Smithsonian National Zoological Park

The Visiting Info shown below, if any, is always subject to change. Please check the facility's website for the latest information before making a trip.

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Facility:Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Description:163-acre zoological park set amid Rock Creek National Park in the heart of Washington, D.C. You can visit the Zoo 364 days a year to see 2,000 individual animals of 400 different species. Come explore the Zoo and help us celebrate, study, and protect the diversity of animals and their habitats.
Address 1:3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Address 2:
Zip Code:20008
V I S I T I N G   I N F O
Hours:March 15-October 31: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
November 1-March 14: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Telephone:(202) 633-3027
Website:Visit Website
Mary Beth, Co-op Member
We have been visiting this zoo as a field trip while residents of the DC area and for many years on frequent trips as out of towners. It still stands among our favorite zoos in the world.
First of all, it is very well laid out to plan a short, medium or long day at the zoo. The map is clear and there are easy ways to create a personalized "loop" for your family. That may be helpful if you have young kids, a kid who has particular favorite animals, or the crowds in one section are just getting to you. There are days in which it is quite crowded.
The reptile house and orangutan houses are spectacular as are the other specialty exhibits. This is a downtown zoo so one must be prepared that it is not a vast nature preserve. The animals have mostly outside time but are occasionally in some roomy but inside houses (that do smell of ANIMALS).
For years I did not like the Panda area because it was hard to see past the crowds but it seems to flow better now.
There are beautiful grassy hills on which to bring your own lunch and have a picnic.
The educational aspect has been improving from year to year. The signs and explanations have been getting much better and I think are now among the best of the zoos we have visited.
It is free and easily accessible without a car (in fact, it is hard to get parking if you are not a Friend of the National Zoo)by metro. It is open in all weather and is a great national treasure.
Melissa D., Co-op Member
My children (ages 7 and 2) love visiting the National Zoo. There is a lot of walking, especially if you ride the Metro like we did. We usually only spend the day on half of the zoo, because it is so large.

If you can handle the walking, it is a lot of fun. My kids love the Small Mammal house where we can always find some critters scurrying about to watch. My kids liked the Kid's Farm. The pandas are great too.

If you are looking for something cheap, this is a great field trip. The zoo is free to get in (parking is expensive) and they allow you to bring in food/drinks. When we went I brought us a lunch and snacks, so all we paid for was our Metro fare.
Melissa Smith, Co-op Member
The National Zoo is a great place to visit. There are a good variety of animals and it is easy to enjoy the entire zoo in one day. Parking is expensive, but if you have a larger family, it may actually be the same cost or more to use the metro. We have 5 children and like to bring a large stroller to use at the zoo, so parking is much more convenient and about the same price as the metro for us. Be sure to get there early, though, if you want to get a parking space!
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