Parking & Directions

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is located in the heart of northwest Washington, D.C. and spans 163 acres. There are two pedestrian entrances and one vehicular entrance.


There are two public entrances to the Zoo:

Please note that access to the Zoo via Beach Drive is not permitted.

Buses are only permitted to unload or load inside the Zoo with a Bus Parking Pass or a Bus Drop-Off Pass.  See the Group Entry Page for information on how to reserve bus passes.

Bus idling on Connecticut Avenue is not permitted. Violators are subject to fines by the Metropolitan Police Department. 


Group Parking

Buses may only unload or load inside the Zoo if they have a parking reservation. Learn more about bus reservations on the Group Entry page fore more information.

'Zoo Loop' in Rock Creek Park

A ½ mile section of paved recreational trail in Rock Creek Park known as the ‘Zoo Loop’ extends along the southeast edge of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo property near the Duke Ellington Bridge.

  • Please note: the Zoo Loop is available during the Zoo's operating hours, closing one hour before the Zoo closes for the day. Details are posted at signs located at both entrances of the loop.  The Zoo Loop may be closed without advance notice in the event of an emergency, inclement weather or as determined by Zoo management.

Transportation Options

Walk, Bike or Taxi

illustration of person walking

Requires FREE Daily Entry Pass

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Two entrances are currently open to pedestrians: the main entrance at 3001 Connecticut Ave, NW, and the Harvard Street Bridge entrance. 

Helpful Tips

  • The Rock Creek Park bike path through the Zoo is open up to an hour before the Zoo closes for the day. There is no admittance to the Zoo from this bike path.
  • 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. Check their website for locations and availability of rentals. 

Public Transportation

illustration of Metro sign

Requires FREE Daily Entry Pass

Both Metro Bus and Metro Rail have stops within walking distance of the Zoo's main pedestrian entrance at 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW.

Helpful Tips

  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Trip Planner is a great tool to use.
  • 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.

Driving and Parking

illustration of a car

Requires Paid Parking Pass

If you plan to drive and park at the Zoo, you must reserve a Paid Parking Pass online before your visit. Parking is available for a flat rate of $30, and spaces are extremely limited. All cars must enter through the main vehicle entrance at 3001 Connecticut Ave, NW

Helpful Tips

  • Vehicle must fit in standard parking space
  • Members: Log in to access you Free Parking Pass(es)*
  • For information about buses and group reservations, see the Group Entry page.