Smithsonian’s National Zoo DC Hours: Opening, Closing, and Holiday Hours

Nestled in the heart of Washington D.C., the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is a vibrant and educational oasis, offering a window into the diverse world of wildlife. As one of the Smithsonian’s and the city’s most popular tourist destinations, it draws over 2 million visitors annually from across the globe. This article provides definitive information on the Zoo’s operating hours, ensuring visitors can plan their visits with accuracy and ease.

Standard Smithsonian’s National Zoo Hours

The Zoo operates with a schedule that varies slightly between the summer and winter months:

  • Winter Hours (From September 15): The Zoo grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last admittance at 3 p.m. Exhibit buildings welcome visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Summer Hours (From March 15): During the summer, the grounds are accessible from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last entry at 5 p.m. Exhibit buildings remain open until 6 p.m.

These timings are thoughtfully set to offer the best experience for visitors while ensuring the well-being of the animals.

Holiday Smithsonian’s National Zoo Hours

The Zoo is open every day of the year except December 25. This consistent schedule, even during holidays, allows visitors to plan their trips without the worry of unexpected closures.

Finding Smithsonian’s National Zoo: Location Details

The Zoo is conveniently located in Washington D.C. and is easily accessible. Here’s a direct Google Maps link for convenience: Smithsonian’s National Zoo Location.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Contact Information

For inquiries, the Zoo can be reached at the following numbers:

  • General Information and Guest Services: 202-633-2614
  • Zoo Police (for emergencies): 202-633-4134
  • Membership Services: 202-633-2922
  • Donations/Advancement Office: 202-633-3144
  • Education and Volunteer Office: 202-633-3025
  • Media Inquiries: 202-633-3055

About Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, is more than a place to see animals. It’s a center for animal care, scientific research, conservation, and education. The Zoo plays a vital role in global conservation efforts and offers a range of educational programs. It instills a lifelong commitment to conservation through engaging experiences with animals and the people working to save them.

What Smithsonian’s National Zoo Offers

The Zoo is home to over 2,700 animals across 390 species. Key attractions include the Giant Panda Habitat, the Great Ape House, Elephant Trails, and more. The Zoo also offers unique experiences like animal feedings, keeper talks, and educational tours, making it a must-visit for families and wildlife enthusiasts.

Special Exhibits and Events

  • Giant Pandas: The Zoo recently bid farewell to its beloved giant pandas, who have been a major attraction.
  • Bird House: In summer 2023, the Bird House celebrated the arrival of orchard oriole chicks and Baltimore oriole chicks, a significant achievement in avian care.
  • #GORILLASTORY: The Zoo provides updates on its baby gorilla, Zahra, and her mother Calaya, offering insights into gorilla care and behavior.
  • Animal Demonstrations: Daily demonstrations give visitors a front-row seat to keepers working with animals, including elephants, sloth bears, sea lions, and more.

Educational Programs and Conservation Efforts

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is not just about animal exhibits; it’s a leader in wildlife conservation and education. The Zoo conducts various educational programs for kids, families, teens, and adults. These programs are designed to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of wildlife and conservation efforts. Additionally, the Zoo’s conservation efforts extend globally, with initiatives in species survival, conservation genomics, and conservation ecology.

Conservation Initiatives at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is not just a place to observe wildlife; it’s a pioneering center for wildlife conservation. The Zoo’s efforts extend far beyond its gates, with significant contributions to global conservation projects. Key initiatives include:

  • Species Survival Programs: The Zoo participates in various species survival programs, working to protect endangered species both in captivity and in the wild.
  • Conservation Genomics: Leveraging advanced genetic technologies, the Zoo’s scientists are at the forefront of conservation genomics, a field critical for understanding and preserving biodiversity.
  • Global Health Program: This program focuses on the health of wildlife populations worldwide, recognizing that the health of animals, humans, and ecosystems are interconnected.
  • Migratory Bird Center: Dedicated to the study and conservation of migratory birds, this center plays a crucial role in understanding the challenges faced by these species and developing strategies for their protection.

These initiatives underscore the Zoo’s commitment to conservation and its role as a leader in wildlife preservation.

Educational Outreach and Community Engagement

Education is at the heart of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s mission. The Zoo offers a variety of programs aimed at inspiring and educating visitors of all ages about wildlife and conservation:

  • Programs for Kids and Families: These programs include interactive tours, hands-on activities, and educational workshops designed to engage young minds and foster a love for nature.
  • Teen and Adult Education: The Zoo offers specialized programs for teens and adults, including conservation talks, behind-the-scenes tours, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Field Trips and Group Visits: Schools and organizations can arrange educational field trips, offering students and members a unique learning experience.
  • Community Events: The Zoo hosts various events throughout the year, such as conservation festivals and special animal demonstrations, to engage the community and raise awareness about wildlife conservation.

Through these educational and community engagement efforts, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo plays a vital role in promoting wildlife conservation and inspiring the next generation of conservationists.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo FAQ

  1. Hours of Operation: The Zoo’s hours vary by season, with extended hours in the summer.
  2. Tickets and Entry: Entry is free, but passes are required for all visitors.
  3. Visitor Services: The Zoo offers various services, including educational programs and special event hosting.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is a remarkable place that combines the joy of animal viewing with the seriousness of conservation and education. With clear, consistent operating hours and a wealth of attractions and services, it stands as a testament to the beauty and importance of wildlife in our world.

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