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× Visitors: Parts of Asia Trail are undergoing construction, but the Giant Panda House and viewing area are OPEN. 
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Plan a Field Trip

How to Book a School Visit

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. You can reserve up to 55 passes per entry time.

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

  • Total number of students
  • Total number of adults and chaperones (one chaperone is required for every 10 students)
  • Date of your visit
  • Entry time (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • School or organization name and address
  • Contact information

Groups larger than 385 must split their visits over two or more days. If you have a group of more than 385 people, please contact  NZCBI-groupsales@si.edu.

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

Group reservations can be made up to two months in advance.

Please visit our group reservations page to reserve your passes. Select your preferred date from the dropdown menu on the left-hand side of the screen. Then, complete and submit the form.

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

From Labor Day to Memorial Day (September through May):

  • Bus parking is available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays only, pending availability.
  • Reservations are required and parking spaces are limited.
  • Blackout dates may apply and are at the discretion of the Zoo.

To request bus parking, complete the bus parking request form.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day (June through August):

There is no bus parking available.

Visit the District Department of Transportation’s resource on available parking for motor coaches in Washington, D.C.

  • Buses can unload and load passengers on Connecticut Avenue in designated areas marked with signage.
  • Please note, unloading is permitted for passenger drop-off only.
  • Buses are not permitted to unload or load inside the Zoo or on Zoo grounds unless they have a parking reservation.

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

Visit the District Department of Transportation’s resource on available parking for motor coaches in Washington, D.C.

Make a Group Reservation

Please contact  NZCBI-groupsales@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.