Smithsonian’s National Zoo Public Opening

WHAT:          The Smithsonian’s National Zoo opens to the public. There will be two media opportunities:

Opening: Pedestrian visitors with the first timed entry passes will queue up starting at 7:40 a.m. in marked areas just inside the main pedestrian gate on Connecticut Avenue. Zoo Director Steve Monfort will welcome visitors from a safe distance. The Zoo’s two lion statues at the Connecticut Avenue entrance will have their muzzles covered with face masks.

Interview: Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, will be available for short, distanced interviews managed by Communications staff. 

WHEN:         Friday, July 24 

7 a.m.: Registered media in cars with confirmed parking spots have access to enter the Zoo from the Connecticut Avenue vehicle entrance. Media will be directed to the front gate from Parking Lot A.
7:30 a.m.: Monfort will be stationed at main pedestrian entrance gate on Connecticut Ave.
7:40 a.m.: Monfort will greet visitors as they enter the Zoo. Visitors arriving via car with parking passes are admitted into the Zoo via the Connecticut Avenue vehicle entrance.  
8 a.m.: Distanced interviews with Zoo leadership will be held in front of Zoo sign on Connecticut Avenue. 

WHERE:       Smithsonian’s National Zoo
                     3001 Connecticut Ave. NW

WHO:           Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute


RSVP: All media must RSVP. Register by providing your name, outlet, email and phone to You must be on the media RSVP list to enter the Zoo. 

LIVE SHOTS: No satellite trucks can be accommodated onsite due to new parking procedures. Any media planning on live shots must use satellite packs. Media interested in live shots should preregister and confirm with Annalisa Meyer at or (202) 904-8724. No Zoo staff will be available to interview for live shots.

CREDENTIALS: All media must wear visible credentials while onsite at the Zoo. Bring media identification and government-issued identification, such as a U.S. driver’s license. No media will be admitted to the Zoo without preregistering and the proper credentials.

INTERVIEWS: Monfort will be available for safely distanced interviews from 8 to 8:30 a.m. at the Zoo sign on Connecticut Ave.

SAFETY: While on-site, media and all visitors will be required to wear face coverings and follow all new procedures for visitors outlined here, including socially distancing and being aware of signage directing visitor flow.

PARKING: The Zoo has a limited number of parking spots that will be assigned and prioritized for television crews with gear. Parking spaces can be requested by contacting Jennifer Zoon at Only media with confirmed parking registrations will be permitted to enter early and park on-site.  Registered media in cars with confirmed parking spots have access to enter the Zoo from the Connecticut Avenue vehicle entrance; park in designated media spaces in Parking Lot A.


New Entry Requirements and Safety Measures
The Zoo has developed a detailed FAQ and central spot on its website with all necessary information on new safety measures and entry requirements.

Media Backgrounder
This document provides a high level overview of what visitors need to know before heading to the Zoo. 

Welcome Back to the Zoo Video

#NatZooZen: Highlights and Video
While the Zoo was temporarily closed to the public, our animal care team continued to provide the best care to every one of our residents. Below are links to highlights at some adorable animal antics shared on social media using #NatZooZen. Media are welcome to use any of this content which includes videos.

Select Animal Highlights

Cheetah Cub Birth, Webcam Launch and "Cubdates"
On April 8, four chirping cheetah cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The Zoo launched a new webcam to take online audiences behind-the-scenes and continues to share regular updates on the cubs using the hashtag #CheetahCubdates.

Press release on cheetah cub birth and webcam (includes b-roll of birth):
Webcam and links to latest cub news:
Cheetah updates:

American Bison Named by Howard University and Gallaudet University
B-roll of bison: 

 Press release:

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Image Gallery