Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

#19 in Best Things To Do in Washington, D.C.
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Key Info

3001 Connecticut Ave. NW

Price & Hours

8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; exhibit buildings, the vi...


Zoos and Aquariums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

More than 2,700 animals call the Smithsonian's 163-acre National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute home, from Asian elephants to great apes to sea lions. While here, don't miss your chance to meet the zoo's most popular resident, a baby panda named Bei Bei who was born on Aug. 22, 2015. Also, be sure to look up every now and then as you stroll beneath the Orangutan Transport System (called the O Line): Chances are you'll spot orangutans swinging along cables between eight steel towers. Or, if you're more intrigued by the exotic animals native to South America, head over to the 15,000-square-foot Amazonia exhibit, home to creatures like titi monkeys and yellow-rumped caciques.

Recent visitors praised the zoo's pleasant surroundings and broad selection of species, but they do caution that visitors should set realistic expectations. Though some said the zoo could be more exciting, keep in mind the nearly 400 species are free to visit.

The easiest (and most affordable) way to reach the Smithsonian's National Zoo – which sits in Woodley Park, a D.C. neighborhood found about 2 miles north of downtown – is to take the Metro's Red Line to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan station or Cleveland Park station. Visitors can also drive and park at the zoo, but space is limited and a flat fee of $22 applies. The zoo welcomes travelers every day (except Christmas Day) from 8 a.m. to 5 or 7 p.m. Reduced hours apply for exhibit buildings, the visitor center, shops and food vendors. Additional information about the zoo's animals, facilities and events is available on the property's website.

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