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Adventuring 101

Everything you need to know about Smithsonian Virtual Adventures

Have a specific question? Send us an email.

2021 Fall and 2022 Winter Adventure Dates

Smithsonian Virtual Fall Adventures will be offered between December 4 and 11, 2021.
Smithsonian Virtual Winter Adventures will be offered between January 22 and April 30, 2022.

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


Smithsonian Virtual Adventures are designed for children who are currently in 6th through 11th grade this fall. Children should be registered based on their grade level in the 2021-22 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 receipt for tax purposes, 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 and daily handouts. Please note: Smithsonian Associates memberships are not transferable. If the gift certificate recipient is not a member, they will not have access to the member prices or early registration. Consider adding the Associates’ $50 basic membership to the gift certificate to allow access to the member prices and early registration.

2021 Virtual Adventures and Prices

Soldiers and Dioramas for Grades 6 to 11

Build, strategize, and explore the details of historical and fictional land and sea battles in Soldiers and Dioramas. 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 strategy and two hours of live online-facilitated diorama construction each consecutive Saturday.

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 individual program pages.

Adults can join Soldiers and Dioramas Adventures with their young person for an added fee.  Looking for a fascinating and fun learning experience to share with the 6th-to-11th grader in your family?  Register to join them using the '1 Adult-1 Child' price type and enjoy working and learning together, even from different houses!  Adults will receive their own kit in the mail and can join each session with their young family member on separate devices or from the same device.

Please Note: At this time, adults are not able to register on their own; they must have a child participating in the session as well.  However, students do not have to draft an adult to join them—they can still take part in the adventures on their own. 

Dates & Times
  1. WWII: Operation Archery, 1941
    2 Sessions: Sat., Nov. 6 and Sat., Nov. 13, 2021
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break
  2. Japan: Seven Samurai, 16th Century
    2 Sessions: Sat., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec 11, 2021
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break
  3. WWII: Battle of Corregidor, 1942
    2 Sessions: Sat., Jan. 22 and Sat., Jan. 29, 2022
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break
  4. Jason and the Argonauts
    2 Sessions: Sat., Feb. 26 and Sat., Mar. 5, 2022
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break
  5. Vietnam War: Battle of Lang Vei, 1968
    2 Sessions: Sat., Mar. 19 and Sat., Mar. 26, 2022
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break
  6. American Civil War: Battle of the Ironclads, 1862
    2 Sessions: Sat., Apr. 23 and Sat., Apr. 30, 2022
    10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, with a 12-1 p.m. break

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

$230 for members: 1 Adult-1 Child / $260 for non-members: 1 Adult-1 Child

Registration Deadline

Registration will close for each Virtual Adventure two weeks prior to the start date.

How to Register

Digital Platform

Live online sessions are hosted through Zoom with official Smithsonian accounts. These sessions are 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 for a minor to 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. If a parent or legal guardian is making the purchase, they will be able to sign this waiver at checkout. 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. You can download the application from their website .
  • IMPORTANT: Update your Zoom Client. Keep your Zoom client updated to the latest version to enjoy the best viewing experience. You may also be required to update your Zoom client before you can join your session.
  • 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.


Soldiers and Dioramas Adventures include a mailed kit. The cost of this kit is included in the price; however, other materials will need to be provided by participants and are listed on individual program pages. The supply list will also be in your Welcome Email, which you will receive 1 week prior to the start of your Adventure. Please have all materials gathered prior to the start of the first session.

Welcome Letter

About a week 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. The direct Zoom link, Meeting ID and Passcode

If you do not receive this email before your session, please email

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 and Accessibility 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.

Closed captioning can be provided upon request. If your child requires closed captioning to participate, please submit an email request at least two weeks prior to the adventure. We will make every effort to fill your request.

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


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

Refunds will be given on a case-by-case basis, and only up until four weeks prior to the first date of the Adventure. Once it has begun, there are no partial refunds for registrants who do not complete or partially participate in the session. Credits to your account may also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are unable to use a registration purchased for a Smithsonian Adventure, you have two options:

  1. You may donate the cost of registration to Smithsonian Associates. 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.

Dependent Care Tax Credit & FSA Expense

Please check with current IRS guidelines regarding tax credit for virtual care. Tuition for Smithsonian Virtual Summer Adventures may be an eligible expense under Dependent Care FSA as long as the child is under the age of 13 and a proper receipt is provided. Please check with your FSA provider to confirm. For those who qualify, a receipt can be issued in the name of the person who paid for the Adventure.