When the Smithsonian’s National Zoo reopens, your current member benefits — such as access to parking passes and discounts on food and gift shop purchases — will be reinstated. COVID-19 precautions pending, your benefits will continue to be offered until your membership expires. You don’t need to do anything — your membership card and number are all you’ll need for the time being.
Below you'll find some of the most frequently asked questions about Smithsonian National Zoo Membership.
Will my current membership be transferred to the Zoo? What happens when my current membership expires?
Yes! The Zoo will offer current members their existing benefits until their membership expires. We are creating a new membership program, and all current members will automatically become part of that new program. Expect to hear more about this exciting new Charter Membership in the coming weeks.
Yes. If you joined or renewed recently with the promise of extra months, the Zoo will honor that extension.
Yes! Members will continue to receive a weekly e-newsletter.
Once it is safe to host special events, the Zoo will send updates about exciting ticketed events and discounts.
Yes! Xiao Qi Ji can’t wait to see you. Expect to hear more soon about the Zoo re-opening!
Becoming a Member
Free parking is available for Premier level members and higher. Free parking is not available to Standard level members. Membership parking benefits do not apply to employees, vendors or contractors doing business with or operating near the Zoo.
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, parking passes will be required for every vehicle entering the Zoo. Members at the Premier level or higher who plan to park at the Zoo must reserve a Parking Pass ahead of their visit. There are limited numbers of free member passes and $30 paid passes available each day, and dates fill fast. All pass reservations – free and paid – are first come, first served.
It can take up to a few days for a new or reactivated member ID to become live in the Etix system. If you recently joined or renewed and your membership ID is not recognized in the Etix system, we recommend that you try again the next day. The wait time often takes less than 72 hours.
To ensure that as many members as possible can access free member parking passes, members will be able to reserve one parking pass per week. Please only reserve a pass if you are sure you plan to visit. Reserving passes that you think you may not use will prevent other members from being able to access them. Reserved dates cannot be changed.
Important, please read carefully:
- Parking passes, paid and free, are available through Etix.
- To access free member parking within the Etix system, select the date of your visit and enter your member ID when prompted. Note: it can take up to a few days for a new or reactivated member ID to become live in the Etix system. If you recently joined or rejoined and your membership ID is not recognized in the Etix system, we recommend that you try again the next day. This process can take up to 72 hours.
- If you do not see a prompt to select a free parking pass on a selected day, this means that all of the free parking passes for members have already been taken for that day. Please click a future date on the calendar to see availability. The demand for parking passes is extremely high. Free member passes are usually claimed quickly, especially on weekends. When selecting a date for your visit, keep in mind that parking is available one month out on a rolling basis.
- If free member parking passes are no longer available for the date you selected, there may still be parking passes for purchase. $30 paid passes sell out more slowly. Members who elect to pay for parking will not receive a reimbursement.
- If you claim a parking pass, please do not also register for free timed entry passes. Parking passes cover everyone in a car. Parking passes are not timed. Parking pass holders may enter from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the date of their reservation. The Zoo closes at 4 p.m.
If you still have questions about reserving parking passes, please contact Etix directly at 800-514-3849 or visit etix.com for FAQs or customer support.
Yes! Timed entry passes are free to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. If you plan to use public transportation or use a ride share service to get to the Zoo, you must have a timed entry pass for each individual in your group. Entry passes are available online only.
- All guests, including infants, must have a timed entry pass. NOTE: If you choose a Parking Pass, do not also register for Free Timed Passes.
- Entry times are every 15 minutes (please arrive at your designated time).
- Limited to six passes per reservation. Reserve Timed Entry Passes.
Membership Cards and Benefits
Yes! Your membership is active the day you join. Upon payment (online only), you will receive an email confirmation containing your membership ID (sometimes called your customer ID), which can be used as proof of membership until your membership cards arrive in the mail.
Important: If you are a Premier level member or higher and want to reserve a parking pass, it can take up to 72 hours for a new or reactivated member ID to become live in the Etix system.
Memberships may not be shared with people outside of your household. The primary card name for a membership should be an adult head of household. Additional named adult cardholders can include other adults living in the same household, or an additional caretaker for the children in the household. Individuals under the age of 18 should not be named on membership cards.
Please note: Including "Guest," "Nanny," or other titles instead of an individual’s name will prevent them from using the membership. A membership card may not be loaned to an individual that is not one of the named individuals on your account.
Renewing/Upgrading Your Membership
While we work to build a new member program, you may write ZooMembership@si.edu or call 202-633-2922 to be connected with a staff person who will assist you. If you renew your membership early at a higher level, then your existing membership will automatically be upgraded with no time lost. The additional membership year will be added onto the end of your existing membership’s duration.
Yes! Gift memberships, offered at the Premier, Premier Plus and Patron Circle levels, include a customizable certificate that can be shared with your gift recipient. Please look for this functionality in the coming weeks as we build out a new member program.
My Membership Account
I'm moving away or living out of state, and I still want to support the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Is my membership good at other zoos?
By becoming a member at any level, you help support our mission to save species. If you are moving or living out of state, check the reciprocity list for zoos and aquariums in your area.
Participants in the AZA Reciprocal Membership Program reserve the right to cancel or deny benefits at any time according to their needs. Be sure to call the zoo or aquarium that you are visiting ahead of time to confirm whether they are offering reciprocal membership benefits. Visit AZA.org for the most up-to-date information.
Please note that membership benefits may be limited or canceled as a precaution due to COVID-19.
If you have a question about a parking pass or entry ticket reservation, please contact Etix directly at 800-514-3849 or visit etix.com for FAQs or customer support.
If your question was not answered here and we may be of further assistance, please write ZooMembership@si.edu or call 202-633-2922 to be connected to the appropriate person. The membership phone line and email account is monitored Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will respond to your message within two business days.
Thank you for patience, and for your support of the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.