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The Smithsonian's National Zoo makes every effort to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Wheelchairs and electronic vehicles are available to rent at the Information Stations at the Visitor Center, Panda Plaza and across from the Mane Grill. All Zoo exhibits are wheelchair-accessible. However, please be aware that the Zoo is located on hilly terrain in Rock Creek Park. In the Visitor Center lobby, a lift gives wheelchair users access to restrooms, water fountains, the Asia Trail shop and the "How Do You Zoo?" area. Restrooms located along Olmsted Walk are also accessible. 

If you need any assistance, please ask at any Information Station or parking booth. For more information for visitors with disabilities to the Zoo, please call the Guest Services Office at 202-633-4480. 

Wheelchair and Electronic Vehicle Rental

Wheelchairs and electronic vehicles are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wheelchair: Free
Electronic Vehicle: Members: $25 | Non-member: $30

Manual wheelchairs are available from the Visitor Center Information Desk (near Parking Lot A) and the Information Stations at Panda Plaza (Parking Lots A/B) and Lion/Tiger Hill (Parking Lot D). There is no charge for non-motorized wheelchairs.

Electronic convenience vehicles are available for rent at the Visitor Center Information Desk and the Information Stations at Panda Plaza and Lion/Tiger Hill.  A state-issued driver's license is required to rent and operate an electronic convenience vehicle.

Parking and Entrances

Designated accessible parking spaces are located in Parking Lots A/B/D/E on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guest Shuttle Service

The Zoo operates a guest shuttle that runs on a continuous loop from the Bus Parking Lot to the lower entrance of the Zoo and back. The shuttle takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete the loop and does not stop at Parking Lot C. 

Shuttle Hours: Summer: 11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Winter: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Access services for guided tours, including sign language interpretation, hearing assistance devices and tactile tours with verbal description, are available by request. Please visit the Tours page and use the online contact form (indicate tactile tour, hearing assistance device or sign-language interpreter in the message field) or call 202-633-3056 to request accessibility services.

Social Narratives

Social narratives are resource guides for individuals with cognitive disabilities and are useful as pre-visit guides to animal areas within the park. The social narratives highlight what visitors may encounter while touring the Smithsonian's National Zoo. In addition to showcasing animals in the collection, these guides also provide information on quiet areas, educational demonstrations, hands-on activities and artistic works. To view and download the Zoo's social narratives, click here.

Service Dogs

Service dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities are welcome at the Zoo.

Website Accessibility

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is committed to making its information and communication technologies accessible to individuals with disabilities. To meet this commitment, our web pages have been designed to meet or exceed the Section 508 standards and to conform to the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. 

If you have feedback or concerns related to the accessibility of any content on this website, or have ideas or comments that would help us improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please contact the Office of Communications at 202-633-3055. If applicable, please include the web address or URL and the specific problems you have encountered.