Share this page:

Parking & Directions

3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is located in the heart of northwest Washington, D.C. and spans 163 acres. There are several entrances to the Zoo and all are pedestrian and vehicle-friendly.

PLEASE NOTE: The Beach Drive entrance to the Zoo will be closed Sept. 18 through Summer 2017 as part of the National Park Service's Beach Drive rehabilitation project. The bike path will remain open.

Zoo visitors are encouraged to avoid Rock Creek Parkway and use the Harvard Street NW entrance, or the Connecticut Avenue NW entrance. Detailed maps and detour information can be found on the NPS website. Commuters and visitors can also call 202-895-6232 for road closure information.


The best way to get to the Zoo is by public transportation. Both Metro Bus and Metro Rail have stops within walking distance of the Zoo. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATATrip Planner is a great tool to use. 

Helpful Tips

  • While equidistant from both Metro stops, the walk is uphill from the Woodley Park stop and flat from the Cleveland Park stop.
  • Always check the WMATA website for route changes, delays, and escalator or elevator outages.
  • The L1 and L2 buses stop in front of the Zoo's main entrance on Connecticut Avenue.

Parking is available at the Zoo for a flat fee of $22 or free with some FONZ membership levels. Parking is extremely limited at the Zoo and lots fill early during the spring and summer months. Street parking can be difficult to find.

Reserved parking at or near the Zoo can be purchased ahead of time through Parking Panda.

parking panda logo

Click to Reserve Your Parking

Please note: You will leave the Smithsonian's National Zoo website when you click the link above. Parking Panda is a third-party contractor. Read Parking Panda's privacy policy.

Riding bikes, scooters, skateboards and the like is prohibited on all pedestrian walkways at the Zoo. While in the Zoo, you must park or walk or carry your bike, scooter, skateboard, etc. The Rock Creek bike trail leading into the Zoo is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., year round. For a full map of the trail, see the National Park Service website.

Helpful Tips

  •  Bike racks are located near the Visitor Center and at Lion-Tiger Hill. Check out the Zoo map
  • Capital Bikeshare has several stations for rental bikes near the Zoo. Please check their website for locations and availability of rentals. 

Commercial Buses

There is limited parking on Zoo grounds for commercial buses. Commercial bus parking can only be purchased through Parking Panda. After accessing Parking Panda, reservations can be made by selecting the lot titled "Bus Parking." Please note that these limited reservations are only available Monday through Wednesday, and must be reserved at least one day in advance. However, drop off and pick up by commercial buses is conveniently located at the Bus Lot by Panda Pavilion, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (5 p.m. closing November through March).

School Buses

Reserved parking for school buses is located in Parking Lot E only. For inquiries regarding school bus parking availability, or to make a reservation, submit the following form or call 202-633-4964.

Please note:

  • All school bus parking reservation requests must be submitted a minimum of 48 hours in advance, but it is recommended to book at least two months in advance to increase your chances of having your request accepted.
  • School bus parking and reservations are free, but there is limited space available Monday through Wednesday. There is no bus parking available on other days of the week. 
  • Requests will be filled in order, based on date and time of request sent.
  • There will be no bus parking for the first three weeks of April, (4/7/17 - 4/23/17).
  • Once your reservation has been confirmed, a code will be sent to the point of contact for you to display in the bus window the day of your visit.