COVID Closure: A Note from the Director of the Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo will be temporarily closed to the public due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic alongside all Smithsonian museums. This closure will begin on Monday, November 23. Due to the changing nature of the situation, we do not have a date set for when we will be reopening.

While I am disheartened to share this news, I am also optimistic that we know more about this virus now than when we first closed in March, and with early and decisive action we will continue moving, slowly, towards our shared ultimate goal to reopen for good.

I realize that some of you may already have made plans to visit our Zoo in the coming weeks, and I apologize if this has inconvenienced you.

As we have maintained from the beginning, our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our guests, animals, and staff. We will use this time to reassess, monitor and explore additional risk-mitigation measures. We are closely monitoring guidance from local governments, public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rest assured that our Zoo team will care for the animals in our care with their usual expertise, dedication and passion. I’m so proud of the work they perform every day. And while we’re closed, I encourage you to watch our giant panda cub thrive on the Giant Panda Cam. He’s such a source of joy!

Thank you for your ongoing interest in our mission to save species and your critical support—this continues to be a challenging time for all of us.

I wish you and those important to you a happy and safe Thanksgiving,

Steve Monfort
John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

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