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How to Register

Part 1 - Prepare in Advance for Registration Day!

Review Smithsonian Policies and Our Camp Guides

Verify Your Login & Account Information

To ensure you have the smoothest registration experience and pay the correct rate, verify your login information and membership status prior to registration day.

Individual camp information will be sent to the email address listed on your profile one week prior to your first day of each camp purchased. Verify your email address and domestic (US) phone number are correct and if not, update them as necessary.

Verify Your Membership

Become a member at any level and save money on your Summer Camp tickets! Support Smithsonian Associates at the donor Contributor Level ($300) and higher and register even earlier for Smithsonian Summer Camp!

Find out more about becoming a donor or call one of our Donor Services representatives.

Pre-register Your Campers

Save your child's grade level, parent/guardian contact information, photo permissions, ad other pertinent information ahead of time*. This information is required to purchase Smithsonian Summer Camps, and having it completed in advance will help get you through the checkout process much quicker.

Pre-register your campers

Your child's information is disposed of at the end of each season. If your child has attended in previous seasons, you may need to re-enter this information.

For a minor to participate in Smithsonian Summer Camps, a parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a waiver for each child they are registering during the checkout process.

Part 2 - Know Your Camps in Advance!

Planning to Purchase Camps as a Gift?

Purchase a gift certificate for the child's parent or legal guardian, who can then use it when they register online for the Summer Camp of their choice. Gift certificates can be applied during checkout.

This keeps the registration under the adult’s account, which will ensure they receive the receipt for tax purposes, welcome letter, and other relevant information. The adult will also be able to log into their online portal and access their child’s welcome letter information from anywhere. 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 Smithsonian Associates Associate $50 introductory membership to the gift certificate to allow access to the member prices and early registration.

Browse Our Selection of Camps

Be prepared and plan which camps you want to purchase in advance by browsing our camp offerings. Have a second choice in mind when registering as camps can sell out quickly.

While browsing our camps you will be able to flag the ones you and your campers are interested in attending by adding them to your Wishlist. You may also download our handy Camp Registration Organizer if you prefer to keep track of your camp choices offline.

Part 3 - Registration Dates

Registration Dates

Smithsonian Associates Donors
$300 Contributor level and above
Lottery registration time slots are open on February 12, 13, and 14, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.
Smithsonian Associates Members
All levels
February 15, 2024, starting at 10:00 a.m. ET
General Public
February 16, 2024, starting at 10:00 a.m. ET

Lottery Registration

To make the early registration process easier on both our members and our staff, we have implemented a registration by lottery system for our Contributor-level members. Contributor-level members who meet the criteria to participate in the lottery will be randomly assigned a one-hour time slot on either February 12, 13, or 14, 2024, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET, in which they can register for Summer Camp either online or by phone.

Are you eligible for the lottery registration?

Log in to check your eligibility!

Log in

Participating in the lottery

To participate in the lottery for early registration you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a member at the Contributor level.
  • Your membership must be active through at least August 31, 2024.
  • You must pre-register your campers by Sunday, January 21, at 11:59:59 p.m. ET.

When does the lottery take place?

The lottery will take place on Monday, January 22.

How will I know what time slot is assigned to me?

On Wednesday, January 24, you will be able to view your registration time slot on the dashboard in your portal. You will also be notified by email on that date.

What happens if I miss my assigned time slot?

If you miss your time slot, you will be able to purchase camp when camp sales open up to all members on Thursday, February 15 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Will signing up at the Contributor level and participating in the lottery registration guarantee that I will be able to get tickets for the camp(s) of my choice?

We cannot guarantee that everyone will get their first choice of camp and advise that you have alternate choices ready.

Session Registration

In order for a minor to participate in Smithsonian Summer Camps, a parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a waiver for each child they are registering during the checkout process. This can also be done in advance by pre-registering your campers.

Registration Confirmation

When you receive your email confirmation, please make sure that all the information about your child has been recorded accurately. Please print and save your e-mail confirmation, as no ticket will be mailed.

If you do not receive an e-mail confirmation, you can attempt to resend your order email confirmation to yourself from your order history. You can also call our Customer Service team to confirm that you have reserved a place in your camps.

Important: If your payment cannot be immediately processed, keep the items in your cart and remain active on the site until your order goes through.

The Waitlist

Camp Staff constantly goes through registration numbers and waitlists to bring as many children off the waitlist and into camps as possible. More than 70% of the waitlist get into camps.

If the camp you would like to purchase is sold out you will be able to add yourself to the waitlist online. If a spot becomes available, we will contact customers in the order we received their waitlist request. Customers will have until 3:00 p.m. ET the day after we contact you to respond before we call the next customer on the waitlist.

Additional camp sessions may be created to accommodate large waitlists depending on teacher, staff, and resource availability. If a new session is created, we will contact customers on the waitlist by phone in the order we received their waitlist request.

Other Important Information

Cancellation Policy

A 75% refund minus a $30 administrative fee will be issued if a request is received via email by 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, May 31, 2024. Cancellations received after this date and time are not eligible for a refund. Smithsonian Summer Camp does not prorate for any absence from camp including illness or changes due to work or vacation schedules. Upon request by a parent or guardian, we may allow a camper to switch to a different camp session, either in the same week or in an alternate week, depending on availability and at our own discretion.

Smithsonian Summer Camp reserves the right to cancel a camp at its discretion for any reason, including but not limited to COVID-19 or insufficient enrollment. We will do our best to provide registered families with as much notice as possible of any such cancellation. If a program is cancelled, families will be notified, and a full refund will be provided.

Dependent Care Tax Credit / FSA Expense

Per IRS guidelines, the cost of a day of 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 person who paid for the summer camp program. For more information on the IRS rules, visit the IRS web site.