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Adventuring 101

Basic logistics for Smithsonian Virtual Adventures

If you have a specific question, send us an email

2020 Fall Adventure Dates

Smithsonian Virtual Adventures are offered between September 29 and December 17, 2020. There are no sessions on Federal holidays and some Adventures will not meet the week of Thanksgiving. Please see Adventure listings for exact dates of each session.

All Adventure time are based on Eastern Standard time (EST). All Adventures are broadcast in English only.


Smithsonian Virtual Adventures are designed for children who will be entering Kindergarten through 11th grade this fall. Children should be registered for the grade level they are in for the 2020/2021 school year, and they can only register for an adventure within their correct grade range.

2020 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 bring one hour of live interaction three times a week. Educators lead interactive experiences that explore objects and artworks in the Smithsonian collection through play, art making and experimentation. Programs are not designed for children under five.

  1. Jump into the Jam Sessions - October 5 through October 15
  2. Bats, Bones, and Spiders…Oh My! – October 19 through October 29
  3. Simple Machines – November 2 through November 12
  4. Native American Artists – November 16 through December 3
  5. All the World’s a Stage – December 7 through December 17
All Kindergarten-grade 1 Adventures run from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET
No sessions will be held Thanksgiving week. Tuesday may be offered in the case of Federal Holidays. See Adventure descriptions for the actual dates of each session.
$120 per two-week session for Smithsonian Associates members
$150 per two-week session for non-members
Sessions are broken out into 10-12 participants and 2 instructors in each breakout room.
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.

Soldiers and Dioramas at Home for Grades 6 to 11

Build, strategize, and explore the details of historical land and sea battles in Soldiers & Dioramas. Each week, spend two days with Al Gaspar and Taliesin Knol discovering the past, constructing dioramas, and playing games to practice battle strategies. Two hours of live online history and two hours of live online-facilitated diorama construction each day.

  1. WWII - Guadalcanal, 1942 – Saturdays from October 3 to October 10
  2. The Battle of the Chesapeake and the Siege of Yorktown, 1781 – Saturdays from October 24 to October 31
  3. WWII - Malta, 1940, and Sicily, 1943 – Saturdays from November 7 to November 14
  4. Civil War - Mobile Bay, 1864 – Saturdays from December 5 and December 12
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, with a break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
$165 per session for Smithsonian Associates members
$195 per session for non-members
16 participants, divided into two breakout rooms with one instructor in each room.
Diorama kits will be mailed to participants and is included in the cost of the program. Paint, glue, and masking tape are not included. Please see materials list on individual Adventures page and have all materials gathered prior to the start of the adventure.

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

No refunds will be given for online programs unless Smithsonian Associates is unable to deliver the program. Once the session has begun, there are no partial refunds for participants who do not complete, or who only partially participate during the sessions. Credits to your account may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unable to use the ticket(s) you have purchased for a Smithsonian Adventures, you have the following options:

  1. Prior to the session beginning, you may donate the cost of the ticket to Smithsonian Associates. We will send you a letter to use for tax purposes upon request via email to Ticketing and service fees paid may not be used as a donation.
  2. You may offer your tickets to another appropriately aged child of your choosing. Email us before the session begins and provide us with their full name and the name/email address of their parent or legal guardian. Please note, the original order will remain under your account.