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Fall 2019 Events at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

  • A large owl with its wings spread perches on a girl's gloved hand, while a bird expert helps
  • The fast and the fierce animal artwork logo superimposed on background photo of runners
  • dancers at zoo fiesta
  • A researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute points to a scientific poster and talks to students about her work
  • A woman holding an umbrella decorated to look like a jellyfish walks down a path at the Smithsonian's National Zoo during the Boo at the Zoo event
  • two-toed sloth clinging to a tree branch
  • A group of six women dressed up in Halloween costumes and face paint pose for a photo at Night of the Living Zoo
  • Bornean orangutan Redd at the Smithsonian's National Zoo
  • The main entrance to ZooLights at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, featuring trees wrapped in holiday lights, light-up pandas and a lit sign that says "ZooLights"
  • closeup of face of large cat with tan fur and black spots

Listed below are events being held at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo from September through December.

What:            

Wildlife Migration Day

When:            

Saturday, September 7

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Experience the phenomenon of migration at Smithsonian's National Zoo’s Wildlife Migration Day Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free event features fun, hands-on activities for kids of all ages, as well as live Caribbean calypso music, bird banding demonstrations and opportunities to talk to scientists who study wildlife migration. Learn about the animals that make incredible journeys and some of the challenges they face along the way. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.

What:            

Birds in Flight

When:            

September 7, 8, 14 and 15

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Get an up-close look at exotic birds as they soar overhead and exhibit natural behaviors in this limited-run show at Smithsonian's National Zoo. On Sept. 7, 8, 14 and 15, join renowned bird behaviorist Phung Luu and his flock of exotic birds for demonstrations, photo opportunities and hand-feedings. Birds in this program may include owls, buzzards, falcons, macaws, cockatoos, ravens and more! Birds in Flight takes place on the lawn across from the Mane Grill from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Ticketed Event: Zoo Uncorked

When:            

Thursday, September 12

6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Get ready for the wildest wine tasting in town: Zoo Uncorked, sponsored by Total Wine & More. On Sept. 12, raise your glass for conservation and enjoy wine tastings from local and national wineries and vineyards in the beautiful setting of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Every wine at Zoo Uncorked comes with a rating of 90 or above. Throughout the evening, guests will enjoy unlimited wine tastings, live music and entertainment, an African penguin encounter, and after-hours access to Zoo’s Great Cats, Think Tank and Kids’ Farm exhibits.

Tickets are $55 for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members and $70 for non-members. Parking passes are sold separately and are $15 for FONZ members and $25 for non-members. Throughout the evening, free Big Bus Tours will transport guests from the Woodley Park Metro Station to the Panda Plaza Bus Lot on a continuous loop from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Guests must be at least 21 years old and present a valid photo ID. This event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) is hosting “The Fast & the Fierce 5K, sponsored by Aegis Project Controls.”

When:            

Saturday, Sept. 14

8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Where:          

Freedom Plaza

14th Street/Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Join Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) at Freedom Plaza Saturday, Sept. 14 for the second annual The Fast & the Fierce 5K, sponsored by Aegis Project Controls. All funds raised by participants will directly support Smithsonian scientists studying nutrition of wild black rhinos—a critically endangered species. The registration fee is $40 for both Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members and non-members of all ages and $18 for pets. This event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Free event: “ZooFiesta”

When:            

Saturday, September 21

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Visitors can join the Smithsonian-wide Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at “ZooFiesta: Un día de diversión animal para toda la familia,” Saturday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a variety of fun-filled family activities, including live music and educational activities about conservation in Central and South America. Animal keepers will host talks, feedings and demonstrations highlighting a variety of animals native to the region, including Andean bears, armadillos, golden lion tamarins and more. Visitors have an opportunity to meet Zoo scientists who are working to save native species and learn about their research. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Ticketed event: “Conservation Discovery Day”

When:

Saturday, October 5

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Institute

1500 Remount Rd

Front Royal, VA

See website for directions.

Designed for sixth-graders to under-grads, Conservation Discovery Day at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute includes hands-on activities, research demonstrations and TED-style presentations on hot topics in conservation. Career panel discussions with conservation biologists, field ecologists, research scientists, veterinarians and animal keepers will open doors and minds to the professional possibilities within the conservation field. Oct. 5 is the one day this one-of-a-kind research facility located in scenic Front Royal, Virginia, is open to the public.

New this year, visitors will park at Skyline High School and take a shuttle bus to SCBI. Each visitor must purchase an $8 pass in advance online to ride the shuttle. No car passes are required to park at the high school. Groups planning to arrive via bus can call 202-633-3045 for parking information. Handicap accessible parking is available on-site at SCBI free of charge. A handicap accessible placard or license plate is required. This event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Ticketed event: “Boo at the Zoo

When:            

Friday, October 18 to Sunday, October 20

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Trick or treating has gone wild at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s annual Halloween celebration: Boo at the Zoo, sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery. This not-so-spooky event, which takes place Oct. 18, 19 and 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., invites visitors to enjoy the Zoo’s festive decorations as they trick-or-treat among 40 stations brimming with tasty goodies. New this year, ghouls and goblins are invited to “boo-gie” at a family-friendly dance party and liven up the atmosphere with some frightfully fun karaoke tunes. Be on the lookout for special Zoo animal encounters throughout the party, as well as meet-and-greets with Frankenpanda and Count Pandula. Guests can enjoy after-hours access to animal houses and exhibits, including Elephant Community Center, Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, Great Cats and Kids’ Farm.   

Tickets go on sale Thursday, Sept. 12 and are $20 for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members and $30 for non-members. Only guests with a parking pass will be permitted to enter the Zoo’s Connecticut Ave. entrance with their vehicle. This event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Free event: Sloth Day                    

When:            

Sunday, October 20

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Celebrate life in the slow lane at Smithsonian's National Zoo’s sloth-themed Animal Discovery Day, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Small Mammal House. Visitors will have an opportunity to see a southern two-toed sloth up close during special demonstrations, explore sloth-related artifacts, take part in family-friendly activities and learn how they can help save these charming critters in the wild. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Ticketed event: “Night of the Living Zoo”                   

When:            

Friday, October 25

7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

A dark carnival is arriving at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Oct. 25 for Friends of the National Zoo’s (FONZ) annual adults-only Halloween party, Night of the Living Zoo. From 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., ghoulish guests will enjoy a wicked night of fun, including a spooktacular costume contest, amazing oddities, performance artists, a DJ dance party, craft beer and fare from popular D.C. food trucks.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, Sept. 19 and are $30 for FONZ members and $40 for non-members. Parking passes are sold separately and are $15 for FONZ members and $25 for non-members. Only guests with a parking pass will be permitted to enter the Zoo’s Connecticut Ave. entrance with their vehicle. Throughout the evening, free Big Bus Tours will transport guests from the Woodley Park Metro Station to the Panda Plaza Bus Lot on a continuous loop from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Guests must be at least 21 years old and present a valid photo ID. This event will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Free event: Orangutan Caring Day                     

When:            

Thursday, November 14

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Hang out at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Great Ape House and Think Tank exhibits Nov. 14 in honor of Orangutan Caring Day. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors can watch orangutans enjoy special enrichment items, speak with keepers about what it takes to care for these great apes, and take part in family-friendly games and activities. Zoo staff will also share tips on how visitors can support orangutan conservation efforts in the wild. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Free event: ZooLights               

When:            

Nov. 29 through Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31)

5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Join the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in celebrating the holidays with its annual free lights festival: ZooLights, powered by Pepco. The Zoo will be illuminated for 31 nights — from Nov. 29 through Jan. 1, 2019 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Over half-a-million brightly colored environmentally friendly LED lights and animal-shaped displays will transform the Zoo’s trees, walkways and buildings into a dynamic and colorful winter wonderland.

ZooLights is hosting its third-annual GRUMP holiday market — a European-style outdoor market featuring the work of local artisans. The market features unique gifts for all ages, from handmade clothing and accessories to artwork, handcrafted toys and sweet treats. GRUMP will be located at the Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue entrance Dec. 6, 7 and 8 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

ZooLights is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.


What:            

Free event: International Cheetah Day           

When:

Wednesday, December 4

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where:          

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo is spotlighting a charismatic and charming cat Dec. 4: the cheetah! Celebrate International Cheetah Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cheetah Conservation Station, featuring special animal demonstrations and family-friendly activities. Visitors can learn about the fastest animal on four paws from Zoo researchers and chat with keepers about what it takes to care for these cats. The Zoo’s three male cheetahs—Justin, Donnie and Copley—will receive special enrichment throughout the event. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, visit the Zoo’s website.

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