National Zoological Park, Washington DC

3.9
#2 of 22 in Parks in Washington DC
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.
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National Zoological Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
3,843 reviews
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4.3
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  • This is a very nice zoo. It isn't very big, but the location in the hills of DC make it very pretty to walk around. Not as big as Brookfield Zoo in the Chicago area. However, Brookfield doesn't have p...  more »
  • This isn't a top five in the United States zoo. However, they do have the pandas. I lot of the bird exhibits are closed. If you have a good zoo in your area I would skip this on a DC trip. If you have...  more »
  • I live in the land of theme parks where we have multiple opportunities to see animals in amazing settings, so I was not sure how we would enjoy the zoo. We went mid day during the week and saw many an...  more »
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  • 32 reviews We went on 6/12/2017. I like what they've done to the zoo since I was there last in 2002. It has downsized to give more room for the animals, which I think is awesome. Sadly, when we were there, the tiger/lions were put up due to construction. We took our daughter to DC for her graduation present, and this was the exhibit she wanted to see most. Overall, it was a nice, hot day :) The staff was friendly and helpful, and the bathrooms were clean. The park is still as gorgeous as it was 15 years ago, and the cute little petting farm was adorable! I'd love to bring my grandchildren to this zoo in the future.
  • Out of the many zoos I have visited, this one was very impressive. It provided a comfortable atmosphere and made you feel welcomed right away. The animals (Unlike other zoos) were incredibly agile and healthy looking. For example, the elephant showed healthy behavior, such as its ears flapping, and tail or trunk swinging (constant motion), and its Skin, which looked soft and resilient. The staff constantly asked us about our visit, making sure we were satisfied. One con, is that many of the exhibits were under construction, or there was just no animals in view. I would like to visit again!
  • I only got to check out about a quarter of the zoo - trying to museum hop today. In just under 2 hours I got to see all of the Asian Trail exhibit with the exception of a few animals that were in their private enclosures for the early afternoon. Staff was all very friendly and helpful. Their facilities were up to par for the animals, their quality of life seemed much better to me than some other zoos I've been to. A lovely place to stroll through if you've got the time. As a solo stroll-er, it gets the rolling solo adventure thumbs up from me.
  • It was a fun experience with the kids. It was a simple layout and fairly easy to get where you want to go. The staff was kind and helpful. The animals were interesting and seemed to be happy. There were water sprinklers for people to cool off on a hot day. My kids and several others seemed to enjoy it.
  • The zoo is free and parking is $22. From all of the zoos I have been to, I think it is definitely worth a visit. We arrived around 10am and a few of the parking lots were already full. Please note that several exhibits are under construction, so if there is a certain type of animal you'd really love to see, I would give them a call first. Despite the construction, we saw many animals and enjoyed all of the exhibits. Most of the indoor exhibits require you to leave your stroller at the door. Please be prepared to walk uphill and downhill, so make sure to wear your comfy walking shoes. There are many food options on the trails and places to sit and relax. There are volunteers present throughout the zoo that give out facts. Before you visit, I would advise my fellow traveler to download the map from their website to help guide you. They do sell maps for $5 (cash) around the exhibits if you'd rather have something tangible. We spent three hours during this visit with a toddler and we had a blast.

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Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
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