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Special Events

zoolights entrance
Friday, November 24, 2017 to Monday, January 1, 2018

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.

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.

Past Events

BrewLights guests standing next to ZooLights light sculpture
BrewLights at ZooLights
Thursday, November 30, 2017

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.

visitors dressed in costumes at Night of the Living Zoo
Night of the Living Zoo
Friday, October 27, 2017

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.

little boy dressed as cowboy
Boo at the Zoo
Friday, October 20, 2017 to Sunday, October 22, 2017

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

An Asian elephant standing in the grass in front of a building
Conservation Immersion Seminar
Friday, October 13, 2017

Join leading experts at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Oct. 13 for an in-depth discussion on Asian elephant conservation and welfare efforts.

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Campus
Conservation Discovery Day
Saturday, October 7, 2017

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

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

dancers at zoo fiesta
Sunday, September 24, 2017

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

lion tackling a giant ball
Enrichment Day
Saturday, September 16, 2017

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

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
cork with the words zoo uncorked stamped on it
Zoo Uncorked
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Get ready for the wildest wine tasting in town at Zoo Uncorked (formerly Grapes with the Apes) on Sept. 7 at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. 

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!
guests at brew at the zoo
Brew at the Zoo
Thursday, July 20, 2017

On July 20, 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. Tickets on sale now!

June Member Celebration Artwork
June Member Celebration
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Join FONZ at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on Saturday, June 24 for the June Member Celebration where members and their families get special access to exclusive animal demonstrations and a behind... more

ZooFari event artwork
ZooFari: Dine for Wildlife
Thursday, May 18, 2017

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. Tickets on sale now!

common yellowthroat: a small migratory bird with a dark mask by Gregory Gough
International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 6, 2017

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

boy reaching to put his fingers in a cup of dirt
Earth Optimism Day
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Plan ahead and on Earth Day 2017, make the Smithsonian's National Zoo your go-to place to participate in green-themed activities.

lemur playing with a brown paper bag painted with a bunny
Easter Monday
Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrate Easter Monday on April 17 at the Smithsonian's National Zoo with family-focused activities, including special animal demonstrations, field games, live entertainment, an egg hunt and a... more

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
Imagine falling asleep to the sound of howling wolves or being awakened by the bark of sea lions at play. Book an American Trail, Small Mammal House or Reptile Discovery Center sleepover today!