About the Event

It’s no trick, only the sweetest treat: Boo at the Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s beloved family-friendly Halloween event, sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery, is back Oct. 20, 21 and 22 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Guests can feast their eyes on spellbinding habitats decorated with Jack-O-Lanterns, spooky enrichment and tasty treats for the animals. Fiendishly fun vignettes featuring frolicking skeletons and fantastical creatures liven up the Zoo’s main pathway, Olmsted Walk.

Tickets include special after-hours access for animal viewing at the Elephant Community Center, Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, a souvenir tote bag and around 30 trick-or-treat stations around the Zoo.

When

October 20-22, 2023

Times

6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m 
(Last admittance is 8 p.m.) 

Pricing

$25 (for Smithsonian National Zoo Members)

$35 (for non-members)

Event Schedule

Think Tank

Discover how conservation techniques are saving lives at field sites deep in the Amazon rainforest. Plus, play a game to learn the science of how zoo researchers care for animals at the population level.

Elephant Community Center

Kids can play educational games while adults find out how conservation ecology and genetic science are being used by scientists to save animal species all over the world.

Amazonia

Discover how Smithsonian scientists are using cutting-edge conservation science to save wildlife in their native habitats and promote animal health and nutrition at the Zoo.

Bird House

Watch a wild bird banding demonstration, learn about wildlife tracking technology, sample bird-friendly coffee and discover how to seek out birds in your backyard. Plus, learn how experts from Virginia Working Landscapes use modern conservation practices to reshape the farming industry and save local wildlife.

Auditorium (inside the Visitor Center)

Join Smithsonian scientists for live demonstrations of cryopreservation techniques! Watch as scientists freeze and rethaw genetic samples, a critically important technique used to bolster populations of threatened species.

Also, a rotating list of short films highlighting Smithsonian scientists’ conservation work will be screened throughout the day.

A rotating list of short films highlight Smithsonian scientists’ conservation work around the world.

All films will be shown in the auditorium of the Visitors Center (check the Zoo Map for details.)

10:00 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.

  • How the black-footed ferret is making a comeback from the brink of extinction | PBS Newshour

10:15 a.m. - 10:31 a.m.

  • Frogs Are Going Extinct – Here's How We Can Save Them | WILD HOPE

10:36 a.m. - 10:46 a.m.

  • Spawning Hope

10:51 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

  • LIVE - Cryopreservation Demonstration (not a movie)

11:35 a.m. - noon

  • Reconnecta

12:05 p.m. - 12:20 p.m.

  •  Café Y Aves

12:25 p.m. - 12:41 p.m.

  • The Return of Swift Fox

12:46 p.m. - 12:52 p.m.

  • Tracking Elephants

12:57 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

  • Grass Roots | Virginia Working Landscapes

1:15 p.m. - 1:25 p.m. 

  • How the black-footed ferret is making a comeback from the brink of extinction | PBS Newshour

1:30 p.m. - 1:46 p.m.

  • Frogs Are Going Extinct – Here's How We Can Save Them | WILD HOPE

1:51 p.m. - 2:01 p.m.

  • Spawning Hope

2:01 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.

  • LIVE - Cryopreservation Demonstration (not a movie)

2:45 p.m. - 3:10 p.m. 

  • Reconnecta

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

  • Café Y Aves

3:35 p.m. - 3:51 p.m.

  • The Return of Swift Fox

3:56 p.m. - 4:02 p.m.

  • Tracking Elephants