Plan a Field Trip

Admission to the Zoo is free, but you will need to reserve entry passes for all students and chaperones.

Please carefully read these FAQs about group reservations before booking your field trip.

Group reservations are available for groups of 16 or more.

At the time of booking, you will be asked for:

  • Total number of guests arriving together (one chaperone is required for every 10 students)
  • Date of your visit
  • Entry time (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Departure time
  • Total number of buses
  • School or organization name and address
  • NCES ID number (required for school groups requesting parking)
  • Contact information

If your group is 15 people or fewer, you do not need to make a group reservation and can reserve general entry passes.

Bookings will be available from Sept. 5- June 15. The summer calendar will launch at a later date.

Please visit our group reservations page for additional information and to reserve your passes. To make a reservation, select an available date from the calendar. Then, complete and submit the form.

*Group reservations must be made a minimum of 72 hours prior to the date of your visit.

Spaces are limited, but school groups may be eligible for bus parking.

  • Reservations for bus parking and drop-off/pick-up can be made through the group reservation system, pending availability.
  • Reservations are required and parking spaces are limited.
  • Blackout dates may apply and are at the discretion of the Zoo.
  • Parking fees may apply and vary based on the time of the year.

Please visit our group reservations page to complete a bus parking or bus drop-off reservation.

  • Groups with bus parking or drop-off/pick-up reservations must enter through the Connecticut Avenue vehicle entrance.
  • Upon arrival, buses will be directed to the unloading zone.
  • Buses are not permitted to unload or load inside the Zoo or on Zoo grounds unless they have a parking or drop-off/pick-up reservation.

Idling and parking on Connecticut Avenue are prohibited. Buses parked or idling illegally may be ticketed by the Metropolitan Police Department. 

Please contact  zootickets@si.edu if you have further questions about booking your field trip.


Pre-visit Activities

Get ready for your visit!

Zoo Exhibits

Head to the exhibits page to learn about the animals and exhibits you'll find at the Zoo.

Social Narratives

Social narratives are resource guides for individuals with cognitive disabilities and are useful as pre-visit guides to animal areas within the park. The social narratives highlight what visitors may encounter while touring the Zoo.

In addition to showcasing animals in the collection, these guides also provide information on quiet areas, educational demonstrations, hands-on activities and artistic works.

During Your Visit

Animal Adventure Guide (Mobile) 

Follow along with this mobile Animal Adventure Guide during your Zoo visit to learn more about the animals you see. Enjoy short videos, "act it out" challenges, species stories and more.

Open the Guide

Daily Demo Schedule

Check the schedule of daily programs for keeper chats and animal demos. Throughout the day, you can meet elephants, see sloth bears slurp ants, watch sea lions catch fish and more.

Zoo Crew Family Guide

This activity booklet engages children and adults together in learning about Zoo animals with games, activities, fun facts, stories and more. Best for pre-K to grade 6.