Friends of the National Zoo

Member News


May is Member Month!

As a special thank you, we want to help you make the most of your next visit and experience the Zoo as only FONZ members can! Register online starting April 30 to take part in the following exclusive member activities. And just drop on by to the following activities that don't require pre-registration.

You must be an active member to participate in May is Member Month activities. The Zoo is a popular destination during the spring and summer. We encourage you to take public transportation or arrive early to park. May is Member Month activities are held rain or shine. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Member Morning at the Small Mammal House

Family Friendly; No registration required
Saturday May 2, 9:00am – 10:00am
Join us for an exclusive look at the goings-on at the Small Mammal House before doors open to the public.

Please present your membership card for entrance.

Small Mammal Enrichment Activity

Family Friendly; Registration Required
Saturday May 2, 9:00am
Ever wonder what those boxes, bags, and toys are doing in animal exhibits? Join us to learn about animal enrichment at the National Zoo and to create your own enrichment item using a variety of keeper-approved materials! Following the activity, head over to the Small Mammal House to watch animals enjoy your handiwork throughout the day.

For adults and children 8 & up; adult supervision required for children under 18.

Member Morning at the Bird House

Family Friendly; Registration Required for Certain Events (see below)
Saturday, May 9, 9:00am – 10:00am
Join us for an exclusive look at the goings-on at the Bird House before doors open to the public. Then stick around and participate in the public event celebrating Migratory Bird Day from 10 a.m.– 2 p.m.

  • Wild Bird Banding – 9:00am – 10:00am
    Family Friendly; No registration required

    Watch as Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center staff gather data and band wild migratory birds.

  • Guided Bird Walks – 9:00am
    Registration Required; Participants must be age 9 and older

    This 45-minute walk led by Bird House keepers and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center staff will introduce you to bird-watching techniques and teach you to identify birds migrating through the area! A limited number of binoculars will be available, so you may want to borrow or bring your own. Also, no strollers please, as the walk may go off paved pathways.

  • Black Crowned Night Heron Feeding – 9:30am
    Family Friendly; No registration required

    Bird House keeper staff will feed the wild black-crowned night herons and talk about their long history at the National Zoo. Please present your membership card for entrance.

  • Stanley Crane Walk – 9:45am
    Participants must reach a minimum height of 3 1/2 feet; Registration Required

    Join a Bird House Keeper on a walk with Alice, the stanley crane, and learn about the incredible work being done to conserve this species. Participants must meet the minimum height requirement of 3 1/2 feet as there will be no physical barrier between the crane and participants. Additionally, no touching or petting of the crane is permitted.

Migratory Bird Day (Public Event)

Family Friendly; Registration Required
Saturday, May 9, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Stick around after the member-exclusive activities and participate in more fun at the public event, featuring games and crafts for kids, interactive exhibits, and more special demonstrations by Zoo scientists and bird keepers.

Taste of Our Tours

Family Friendly; Registration Required

Did you know the National Zoo offers tours? Get a free peek at our zoo tours with a mini-tour led by an experienced guide.

  • Asia Trail
    Family Friendly; Registration Required

    May 6, 10:00am and 11:00am
    Tour features sloth bears, clouded leopards, and other Asia Trail residents.

  • Great Cats
    Family Friendly; Registration Required

    May 17 and May 23, 10:00am and 11:00am
    Tour features lions, tigers, and no, not bears but other species found on Lion Tiger Hill.
  • Eventbrite - Taste of our Tours: Great Cats

  • Cheetah Conservation Station
    Family Friendly; Registration Required

    May 20 and May 27 10:00am and 11:00am
    Tour features cheetahs, zebras, and other residents of the Cheetah Conservation Station.
  • Eventbrite - Taste of our Tours: Cheetah Conservation Station

How Do You Zoo?

May 3, 16, and 31
1:00 – 2:15pm and 2:45 – 4:00pm

Family Friendly; Registration Required (best suited for children aged 5 – 10)
Let your imagination run WILD! FONZ staff will help you explore zoo careers in this interactive play space. Test your skills by completing tasks in four pretend settings within the exhibit. Complete research in the Small Mammal House, become an animal chef, examine animal x–rays, and take care of business as a Smithsonian's National Zookeeper. Pass your training and become certified Jr. Zoo staff! There are no live animals in this exhibit and children will not come into contact with live animals.

Eventbrite - How Do You Zoo?

Member Evening Zoo Walk

May 7 and May 21 – 6:00pm

Family Friendly; Registration Required
Take a walk on the wild side with a twilight-highlights tour of the Zoo! A FONZ host will guide your walk as you learn about the Zoo's animals, history, and efforts to save species! This is a family-friendly event, but we will walk at a brisk pace, so you may want to bring a stroller for your night crawlers.

Eventbrite - Member Evening Zoo Walk

Animal Coverings

May 10 and May 24 – 9:00am and 9:30am

Family Friendly; (best suited for children aged 4 – 7); Registration Required
Meet a Zoo guide for a hands-on session that teaches the difference between reptiles, birds, and mammals. Children will be given the opportunity to handle artifacts in this half-hour program.

Eventbrite - Animal Coverings Chat

Wine and Wildlife Walks

Thursday, May 28, 6:00pm

You must be 21 or older to attend; Registration Required
Join us for an exclusive guided tour of the Zoo led by one of our expert educational docents. Afterward members can enjoy wine, cheese, and the opportunity to ask questions about their favorite Zoo animal or get the latest scoop on the Zoo's many conservation initiatives.

Eventbrite - Wine and Wildlife

Member Parking Information

A valid FONZ membership card with matching photo ID is required for free or discounted parking. Parking spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Plan to arrive early when weather is nice. National Zoo parking gates open at 6:00 a.m. April through October and many animals are in their outdoor exhibits before 10:00 a.m. during the summer season.

Members who forget their membership cards, do not have matching IDs, or present illegible or expired cards or IDs, will be charged the full parking fee.

Need a temporary replacement card? Please contact the FONZ Membership Office at least 1 business day in advance your visit if notice your card is damaged or missing so that we can send you a temporary membership verification letter via email. The FONZ Membership Office can be reached directly via email or phone at (202) 633-2922, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Lost your membership cards? Replacement cards are available online for a $5.00 reprinting fee.