About the Event

Come to the Zoo for an unforgettable cinematic experience! Introducing Summer Film Nights at the Zoo, a free outdoor summer event series set to dazzle and entertain. 

Movies will be shown on Lion-Tiger Hill, the grassy lawn located near the Harvard Street entrance to the Zoo. Select food options will be available at the event. Guests may bring in their own blankets. 

Relax under the stars with this family-friendly lineup of movies:

May 16 - Shrek (2001) 

  • Dive into the fairy-tale world of Shrek as he travels away from his beloved swamp on a quest to save Princess Fiona from the evil Lord Farquaad. 

June 20 - Turning Red (2022) 

  • Experience the magic and mayhem of Turning Red, a heartwarming tale about a thirteen year old girl who accidentally transforms into a giant red panda. 

July 18 - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) 

  • A twelve-year-old boy learns how to save his polluted town with help from The Lorax in this timeless classic about land preservation and conservation. 


Entry passes to the Zoo are required. Passes are made available one month prior to entry date.


Additional Information

Guests arriving on foot should plan to use the Harvard Street pedestrian entry gate. Standard parking rates apply.

Zoo exhibits close at 5:30 p.m. Last entry is at 8 p.m.

Event will be held rain or shine. In the event of severe weather, an announcement will be posted on the Zoo’s social media channels and website.  

Information stations will be open to the public for access to mobility devices.

Key Info


June 20 and July 18  


Entry opens at 6 p.m.

Previews and Zoo trivia starts at 6:30 p.m.

Movie begins at 7 p.m.

Admission Cost

Entry: FREE

Parking: $30 per single-family vehicle

Event Schedule

Talks and demonstrations will be held on a rolling time frame throughout the day (check the Zoo Map for details.)

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. 

Elephant Community Center

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

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.

Great Meadow (located near the Great Ape House)

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

Pollinator Garden (behind the Reptile Discovery Center)

Learn how experts from Virginia Working Landscapes use modern conservation practices to reshape the farming industry and save local wildlife.

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