An animated banner with twinkling lights, animal silhouettes and text that says ZooLights, powered by Pepco. Free Admission. Nov. 23-Jan. 1


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Visit the Zoo!

Always free of charge and open 364 days a year, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. Founded in 1889, the Zoo sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park and is home to 2,700 animals representing more than 390 species.

Please be aware that certain attractions, including the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel, along with animal demonstrations and outdoor animal viewing, are weather dependent.

  • During peak visitation evenings throughout ZooLights, you will be greeted upon entry by security personnel who will conduct a thorough, but speedy, check of all bags, strollers, briefcases, purses and containers and/or be hand-screened with an electronic wand. Because of the security measures, the lines for entry to the Zoo may be longer than usual. We ask for your patience, cooperation and assistance in keeping everyone safe.
  • The Bird House is closed and undergoing renovations in preparation for a new exhibit.

Today's Hours

Grounds : 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Now open late for ZooLights
Exhibit Buildings : 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Amazonia opens 10 a.m.
Dining & Shopping : 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Today's Programs

Click Here to See Full Schedule

Zoo Map

Looking for a panda, a cheetah, or perhaps a piranha? The Zoo map can help guide your Zoo adventure.

Parking & Directions

Whether taking the Metro, driving or walking, getting to the Zoo is easy! The main entrance is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. The Zoo can also be accessed by the Harvard Street Bridge or by the walking path along Beach Drive.

FAQs & Tips for Visiting the Zoo

On this page you'll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about visiting the Zoo.