Events

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Special Events

Smithsonian Solstice Saturday Logo
Solstice Saturday at the Zoo
Saturday, June 23, 2018
On June 23 the Smithsonian will mark the first Saturday of summer—Solstice Saturday—by staying open late and hosting parties, programs, and performances. In celebration, the Zoo will have extended... more
June Member Celebration Artwork
June Member Celebration
Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friends of the National Zoo members get exclusive access to American Trail and Research Hill during this free annual event.

bumper sticker montage
FONZ 60th Celebration
Saturday, June 30, 2018

On Saturday, June 30, visit the Zoo for a day full of themed enrichment (for the animals) and free treats (for our guests). Best of all, it’s open to the public.

... more

guests at brew at the zoo
Brew at the Zoo
Thursday, July 19, 2018

On July 19, enjoy great times and great brews with animal encounters, live music, fare from popular food trucks and unlimited beer tastings from more than 70 breweries.

lion tackling a giant ball
Enrichment Day
Saturday, August 25, 2018

Celebrate Enrichment Day at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Saturday, Sept. 16! Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to participate in training and enrichment activities, attend demonstrations... more

Zoo Uncorked
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Get ready for the wildest wine tasting in town at Zoo Uncorked on Sept. 13 at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. 

dancers at zoo fiesta
ZooFiesta
Sunday, September 23, 2018

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at ZooFiesta. This free, family event includes animal feedings, arts and crafts, and musical entertainment.

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Campus
Conservation Discovery Day
Saturday, October 6, 2018

Attend the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's annual festival—the one day a year that this unique research facility is open to the public!

little boy dressed as cowboy
Boo at the Zoo
Friday, October 19, 2018 to Sunday, October 21, 2018

With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, decorated trails and opportunities to learn about some seriously spooky animals, this frightfully fun evening is a magical... more

visitors dressed in costumes at Night of the Living Zoo
Night of the Living Zoo
Friday, October 26, 2018

Prepare to witness death-defying acts and amazing oddities at Friends of the National Zoo's annual adults-only Halloween party, Night of the Living Zoo.

zoolights entrance
ZooLights
Friday, November 23, 2018 to Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances and tasty winter treats.

BrewLights guests standing next to ZooLights light sculpture
BrewLights at ZooLights
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Friends of the National Zoo's hoppiest holiday event, BrewLights, a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event, will take place during ZooLights, powered by Pepco.

Past Events

a head and neck of a giraffe
FREE Lecture and Panel: Giraffes: The Silent Extinction
Monday, May 21, 2018
Giraffe populations have dwindled rapidly over the past few decades. Join a panel of experts as they discuss the efforts to save this charismatic species.
a lemur devouring a banana rather rudely
ZooFari: Dine for Wildlife
Thursday, May 17, 2018

This premier culinary event features more than 100 of Washington, D.C.'s restaurants and vintners — all in the wild setting of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. 

World Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Spread your wings for bird conservation at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! The World Migratory Bird Day festival features family friendly activities, games and demonstrations.

Close up photo of an indigo bunting, a bright-blue colored songbird
Conservation Immersion Seminar
Friday, May 11, 2018

Join leading experts at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on May 11, 2018, for an in-depth discussion on bird conservation.

colorful animal graphics
International Family Equality Day at the Zoo
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Celebrate the beauty and importance of family diversity at the Zoo with family-focused activities, from field games with prizes, to special animal enrichment demonstrations and live entertainment... more

Earth Optimism Day
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Plan ahead and on Earth Day 2018, make the Smithsonian's National Zoo your go-to place to participate in green-themed activities.

a lion and a turtle overlay antique sheet music
FREE: National Symphony Orchestra Concert at the Zoo
Sunday, April 15, 2018
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is thrilled to host members of the National Symphony Orchestra for a free, engaging musical performance for all ages on April 15.
lemur playing with a brown paper bag painted with a bunny
Easter Monday
Monday, April 2, 2018

Celebrate Easter Monday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo with family-focused activities, including special animal demonstrations, field games, live entertainment, an egg hunt and a visit from the... more

a lizard sits on a branch
FREE Film Screening: Laws of the Lizard
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Follow award-winning filmmakers to tell the surprising story of anole lizards—how they spread through Latin America and the Caribbean, conquered every possible habitat and diversified into hundreds... more
two elephants in a field
FREE Film Screening: Mind of a Giant
Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Mind of a Giant" explores what it is like to be a modern elephant surviving in a world of poachers, new human settlements and other dangers.

Small DIY terrarium kits in a green suitcase display by local D.C. company Nikdapooh
GRUMP Holiday Market
Friday, December 15, 2017 to Sunday, December 17, 2017

GRUMP, the alternative art and crafts holiday show, is coming to Zoolights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo from Dec. 15 to 17.

a graphic representation of different colored monkey silhouettes with overlay text which reads "Gala"
Monkey Business: 2017 Gala
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Calling all party animals to join fellow Zoo patrons for some Monkey Business, a non-traditional gala to benefit the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in partnership... more

A giant panda leaning over a tree branch
Zoo Happy Hours
Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun
Sept. 7 to Oct. 29
Hooray for Zoo Happy Hour! Weekdays got you down? How about a pick-me-up at the new Zoo Happy Hour. Get wild Thursday to Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Panda Overlook (a short walk from the Zoo's... more
Three people outside of an observatory looking up and pointing at the sky. They are wearing eclipse-safe glasses.
Solar Eclipse Viewing
Monday, August 21, 2017

Observe the solar eclipse at the Smithsonian's National Zoo through a safe solar telescope and free safe eclipse glasses provided by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

A graphic image of a sun with the words day at the beach (drive)
Beach Drive Block Party
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Celebrate the brand new Beach Drive!
Giant panda Bao Bao eats a piece of bamboo outside in the snow
Bye Bye, Bao Bao
Thursday, February 16, 2017 to Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Join the Zoo for a series of online and on-site celebratory events to bid a fond farewell to giant panda Bao Bao before she begins the next chapter of her life in China.

Couple standing in front of tree with lights
Date Night at ZooLights
Thursday, December 8, 2016

On Thursday, Dec. 8, ZooLights amps up the romance for couples, featuring an exclusive date night giveaway and holiday carolers at the Great Meadow.

sculpture of a great white shark made from recycled plastic
Washed Ashore

The "Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea" exhibit has ended.

Giant panda Bao Bao climbing her birthday ice cake
Giant Panda Birthday Celebration

Come celebrate the birthdays of giant pandas Bao Bao, Bei Bei, and Tian Tian. Visitors can watch as the giant pandas devour frozen birthday "cakes" and see animal demonstrations.

Zoo Sleepovers

two sleepy looking adult lions

Imagine falling asleep to the sounds of the howling wolves or being awakened by the bark of the sea lions at play. Come spend the night at the Smithsonian's National Zoo!

Lion and cub
Spend a wild night at the Smithsonian's National Zoo this summer! Snore and Roar overnights for families, adults and scouts go on sale March 27 at 10 a.m.!