Smithsonian Summer Camp 2018 in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, Smithsonian Institution
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Summer camps at the Smithsonian offer something for everyone. The Smithsonian Associates sponsors full-day summer camp programs for children in grades K-9, guiding them in the exploration of Washington, DC’s Smithsonian museums, the National Mall, and other regional sites. The camps focus on specific themes such as computer technology, video arts, music & dance, exploration of other lands & outer space, theater, photography, and art. A teacher assistant program is offered for ages 15 and up.

Back by popular demand are two-week intensive camps designed for students (grades 4–9), who have an interest in history, art and drama, 3-D technologies and digital arts. “Espionage, Infiltration and Subterfuge” is a two-week camp exploring how technology has changed the spy game, what happens when spies get caught, and why cyber-spying is now the norm. The two-week camp “Couch-Potato History” allows campers to discover American cultural history through the lens of classic television programs with visits to the National Museum of American History and National Museum of African American History and Culture. In the two-week camp, “The Power of the Mask,” campers visit Smithsonian museums to see examples of historic masks and then create masks reflecting their personal style and inner strengths. Campers can also spend two full weeks immersed in 3-D technologies in “Constructing the Smithsonian in 3D,” exploring the digital art world during “Digital Arts Mash-Up”, or learning to paint with watercolors and acrylics in “Painting Explorations.”

New one-week camps include: “Eco-Heroes” (grades K–1) where campers dig into gardening, discover what life in the sea is like, conduct their own science experiments and create eco-themed art; “Gross Me Out” where campers (grades 2–3) spend the week uncovering the science behind snot, the bacteria that live in belly buttons, and gross creatures inside and outside the human body. In “Pirates of the Smithsonian” campers (grades 4–6) delve into the history of pirates, piracy, and the high seas and uncover Washington D.C.’s connections to pirate history, and in the weeklong camp “TV Smithsonian,” campers (grades 5–7) research a topic in Smithsonian collections then produce, write, direct, and star in their own television-style documentary. Other camp themes include video game design, anime, the solar system, Smithsonian “Shark Tank,” papermaking, junior paleontologists, improv comedy, digital photography, and more.

Smithsonian Camp Schedules

Camps are offered in a one week sessions from Monday, June 18, 2018 to Friday, August 17, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is no camp on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. 

Camp includes a supervised brown-bag lunch hour. Many camps take a snack break so please pack a water bottle and extra snack.

Before-camp (8 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and after-camp (4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) activities are also available. Pre-registration is required.

Camp Descriptions

For information about the specific programs, visit the website for the Smithsonian Associates.

Camp Meeting Location

Drop-off and pick-up place is the entrance of the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive, SW Washington, DC. (202) 357-3030.


The Smithsonian encourages you to become a member of The Smithsonian Associates to receive a discount on summer camp tickets. Full-day week-long camps are $395 for members and $460 for non-members. As there is no camp on Wednesday, July 4, prices for camp that week is $316 for members and $368 for non-members. Two-week intensive camps range from $460 to $920 for non-members and $395 to $790 for Smithsonian Associates members; campers can customize their experience, registering for a single week of select two-week camps. 


Online and phone registration for Summer Camp 2018 begins Thursday, February 15, at 9 a.m. In-person registration at the Smithsonian Associates box office located in Suite 3077 of the Ripley Center begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, February 15. Donors to Smithsonian Associates at the Contributor level ($300 or higher) are eligible for priority registration Tuesday, February 13. All participants are encouraged to pre-register online. If you have questions, or to register by phone, call (202) 633-3030.

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