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

Events

See What's Happening at the Zoo
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Upcoming Events

The entrance to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Zoolights event with trees lit up in red, green, yellow and blue and a lit sign that says "Zoolights"
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.
A large owl with its wings spread perches on a girl's gloved hand, while a bird expert helps
Birds in Flight
Dec. 15 & 22
Four Saturdays only! Get an up-close look at exotic birds as they soar overhead and exhibit natural behaviors in this FREE, limited-run show.

Zoo Sleepovers

two sleepy looking adult lions

Come spend the night at the Smithsonian's National Zoo!  Spaces are still available for our adults-only overnights featuring the Elephant Community Center, American Trail, Cheetah Conservation... more

Lion and cub
Spend a wild night at the Smithsonian's National Zoo this summer!

Past Events

Small DIY terrarium kits in a green suitcase display by local D.C. company Nikdapooh
GRUMP Holiday Market
Friday, December 7, 2018 to Sunday, December 9, 2018
GRUMP, the alternative art and crafts holiday show, is coming to ZooLights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo from Dec. 7 to 9.
BrewLights guests standing in front of elephant sculpture with lights
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.
Bornean orangutans Batang and Redd share a treat at Think Tank.
Power Demo Days
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
During Power Demo Days, keepers host extra demonstrations and enrichment activities that highlight specific animals.
night of the living zoo artwork
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, sponsored by Groupon.
An illustration of an owl saying, "Whoo," and a ghost saying, "Boo" with the text "Boo at the Zoo, sponsored by the Mars Wrigley Confectionary"
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 time for the whole... more
Nerd Nite DC logo: a cat riding a Washington monument rocket ship
Nerd Nite DC at the Zoo
Saturday, October 13, 2018
The Zoo is hosting Nerd Nite DC for an animal-themed evening of creative presentations and libations! Don't miss the chance to explore the comedic side of science. Nerd Nite is a 21+ event.
A researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute points to a scientific poster and talks to students about her work
Conservation Discovery Day
Saturday, October 6, 2018
SOLD OUT! Attend the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's annual festival—the one day a year that this unique research facility is open to the public!
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.
Corks on corkscrews with the word "Uncorked" and text above that reads "A wine tasting event: September 13, 2018"
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. 
The fast and the fierce animal artwork logo superimposed on background photo of runners
The Fast & the Fierce 5K
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Head to Freedom Plaza for The Fast & the Fierce 5K and fun run. Then, make your way to the Zoo for an after-party on the Great Meadow!
lion tackling a giant ball
Enrichment Day
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Celebrate Enrichment Day at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Saturday, Aug. 25! Zoo visitors will have the opportunity to participate in training and enrichment activities, attend demonstrations and... more
A graphic with various sheet music and the national symphony orchestra in your neighborhood kennedy center lgoo
FREE: Outdoor Concert at the Zoo
Thursday, July 26, 2018
On July 26, attend a free, outdoor concert at the Zoo featuring student musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute.
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.
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. Celebrate with Us
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.
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
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.
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.
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 with... 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.