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Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

National Zoological Park, Washington
  • Stars
  • Tips
    Christopher L.
    "The black bean burger at the Lion's Mane restaurant is very good."(16 Tips)
    Dana V.
    "Great place for a walk because it’s free admission as well."(13 Tips)
    "you’ll find features such as the Giant Panda Habitat"(10 Tips)
    Jon M.
    "... 'O Line', watch the Orangutans as they 'commute' from home to work above..."(8 Tips)
Tips and Reviews icon313 Tips and reviews
  • lions
  • zoos
  • free admission
  • trails
  • orangutans
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  • Black Family Reunions
    Black Family ReunionsMarch 27, 2016
    This zoo makes for a great afternoon with its unusual selection of animals. The zoo was constructed in a very hilly park, so prepare for a challenging walk through it. Great fun for kids!
    Upvoted 1 week ago
  • Clarissa L.heart icon on user image
    Clarissa LoosFebruary 8, 2015
    The zoo is awesome! There are indoor and outdoor exhibits. The indoor ones close at 4:30 in the winter. Admission free, and we paid 22 dollars for parking. We made it through the zoo in about 4 hours.
    Upvoted 3 weeks ago
  • Mark P.heart icon on user image
    Mark PhillipsNovember 24, 2012
    Been here 100+ times
    ZooLights 2012 ... 500,000 lights, train rides, Santa Paws dancing in a giant, snow globe, an 8-foot LEGO model of the Smithsonian Castle, zoo tubing, glow sticks, hot cider and kettle corn. Yes!
  • Briana B.heart icon on user image
    Briana BaileyFebruary 26, 2017
    I couldn't believe he zoo was free! We were amazed and delighted. Loved the sea lion tank and seeing them from the underwater glass view. Lions, elephants, apes, zebras, beavers, birds, reptiles etc.!
  • Richard R.heart icon on user image
    Richard RevillaAugust 14, 2017
    Zoo is free parking is not. Street parking can be found. Great to spend the afternoon with the kids but rather hilly.
  • Megan L.
    Megan LillyAugust 15, 2019
    From Bei Bei the panda to Moke the gorilla to Redd the orangoutang-- there is no shortness of CUTE at the zoo! Admission is free, so come for a walk in the morning when the animals are most active.
  • Rachel P.heart icon on user image
    Rachel PlaterJune 24, 2013
    If you have a toddler, bring the stroller. This zoo is twice the size of the one in Baltimore. Great place for kids and adults..if you want to save some money car pool...0-3 hrs is $16 for parking...
  • Eliza W.heart icon on user image
    Eliza WeeksDecember 27, 2017
    We had a blast bringing in the holiday season with lights and festivities! This was a fabulous FREE event. Fun winter themed snacks were overly expensive, but the rides were priced perfectly.
  • Richard E.heart icon on user image
    Richard EfthimApril 21, 2015
    Pandas are the highlight, but the ape house, the cheetahs, ate also pretty cool. Be prepared for walking as the zoo is located on a hill. Best to try to park at the bottom of the hill.
  • Eliza W.heart icon on user image
    Eliza WeeksSeptember 6, 2016
    Beautiful day! Not as crowded as I had expected. Bathrooms were clean and the animals all fairly active which was good. The Zoo map though is much to be desired. Great day with the kids overall!
  • Benjamin D.heart icon on user image
    Benjamin DoyleJune 10, 2015
    Giant Zoo, easy to get lost without GPS, nothing beats free. even after it closes you can get in to some of the exhibits still. reptile exhibit smells like shit and elephant house is awesome
  • The Ritz-Carlton
    The Ritz-CarltonDecember 12, 2016
    Discover why the National Zoo is even more fun during holiday season with Zoolights. The annual event is free of charge and includes live music, winter treats, and more than 500,000 festive lights.
  • Markus T.heart icon on user image
    Markus TarjamoNovember 13, 2015
    Been here 10+ times
    One of the best zoos in the US. Free admission, very photogenic, and a lot to see! A fun activity on any day
  • Tom M.heart icon on user image
    Tom MilsonApril 5, 2016
    Incredible zoo, such an inspirational and remarkable place. We're so lucky to have the Smithsonian institute to preserve and protect some of our most endangered species.
  • Dora
    DoraJuly 21, 2010
    You've heard about the giant pandas, but did you know there are kid play areas by the farm animal and ground hog exhibits? Powered by
  • Avinash L.heart icon on user image
    Avinash LokanathAugust 25, 2015
    Amazing zoo with all the animals and birds which is very well maintained and you need a while day to see everything :)
  • Ami H.
    Ami H.October 30, 2023
    Say goodbye to the pandas, Tian Tian (26), babymama Mei Xiang (25), and their 3-year-old Xiao Qi Ji are leaving for the China Wildlife Conservation Association earlier than planned, by mid-November 23
  • Washington Post
    Washington PostSeptember 12, 2013
    The latest baby panda at the National Zoo was born Aug. 23, 2013. It's a girl born to Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. Washington pandarazzi will have to wait four months for an in-person look at the cub. Read more
  • william v.
    william verondaApril 2, 2016
    Woodley Park is the official Metro stop, but Cleveland Park, the next outbound station, is an easier downhill walk. Also, many restaurants in station area.
  • Tia D.heart icon on user image
    Tia DingleSeptember 22, 2018
    I love taking my kids to this zoo because it is a Day full of fun looking animals and spending time my family. Plus the zoo is huge and free
  • Liz P.heart icon on user image
    Liz PomperJune 15, 2013
    Been here 50+ times
    The food stand near seals and sea lions has sustainable seafood and healthy snacks (fruit cups and frozen grapes). Just had a fantastic smoked tofu roll with pickled fennel.
  • Janaheart icon on user image
    JanaOctober 26, 2018
    Short walking distances between different exhibits. Nice for a walk in the late afternoon, when it is less crowded.
  • Erin R.heart icon on user image
    Erin RathMay 26, 2016
    Love love love this zoo! Plan for lots of walking, and on some steep hills, particularly if you take the metro -- the most sensible way to go, since parking is 20+.
  • Caitlin L.heart icon on user image
    Caitlin LawlerMay 5, 2015
    A fun and free activity, perfect for a date. A great zoo with lots of animals, but set up so there's lots of walking to see everything
  • Gillian D.heart icon on user image
    Gillian DieboldJune 9, 2019
    Go for a few hours just for the Asia Trail to see the zoos biggest attraction
  • Allicat22 W.heart icon on user image
    Allicat22 WAugust 25, 2017
    Parking is $22 per car and a decent walk, often no parking. If you can get here another way for less than that, might be worth it. Very nice zoo!
  • Harjitheart icon on user image
    HarjitApril 24, 2013
    We started with the Asia path and it took us a while before we could locate an animal. I've been to many zoos and this one falls short on animals and the ability to view them.
  • Elisa
    ElisaMarch 30
    No more pandas. It’s a free zoo but you should still register for online tickets. Good for families as it is very spacious with lots of animals to see
  • Katheart icon on user image
    KatFebruary 4, 2022
    Terrific place to see all kinds of animals, and the giant pandas are the best!
  • Will S.heart icon on user image
    Will ShafferOctober 7, 2018
    Must arrive well before 1000 actually opens at 0800 unlike rest of Smthsonian
    DHR.comSeptember 9, 2011
    Simply known as the National Zoo, this is one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. Here, you’ll find features such as the Giant Panda Habitat, Great Ape House, and Lion/Tiger Hill. The best part? It’s free!
  • Dae J.
    Dae JeongAugust 27, 2013
    The zoo is one big hill, so don't park near the entrance, but drive to Lot D on the other side. This way you start exploring going uphill and then the walk back to the car will be a nice downhill.
  • Danielle D.
    Danielle DaSilvaJuly 13, 2018
    Lions, and Tigers, and Pandas, OH MY! Don't forget, admission is FREE for everyone, every day. Great opportunity to pop in and out as needed.
  • Lizzie H.heart icon on user image
    Lizzie HatfieldMarch 25, 2016
    Check out the world famous pandas, Asian elephants, Andean bears, and sea lions! All for free! Avoid during school holidays and weekends if you can.
  • Denise D.
    Denise DuttonFebruary 26, 2014
    Psst - the best place to kick back and watch the pandas is along the overlook at, naturally, the Panda Overlook Café. Don't tell anybody.
  • Elizabethheart icon on user image
    ElizabethJune 23, 2015
    Not many food options once you get inside and there is lots of ground to cover. Pack a lunch (or pick one up) and find one of the many shady spits to enjoy it mid-visit.
  • Ellen S.
    Ellen S. P.August 10, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Go visit Rusty the red panda instead of the giant pandas nearby. Rusty will be doing tricks and practically tap dance for you while the giant pandas sleep in the corner.
  • Josh H.heart icon on user image
    Josh HigginsOctober 3, 2015
    Great zoo, but go when the weather is not too hot or cold. You don't see as many animals out during extreme temperatures.
  • Maria B.heart icon on user image
    Maria BJanuary 1, 2015
    The zoo is so huge and awesome! Lots of animals and exhibits. Make sure u come without a car though, parking os 35$+ 🐺🐼🐒🐯
  • Mandy S.heart icon on user image
    Mandy SchillSeptember 25, 2015
    Set up not very user friendly. Path is curvy line with a bunch of dead ends coming off of it. Have to walk all the way back up the hill to get to exit. Pandas are cute & a lot of food choices.
  • Aerial P.heart icon on user image
    Aerial PayneNovember 14, 2016
    Spent half a day here and didn't even get through the entire place! They have a red panda and it's adorable.
  • Steven V.heart icon on user image
    Steven VegaAugust 2, 2015
    Beautiful place! Love how the habitats are build to bring the best comfort to animals
  • angela n.
    angela nJune 6, 2010
    Been here 25+ times
    If you like the zoo but hate the throngs, go early. Zoo grounds open at 6am, and many animals are active then, esp. in summer (See link). Indoor exhibits (and great cats) don't open until 10am though. Read more
  • Mark P.heart icon on user image
    Mark PhillipsDecember 4, 2012
    Been here 100+ times
    Check out the Smithsonian Castle built with 45,000 Lego bricks. It's on display in the visitor center during ZooLights! Read more
  • Jason
    JasonMay 26, 2013
    Don't go on warm summer weekends. The zoo is free and is beyond crowded. Parking can also run as much as $22, so park on the side streets for free.
  • Byron W.heart icon on user image
    Byron WilkesDecember 18, 2015
    What a wonderful zoo. Also it's totally free!! Buffalo were good to see. Favorite is the reptiles.
  • Luis G.
    Luis GoncaloOctober 30, 2015
    Start from the top side where the metro goes to and work your way down. Down at the hill you can catch a bus to Columbia heights
  • Julian S.heart icon on user image
    Julian SiDecember 21, 2018
    Seriously awesome experience - Well worth the visit even over winter!!
  • Travis M.heart icon on user image
    Travis MillerDecember 22, 2018
    Free entry, just pay to park. At christmas time there is a night time light display.
  • Glow I.heart icon on user image
    Glow IngAugust 4, 2013
    What a great zoo and free admission?! Must have been designed well, allows visitors to have a good look at the animals and actually in action.
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