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Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC

(3,400+ reviews on the web)
Zoo / Aquarium Nature / Park
Take a trip to Smithsonian 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. Plan to visit Smithsonian National Zoological Park during your Washington DC vacation using our convenient Washington DC trip itinerary maker.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It's a pleasant walk, but a long one to get through the zoo. This was our main reason for coming to DC as my daughter loves Pandas and just wanted to see one up close. The staff members were very pers...  more »
  • We love the Zoo. It's our "go to" when we're with the kids and at a loss of what to do. We joined FONZ (Friends of the Zoo) and have unlimited parking making it pretty easy as we roll into the Zoo wit...  more »
  • First of all, go early in the morning as soon as they open as most animal's are out in the cool weather. The pandas are absolutely amazing and if they aren't outside, they have an indoor area you can ...  more »
Google
  • 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!
  • Great zoo! Awesome experience. Free admission. Their huge collection of animals is amazing. They have great facilities and well managed. Food prices there are obviously inflated but its to be expected. Highly recommend for families and animal lovers. Parking can be a pain so get there early or take the train. There is a stop about 5-10 minutes (walking) away.
  • 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.
  • For a free zoo, this place is amazing. If you had to buy tickets, this place would still be amazing. The Zoo Lights around Christmas-time are simply brilliant and shouldn't be missed. Parking is a little pricey (and sometimes a bit packed on busy tourist weekends), but just remember that's the total "price of admission" you're going to pay for the whole visit for a great zoo.
  • Honestly, the fact that it's free and the ambience is nice is enough of a reason to give this place five stars. I just recommend having grabbed lunch before hand so you won't have to succumb to the $5-per-plain hot dogs, because those prices are just ridiculous! Make sure you see the pandas. :)