Perimeter Fencing Update and Pedestrian Safety

Update: On March 7, 2019, the Smithsonian's National Zoo received combined preliminary and final approval from the National Capital Planning Commission for its perimeter fencing plan. Along with the revised final approval from the Commission of Fine Arts and the finding of “no adverse effect” from the D.C. State Historic Preservation Office, the Zoo can now proceed to construction.

The Zoo has no plans for permanent, year-round visitor screening. New fencing and gates within the park are proposed at gaps in the existing fence separating North Road from the pedestrian areas of the Zoo. Limiting the number of ways people enter the Zoo will enhance security and safety year-round. During high-visitation periods or when there has been an increased threat level, the Zoo will continue to implement temporary security screening—as it has at these same entrances for the past four years.  

Plan Details

Three main entrances used by the majority of visitors will be unchanged:

  • Connecticut Avenue
  • Lower Zoo (Harvard Street)
  • Bus parking area near the giant panda habitat, although there will be a new visitor entry gate

In 2019, the Zoo plans to make the following adjustments at existing pedestrian entry points.

  • Four pathways from Lot B will be consolidated into one.
  • Two pathways from Lot A will be consolidated into one.
  • The entrance to the Zoo from Lot C will remain unchanged.
  • The two service entrances near Amazonia will be made accessible only to staff. Note: The closure of these entrances will not impact the Rock Creek bike path that crosses the Zoo’s property. Joggers and cyclists will be able to continue on the protected path along Rock Creek and enter the zoo at the Beach Drive Gate.
  • One staff-only entrance into the Visitor Center that is accessible to pedestrians will now be only accessible to staff.
Note: The Rock Creek Park bike path adjacent to the Zoo and serviced by DDOT remains closed due to deterioration from recent flooding. Please refer to the DDOT website for updates.