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Adventuring 101

Everything you need to know about Smithsonian Virtual Adventures

Have a specific question? Send us an email.

2021 Winter Adventure Dates

Smithsonian Virtual Adventures are offered between February 22 and March 27, 2021. Please see individual listings for the specific dates of each session.

Adventures are scheduled on Eastern Standard time (ET) and are presented in English only.


Smithsonian Virtual Adventures are designed for children currently in Kindergarten through 11th grade. Children should be registered based on their grade level in the 2020-21 school year and can only participate in programs designated for that grade range.

Purchase an Adventure as a Gift

Looking for a great gift for a child in your life? A Smithsonian Associates gift certificate can open adventures in learning all year long.

Here’s how to do it: Purchase a gift certificate for the child’s parent or legal guardian, who can then use it when they register online for the Virtual Adventure of their choice (gift certificates are applied at checkout). This keeps the registration under the adult’s account, which will ensure they receive the welcome letter, Zoom links, and other relevant information. The adult will also be able to login into their online portal and access their child’s Adventure.

2021 Virtual Adventures and Prices

Kindergarten and Grade 1

Smithsonian Adventures and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) have partnered for a virtual trip to the Smithsonian. With over 30 years of experience engaging young children in the wonders of the Smithsonian, SEEC uses this expertise to present one hour of live interaction three times a week. Educators lead interactive experiences that explore objects and artworks in the Smithsonian’s collections through play, art-making, and experimentation. Programs are not designed for children under five.

  1. Picture This! - February 22, 24, 25, and March 1, 3, and 4 (Six sessions over two weeks)

    Cost: $120 for Smithsonian Associates members, $150 for non-members
  2. How Does Your Garden Grow? - March 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, and 25 (Nine sessions over three weeks)

    Cost: $180 for Smithsonian Associates members, $210 for non-members
All Kindergarten-Grade 1 Adventures run from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.
Sessions are conducted in individual breakout groups of 10 to 12 participants and 2 instructors.
On- and off-line activities will focus on using recycled materials, basic craft supplies, and household items. Individual suggested material lists will be included in the Welcome Letter. Please have all materials gathered prior to the start of your adventure.

Grades 2 to 5

In grade-appropriate multi-week programs, participants take a deep dive into the Smithsonian's collections. These Adventures engage kids with unique content about natural sciences, history, art, and so much more. Weekday sessions explore a variety of Smithsonian topics and include virtual visits to museums, hands-on projects, games, collaborative challenges, and conversations with experts during an hour and half of live online interaction with a team of experienced instructors. Customize the experience and register for more than one theme.

Note: The same content will be taught on Mondays and Wednesdays for each theme. Please choose one of those days for your adventurer.


1. The Artist's Eye

Monday sessions: February 22, March 1, 8, 15, and 22
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Wednesday sessions: February 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

2. Timeline Travel

Monday sessions: February 22, March 1, 8, 15, and 22
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Wednesday sessions: February 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

3. The Natural World

Monday sessions: February 22, March 1, 8, 15, and 22
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Wednesday sessions: February 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

4. Innovations in the Arena

Monday sessions: February 22, March 1, 8, 15, and 22
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Wednesday sessions: February 24, March 3, 10, 17, and 24
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

$120 for Smithsonian Associates members
$150 for non-members
Sessions are conducted in individual breakout groups of 12 to 15 participants and 2 instructors.
On- and off-line activities will focus on using recycled materials, basic craft supplies, and household items. Individual suggested material lists will be sent in the Welcome Letter. Please have all materials gathered prior to the start of the week's adventure.

Soldiers and Dioramas at Home for Grades 6 to 11

Some of the most important battles in history come alive—in miniature—in Saturday sessions. Each session includes four hours of live online instruction with Al Gaspar and Taliesin Knol: two focused on history, and two of facilitated diorama construction in which participants make their own terrain boards and lead troops of 1/72-scale soldiers in war games that offer vivid insights into military strategies and conflicts both real and fictional.

  1. Beowulf
    Saturdays: February 27 and March 6
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, with a break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  2. WWII Rommel vs Americans in North Africa 1943
    Saturdays: March 20 and 27
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, with a break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

$165 for Smithsonian Associates members
$195 for Non-members

Adult + Child Combos
$230 for Smithsonian Associates member + child
$260 for Non-member + child

Sessions are conducted in two breakout groups of 16 participants and one instructor.
A diorama kit is included in the cost of the program and will be mailed to participants. Other materials to be provided by participants are listed on each individual program page. Have all supplies on hand before the first Soldiers and Dioramas session. To ensure all participants receive their kit before the class, registration for these Adventures will close one week before the first date of class.

Digital Platform

Live online sessions will be hosted through the platform Zoom with official Smithsonian resource accounts. These sessions will be structured as “Meetings,” allowing for increased interaction among the participants and instructors and a more engaging adventure for all. For more information about how Smithsonian Virtual Adventures is securing the Zoom platform for your child, see the section below entitled "Online Safety."

Getting Started with Zoom

Online Safety

In order to have a minor participate in Smithsonian Virtual Adventures, a parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a waiver prior to the first day of the first session. For those who purchase an Adventure as a gift, instructions on how to complete the waiver will be sent to the parents or legal guardians of your gift recipient via email.

Zoom's Privacy Policy is designed to reflect Zoom's compliance with the requirements of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other applicable laws.

The Smithsonian has licensed the education version of Zoom which has had many default settings updated to make meetings more secure. Additionally, the Smithsonian's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has reviewed and updated additional default settings based on best practices developed by Zoom and others.

For the Smithsonian Virtual Adventures, and per best practices guidance from OCIO, unique meeting links and passwords will be generated for each week-long adventure. A waiting room will be enabled with every daily session. Names of those in the waiting room will be compared to a list of the names of children registered for the program, and only those who are on the roster will be admitted into the live session. Private chat activity will be disabled within the meeting and participant screen sharing, annotation, and recording will be disabled by default. If the “breakout room” function is used, each breakout room will have an adult in attendance. Further information about Zoom meeting settings will be provided.

Each session's landing page is self-contained, only accessible to registered participants behind your unique Smithsonian Associates login, and contains only pre-approved content.

Prior to registering your adventurers, please review the Terms of Service, Privacy Statement, and the Smithsonian Kids Online Privacy Statement.

Preparing for Smithsonian Virtual Adventures

Preparing for an Online Session

  • Download the Zoom application onto your device. You will not need to be an authenticated user of Zoom in order to participate in the sessions.
  • Be prepared with a fully charged device (ideally a computer) with a webcam and secure internet access.
  • Collect materials as specified in the Welcome Letter.

The waiting room for the Zoom meeting will be open 5 minutes prior to the start of the scheduled session. Set your Zoom name to the first name and last initial of the child (ex. John S.). This must match the name used to register the child, as only those who are on the official roster for the session will be admitted from the waiting room into the live session.

Welcome Letter and Session Access

Prior to your session beginning, a welcome letter will be emailed to you at the email address provided at registration. This letter will include:

  1. Smithsonian Virtual Adventures 101 Reminders
  2. Notes about your upcoming adventure, including more details about the live sessions and a suggested materials list
  3. Smithsonian Virtual Adventures Digital Decorum document
  4. A link to the Zoom How-To Guide

If you do not receive this email before your session, please email
Please Note: Zoom links / Meeting ID / and passwords will be sent out via email approximately 2 days before your Adventure begins.

Expectations of Adventurers

We expect all children to demonstrate Digital Decorum throughout their time with us. Digital Decorum includes acting with respect towards others, following instructions from instructors and staff, and other appropriate behaviors.

Please review these expectations and other notes in Adventures 101 with your child prior to their session. If you have any questions or need clarification about these guidelines, please email

When do we call you?

There are times when it is necessary to call you or your alternate emergency contact. These include, but are not limited to:

  • When a child is being overly disruptive to the session.
  • When a child exhibits unsafe behaviors.
  • When a child is verbally hurtful to instructors, staff, or fellow attendees.
  • When a child cannot adhere to Digital Decorum or expectations after repeated verbal warnings and conversation with staff.

Other Information

Inclusion Policy

At Smithsonian Virtual Adventures, we welcome children, 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 strive to create a fun and educational environment that is respectful, engaging, and safe for all of our children. In order to best serve each child, we encourage you to list any cognitive, emotional, or learning needs or anything else you would like us to know in your registration materials.

To discuss any information or concerns about your child with the Virtual Adventures Program Manager, please send us an email at


Experienced adult instructors lead each session with staff assistance.

View Instructor Bios


Staff is composed of full time Associates staff and interns who are here to ensure that children have safe, enjoyable and informative sessions. Staff will be behind-the-scenes participants in every session throughout the day. Our mission is to ensure a smooth operation and clear communication during Smithsonian Virtual Adventures. Please email us at with any questions or concerns.

The Waitlist

If the program you would like to purchase is already sold out, you can add yourself to the waitlist online. Additional sessions may be created to accommodate large waitlists depending on teacher, staff, and resource availability. Families on the waitlist will be contacted directly if new sessions are created. We may also call you if space becomes available during the 10 weeks. If the session has already started, you will be offered a pro-rated amount if you still wish to register your adventurer.

Cancellation Policy

We know that conditions affecting student schedules are constantly evolving. To make participating in Winter Adventures easier, you can now request a refund (with no penalty or fee) for a purchased program up to two weeks prior to its start. This policy is only in effect for Winter Adventures, February 22, 2021 - March 27, 2021.

No refunds will be given within two weeks of the start of a Winter Adventure unless Smithsonian Associates is unable to deliver the program. Once it has begun, there are no partial refunds for registrants who do not complete or only partially participate in the session. Credits to your account may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unable to use a registration purchased for a Smithsonian Adventure that begins in less than two weeks, you have two options:

  1. You may donate the cost of registration to Smithsonian Associates. Email to request a letter to use for tax purposes. Ticketing and service fees paid may not be considered as part of the donation.
  2. You may offer your tickets to another appropriately aged child of your choice. Email us before the session begins and provide us with their full name and the name and email address of their parent or legal guardian. Please note that the original order will remain under your account.