, torn jeans, spaghetti strap tank tops and shirts that expose midriffs are NOT considered appropriate for camp. You will be provided with a camp t-shirt to wear on Mondays and any other day you wish.
  15. Bring a non-perishable lunch and drink(s) with you each day.
    Facilities previously open to volunteers for purchasing food may no longer be available. A soda and snack vending machine is available to you in the Ripley Center, but it is not available to the campers so please be discreet. Please keep in mind that full-day YTAs must be with the campers for their entire lunch period so plan accordingly. No food or drink is to be consumed in the Ripley Center concourse.
  16. Mobile phone use must be limited to break times or emergencies.
    Please do not use during the times when you are attending to campers, especially drop-off and pick-up times.
Below are some of our most frequently received 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?
Each camp session is one week in duration and camp sessions are offered between June 22 - August 21, 2015. All sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each of the nine weeks presents a different selection of sessions and offerings.
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. 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.. Video Game Design, Anime, Digital Arts Mashup, and Digital Photography 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 both of these camps will be 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?
Participants 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.
6. What should my child wear?
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for craft activities, playing outside, and walking long distances. Some activities will be outside so please apply sunscreen before camp and bring an umbrella/additional sunscreen when necessary.
7. What about lunches and snacks?
Full-day campers have a supervised snack and 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 any medication throughout the week, please give it to one of the Camp Staff at the check in Table on the first day of camp. REMEMBER camp staff is not allowed to dispense medication; all medication must be self-administered.
9. Who teaches the Smithsonian summer camps?
Two experienced instructors lead each summer camp session and are assisted by two high school volunteers. The camper to instructor/assistant ratio is 4 to 1. view the complete 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 Fridays to view your child’s gallery or performance. You will receive a notice with details from the classroom instructor.
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 to 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.
Your camper's Drop Off/Pick-up, Photo Release Information, Medical Release, and Medication Information is required during registration. You can also pre-register and edit this information online at any time.

Please read the following for your information:

As camp nears, we will send you:
  • Welcome letter from your child's instructor - This will give you some more details about his/her exciting week at camp.
  • Pick-up Card - Please fill camper's name in blank space under camp title. You will need this sign in-hand in order to pick-up your child. You will receive a camp card for your vehicle dashboard upon the first day of camp.
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