Zoos

Smithsonian National Zoo Cleveland Park

Where is it at?

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Smithsonian National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Avenue NW
Cleveland Park
DC
20008
Tel: 202.633.4800

Where are we going today?

Here's what we love about Smithsonian National Zoo in the heart of Washington, DC.

First, we LOVE that there are over 1,500 animals that kids can come face to face with. Second, we LOVE that over 300 different species are represented, which means that kids can really enjoy a valuable learning experience of all the wildlife that we have on this planet! 

Want to know the third thing we love about Smithsonian National Zoo? It's FREE! 

So...do you love Smithsonian National Zoo yet? Well, keep reading....!

The zoo was founded in 1889, and today sits on 163 acres within Rock Creek Park, and not only teaches kids about the animals, their habits, and their habitats, but it also teaches them about conservation, as some of the world's most endangered species can be found at Smithsonian National Zoo.

So, shall we meet the animals!? The zoo has a number of exhibits that feature a host of beautiful creatures. Kids can see those grand big cats including the African lion, and see how clever those primates really are.

The wonders of Asia are waiting to be explored as you pass those adorable pandas, leopards, and even the cute sloth bears!

Even the icons of America are on show, with those classic American bison, and popular sea lions. 

With a fun interactive kid farm, and great events across the year, it's no wonder Smithsonian National Zoo is where a lot of families head on their family day out, so...will you be next?

It's WILD!

 

 

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How much does it cost?

  • AdultsFree!
  • ChildrenFree!
LAST UPDATED 2016

When can we go?

8am - 7pm (5pm in winter) for the grounds. Exhibits 9am - 6pm.

Open every day except Dec 25

Teachers corner

Classes, sleepovers, camps, there is so much to enjoy at the zoo that kids can learn about, also with programs for K-8.

I'm Hungry!

There are a host of dining options at the zoo, so it's not just the animals that will get fed! There are hot dogs, sit down restaurants, seafood, sandwiches, nuggets, burgers, and those tasty treats!.

Healthy Eating!

You are more than welcome to bring your own food, and there are tables throughout where you can enjoy them!.

Any Top Tips?

Keep an eye on the fun events they have, including ZooLights for the holidays, and Easter fun!.

Doing our bit

From species survival to local conservation to programs around the world, the zoo are dedicated to supporting those endangered species from extenction.

Need a little extra help?

The zoo make every effort to accommodate all visitors, and they offer free wheelchairs on a first come basis.

Baby Facilities

You can rent strollers at the zoo.

Can I get one of those?

The Great Cats Gift Shop is why you will want to take your pocket money to the zoo! There are a host great gifts and souvenirs to take home!.

More information

Much of the zoo is outside so dress for the weather.

What people are saying?

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    I lived in DC for a long time and was regular visitor. This beautiful zoo is conveniently located just a few blocks from the red line on metro. Being part of the Smithsonian means that it is yet another free attraction.

    The zoo is well laid out on a very hilly area, just on the outskirts of Rock Creek park. With informational signage and frequent keeper led informational talks, in various areas, you don't just get to see beautiful animals, but learn along the way.

    There are drink and snack carts throughout, as well as a couple locations to sit...Read More

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    Horrible experience! The worst zoo I ever even to. I understand it is a non-profit zoo but the zoo was horrible. No animals seen in the first 5 cages. The landscape was overgrown and was keep uptight. The zoo was also under construction but it seems like the zoo was just just there just because. Other than that, for a national zoo to be in the DC area, and for it to have an appearance like that was unacceptable.

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    The DC Zoo is beautiful and fun! The staff and volunteers are knowledgeable and helpful.

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    Absolutely wonderful for family!

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    typical zoo stuff... stuffed animals, back scratchers, huge pencils.

Submit a review

by Veda Taylor

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I lived in DC for a long time and was regular visitor. This beautiful zoo is conveniently located just a few blocks from the red line on metro. Being part of the Smithsonian means that it is yet another free attraction.

The zoo is well laid out on a very hilly area, just on the outskirts of Rock Creek park. With informational signage and frequent keeper led informational talks, in various areas, you don't just get to see beautiful animals, but learn along the way.

There are drink and snack carts throughout, as well as a couple locations to sit and eat. The fare is pretty standard, unhealthy and over-priced zoo fare. Personally, with so many restaurants in walking distance of the zoo, I would say eat before, after, or pack a lunch.

The cons of this zoo is that funding is sometimes lacking for updates that would make it more comfortable and more interactive. It is one of the older zoos in the US and as such, is often undergoing construction. Because they care for the safety and peace of the animals, that tends to mean no animals near the construction. The other aspect is walking. If you're not in shape when you go, you may be when you leave. The park is accessible, but not easy to walk with little ones or disabilities, due to the hills.

If you're not from DC, do note that it has a widely varying climate. That means that when it is too hot or cold for the animals, they may not be available for viewing. With a little research about feeding times and climate, you can make the most of the your trip. Contact FONZ or check the website for cool behind the scenes and learning classes.

I would definitely recommend this zoo to anyone visiting the area.

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