We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“go early!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of National Zoological Park

National Zoological Park
3000 Block of Connecticut Ave., Washington DC, DC 20008 (Upper Northwest)
202 633 4800
Improve this listing
Book ahead on Viator
Top Rated
and up
Washington DC Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour
Ranked #54 of 234 Attractions in Washington DC
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A park-like zoo containing 4,000 animals and 500 different species.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
new york
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
“go early!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

Tips for a good zoo experience. If arriving by metro, get off at Cleveland Park (NOT Woodley park), the zoo is about equidistant between the 2 stops, however uphill from Woodley Park Metro. so arrive via Cleveland Park and walk downhill to Woodley park metro on leaving. Mornings are always better for crowds AND for the animals. we arrived at 10:30 and beat the crowds on everything including the pandas. The apes/chimpanzees do a good rings show at 11am. The zoo is NOT designed as a circuit, so once you get to the end, you need to turn around and go back the way you came, UPHILL. so depending on your group you might want to save some exhibits for the way back. or if you have toddlers you might want to rent a "stroller". The elephants have a large area to roam, so you can see them from multiple viewing sites. there are nice "misting" pitstops for people to cooldown in along the way. the zoomap isn't that detailed and there are multiple signs, but buy for $2 if you must.
we enjoyed it and were able to see a lot of the large animals (lion, tiger, elephant, great ape, baboon, chimps eating, pandas, zebra) and be out by 1:30pm.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,498 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
N Ireland
Top Contributor
261 reviews 261 reviews
83 attraction reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
“Panda was a picture”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

Had only a short time here but was delighted to see the panda sitting out enjoying his breakfast. Well spaced out and planted the free zoo was a joy to explore.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
45 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Pandas and more”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

It's been years since i've been to the zoo. The panda were going to town on some bamboo and that alone made it worth the visit.

We took the metro which is the way to arrive. After a Starbucks near the entrance we did an abbreviated walk through the park, and had another Starbucks on the way out.

It's educational, it's interesting, it's well maintained, and it's free. Not much not to like.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“If you came to see animals go somewhere else.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013 via mobile

I have never been to a zoo where there are no animals until now. My advice. Go see the pandas and leave. Too many empty animal habitat exhibits. I would say more than half where empty.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Where have all the animals gone?”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

My grandmother and I were visiting DC for the week and decided it would be swell to visit our nation's zoo for three reasons. The first reason, it is free. The second reason, we are suckers for cute animals. The third reason, we went twenty plus years ago and loved it. Those reasons proved to be inaccurate. The zoo may have been free, but we paid 22 dollars for parking. Parking is 16 dollars for the first three hours and apparently goes up after the fact. We also had to pay two dollars for a park map that was unhelpful in navigating the park. The reason for paying for the map...to help support the zoo which apparently is not being adequately supported by the federal government via our tax dollars. Also, we did not see many animals. We saw two pandas, one cheetah, one lion, two elephants, one orangutang, some small mammals, but we did not see a partridge in a pear tree. The various zookeepers we met said they were hiding from the heat. I read other reviews from people who went in the winter, and they said that the animals were hiding out from the cold. So if you want to visit the zoo don't go during the months of April, May, June, July, August, September, December, January, or February. You do the math. To sum up this review, I would not recommend going to the DC national zoo. Trust the other reviews on this sight that echo this mantra. I don't know where these positive reviews are coming from. My conspiracy theory... employees are writing these reviews to counter act the negative ones. Instead of wasting 20 plus dollars on parking support your local zoos. You will get a free map, and you will actually get to see animals!

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed National Zoological Park also viewed


Been to National Zoological Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage National Zoological Park, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.