Visit Washington, DC
Visit Washington, DC
National Zoo Main Entrance

The National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20008


Written by Beth Garrett
Still another department of the Smithsonian Institution is the 163-acre National Zoo conveniently located in the center of the nation's capital. The 30-year-old zoo is visited by millions of tourists each year to see some
of the most rare animals in the world but also to take advantage of the educational and research facilities. One of the National Zoo's most original and fun sights is the "O Line" an overhead cable transportation system for Orangutans. The thick steel cables connect the Great Ape House and the Think Tank. When Orangutans gets bored with one place they can pull themselves along the O Line about 40 feet above the heads of visitors.

National Zoo Home to Giant Pandas and Komodo Dragons

The National Zoo is home to many different types of animals from bison and prairie dogs to baby rhinoceroses to the fierce meat-eating Komodo Dragons of Indonesia.Cheetah at the National Zoo The National Zoo is one of the few places in the world where the endangered Komodo Dragons are bred. Also at the National Zoo is the Giant Panda Exhibit, the Small Mammal House, the Bird House and Flight Exhibit, the Reptile Discovery Center, Monkey Island, Gibbon Ridge, the Australia Pavilion and the Invertebrate Exhibit with rare underwater life forms such as sea anemones. Red Wolves, tapirs, bongos, seals, bears, sea lions, hippos, lions, tigers, camels, giraffes and zebras will all be found at the National Zoo. The kids will marvel at the Cheetah Conservation Station, the National Zoo's home to the world's fastest mammal. The spotted jungle cats can spring more than 60 miles per hour.

Demonstrations and Feedings

Visitors to the National Zoo can listen to talks and presentation by zoo staff
as they feed the animals or give lectures on how they live in the wild. The Think Tank is open every day and visitors can learn how Orangutans communicate. Check with information on the times of Think Tank shows. The Invertebrate Exhibit also has daily demonstrations except for Tuesday. Call zoo information for more show times. Other feedings are: 10:30 a.m. Red Kangaroo and Emu presentation at the Australia Pavilion. 11 a.m. Meet a Kiwi bird at the Bird House on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 11:30 a.m. Lumber over to the Elephant Yard to see zoo staff feed and train the elephants. Sea Lions at the National Zoo12 noon Try out the Small Mammal House for the National Zoo's meet-a-mammal program.

Hours of Operation and Location

The National Zoo is open on a daily basis except for Christmas Day. There is no charge to enter the National Zoo and parking, while limited, is also free of charge. If you are arriving to the National Zoo by way of the D.C. Metro, get off at either the Woodley Park-Zoo stop or the Cleveland Park stop. The National Zoo is open every day at 6 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. during the summer months until Sept. 15. From Sept. 16 to April 30, the zoo hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit buildings in the zoo are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the winter and until 6:30 p.m. during the summer months. A Orangutans using Rope Crawlway at the National Zoogift shop, restaurant and family services (i.e. baby strollers) are all located at the National Zoo. The National Zoo is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. 20008.

For more information, call 202-673-7800.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2015