National Zoological Park, Washington DC

#2 of 36 in Parks in Washington DC
Zoo · Zoo / Aquarium
Take a trip to National Zoological Park, home to about 1,800 animals of 300 different species--including its famous giant pandas. The nation's zoo covers 66 hectares (163 acres) with habitats for lions, bald eagles, poisonous frogs, Asian elephants, meerkats, orangutans, pythons, sloth bears, and more. Volunteers in red shirts are on hand around the zoo for advice and information about the animals. If you get hungry, you can choose from several food outlets or bring your own picnic. You can plan Washington DC trip in no time by asking Inspirock to help create your itinerary.
Improve this listing »
Create an itinerary including National Zoological Park

National Zoological Park reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
4,489 reviews
  • We had a wonderful time. A few of the animals “weren’t home” since the last time we were here. I hope they are Ok. So nice to visit and the animals didn’t look miserable like some of the other zoos I....  more »
  • The Zoo is magnificent… it is absolutely the very best for Gods creatures..we as a people must protect and preserve… with this being said all zoos across our nation should give all zoo animals the...  more »
  • great zoo & lots of space for being in the city. quick commute by metro in nice area. the highlight is obviously the pandas. the layout of the zoo is great so that you are able to visit every...  more »
  • Amazing to have such a great park tucked into the city with free admission. Very hilly so plan like it's a "hike" if you're going for the whole day. The best thing about a free park, however, is that you don't have to try to do it all in one day, especially if you're here for a week or so (or you're a resident). There are better, more expansive zoos, but you can't beat the price. It's a rather long uphill walk from the metro, so factor that in. Parking is convenient to the zoo but pricey ($25). Finding street parking is possible but not a guarantee. Everyone loves to see the pandas, but our family favorites are the otters and the prairie dogs; if you can catch the orangutans climbing on the "O-line", huge bonus. NOTE: if you're traveling with somebody with limited mobility, they do have manual wheelchairs (free) and electric wheelchairs that you can rent ($30). both have to be returned by 4:00 p.m., even though the park usually stays open later. You might want to arrive early in the day to make sure that the manual wheelchairs aren't all taken. Definitely plan to be pushing the wheelchair up steep hills. There is also a free shuttle that runs regularly between one end of the zoo and the other, so a good plan would be to start a Connecticut avenue, work your way downhill through the zoo, and take the shuttle back up.
  • Of all the Smithsonian stuff to do for free, their collection and ability to cater to all ages is wonderful. Our little one was less interested in all the animals but we had a great time. Huge huge huge park but all very nicely organized with plenty of rest stops. Take your own food or buy something there. A full day is not enough. Love this place and a must visit!
  • If you love nature & animals, then I highly recommend visiting the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. The admission is free. It’s part of the Smithsonian Fund. Google this history of this fund, you’ll be delighted to know how it started. You can drive or use the metro with a pleasant walk to the park. If you have not seen a Panda in your life, this is your chance. The zoo has a number of giant Pandas. I was so lucky to arrive at the feeding time. I enjoyed fully! Note: There is no cell reception at the Panda’s place. You can’t broadcast your visit live.
  • Really beautiful place with some spectacular animal habitats. We only did a small portion, but we were treated to some great close ups. I really like how you can bring your own food and picnic. I definitely plan on visiting again. The gift shop was a bit underwhelming in variety.
  • Very nice. Shaded with great views to the animals. Both indoor and outdoor viewing for some animals. Definitely worth city traffic to visit. For those who have accessibility needs consider a wheel chair or motorized wheelchair. The park has many hills, some slightly steep. It does have many resting places as well, which is great.

Plan your trip to Washington DC

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.