Beginning Jan. 18, 2022, the Zoo is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Select animal buildings remain closed.

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A Conversation about Animal Cognition

On Aug. 31, 2019, the Smithsonian's National Zoo's animal welfare and research manager Betsy Herrelko, Ph.D., moderated a panel at the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival. The panel included primatologist Dr. Frans de Waal and dog cognition expert Dr. Alexandra Horowitz who discussed their new books, "Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves" and "Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond."

The venue was filled to capacity for the conversation on animal emotions and human-animal relationships — a topic that is of interest to the general public and reflected in the daily conversations that keepers and volunteers have with Zoo visitors about animal cognition, behavior and welfare.

Listen to the complete panel discussion: