Smithsonian's National Zoo to Reopen May 21

This message was sent to members of the Zoo Neighborhood Council April 23, 2021.

The Smithsonian announced today that the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, along with seven other museums, will reopen to the public soon. We are thrilled to welcome you and your constituents back to the Zoo Friday, May 21. On May 14, visitors may begin to reserve their free timed entry passes or paid parking passes to gain admission to the Zoo.

In the coming weeks, we will be updating our website with detailed information on how to view our newest giant panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji. In order to maintain social distancing, visitation will be very limited and will require a separate free timed-entry pass, which visitors can obtain onsite. Asia Trail/Panda Passes will be released throughout the day.

Xiao Qi Ji is one of several animals making their debut at the Zoo; other new faces include Przewalski’s horse mother-son duo, Barbie and Cooper, and Komodo dragon juvenile Onyx. We invite visitors to explore our grounds and reconnect with other animals who arrived within the last year, including American bison Lucy and Gally, California sea lion Charger, North American beaver Poplar and Andean bear Brienne.

Dining locations around the Zoo will be open to satiate hungry visitors, including Elevation Burger near the Great Cats habitat, Sbarro at Panda Plaza, Auntie Anne’s and Carvel at the Panda Overlook Café, and Ben & Jerry’s at the Seal Rock Café on American Trail. Gifts and souvenirs will also be available for purchase at Panda Plaza.

As you share this happy news with your constituents, please relay that for the safety of our animals, staff and visitors, enhanced protocols and guidelines will be in place. Steps we have taken to ensure everyone’s safety include timed entry or parking pass reservations, required face coverings for all visitors ages 2 and older, and helpful social distance markers and hand sanitizer stations throughout the park. We appreciate everyone observing these rules and doing their part to help keep our conservation community safe.

As always, thank you in advance for your support.