Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo




Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo is the nation's zoo. It is a 163-acre zoological park set amid Rock Creek National Park in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Orangutan,  Name: Jessie Cohen,  Date: 1990s
Clouded Leopard,  Name: Jessie Cohen,  Date: 2000s
Cuban Crocodile,  Name: Jessie Cohen,  Date: 2000s


You can visit the Zoo 364 days a year to see 2,000 individual animals of 400 different species. Summer and Winter Hours.

Getting to the Zoo

Whether by car, bicycle, bus, or metro find out how to get to the Zoo.

Zoo Map

Print or view an interactive Zoo Map.

Plan Your Visit

Tourist information and activity sheets help you plan your visit.

Seeing Pandas at the Zoo

Giant panda cub Bao Bao is now on exhibit! Bao Bao is now spending much of her time in the trees of her outdoor exhibit where she can sometimes be difficult to see. Sharp eyes will spot her.

  • The panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Please arrive early. Long lines require earlier cut-off times to ensure those waiting can enter the panda house before it closes. If crowds are heavy, the line may close as early as 2 p.m.
  • Flash photography and video are welcome, but please refrain from setting up tripods, or other stationary equipment.

Visitors will be allowed into the panda house on a first-come-first-served basis.

Due to the expected number of visitors to see Bao Bao, Asia Trail will be open to one-way traffic only. Visitors will enter Asia Trail at the sloth bear exhibit, near the Connecticut Avenue pedestrian entrance. Those visiting Bao Bao will be asked to line up outside the giant panda house in front of the panda yards. For the safety of our guests, animals, and staff, visitors will be allowed into the panda house in small groups to avoid overcrowding.

Visitors will enter the panda house from the west entrance, by the red panda exhibit, and exit the east entrance. After leaving the panda house, visitors will exit Asia Trail near Panda Plaza.

Although the panda house will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mei Xiang and Bao Bao may not always be visible during that time. They will have access to the den where Bao Bao has spent much of the past few months and may choose to spend time in there instead of on exhibit. Due to bear behavior, we can't guarantee that all visitors will see Bao Bao. She is still young and sleeps a lot.

New Exhibits

American Bison

In celebration of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s 125th Anniversary, we are proud to bring back the American bison—the animal that inspired the founding of our Zoo and helped spark the conservation movement. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo started in 1887 as an exhibit on the National Mall behind the Castle featuring American bison and a handful of species native to North America. Two years later on March 2, 1889, Congress passed an act establishing the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. dedicated to “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.” Bison play a unique role not only in the Zoo’s history but are an iconic American animal with deep significance to our nation’s history.

Daily Programs

Something is always happening at the National Zoo. Daily programs include animal training, feeding demonstrations, and keeper talks.


Discover the must eat locations at the National Zoo.

Where to Stay

If you're looking for a great hotel in the D.C. area and want to support giant panda conservation, consider booking a panda package.

Park Rules

The National Zoo is a wonderful place to explore, learn, and relax. Our few rules help ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all visitors.


We make every effort to accommodate visitors with physical disabilities.

Host Your Own Event at the Zoo

With unique ways to amaze, inform, and entertain your guests, creating a memorable event is easy at the Zoo.

Recursos Españoles

Horas, comida, reglamentos, . . .


Admission to the National Zoo is FREE. There is a fee for parking in Zoo lots, but FONZ members have the opportunity to park for free! The Zoo is accessible by Metrorail and Metrobus.


Strollers, wheelchairs, and electronic vehicles are available to rent; ask at any information kiosk throughout the park for location. (FONZ members at the Household level and above receive a discount on stroller rentals.)

Some buildings and exhibits request that you stow your stroller in a designated area before entering.

  Members Nonmembers
Single Stroller $6 $9
Double Stroller $9 $12
Wheelchair (non-motorized) Free Free
Electronic Vehicle $25 $30

ATMs are located at the Visitor Center and Mane Restaurant.

Souvenir Zoo maps are available at the Visitor Center and information kiosks throughout the park for $3.

Public restrooms are located in Panda Plaza, next to the Zoo Police Station, inside the Visitor Center, at the Elephant Outpost, and inside Amazonia.

There are no lockers or other storage facilities for visitors at the National Zoo.

The Zoo does not have a kennel where visitors may leave pets during their visit. Pets are not permitted in the Zoo (except for assistance animals) and leaving your pet unattended in your vehicle is strongly discouraged.