National Zoo in Washington, D.C.: Directions and Maps

Male African lion at the zoo in Washington, D.C.
Eyeconic Images / Getty Images

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., colloquially known as the National Zoo, is home to more than 1,500 animals. As part of the Smithsonian Institution, admission is free, and the zoo is open 364 days a year (it's closed Christmas Day). It's one of the oldest zoos in the United States, opened in 1889.

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How to Get to the National Zoo

National Zoo Map
Map Data / Google

The map above shows the location and entrances for the National Zoo. The Zoo is located just south of Rock Creek Park, approximately 2.5 miles north of the National Mall at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW. There are three entrances:

  • East side along Connecticut Avenue
  • West side off of Rock Creek Parkway
  • Intersection of Harvard Street and Adams Mill Road

The Zoo entrances are shown on this map by the green circles and the parking lot entrance is shown by the blue circle. 

Directions to the National Zoo

By Metro: The closest Metro stations are Woodley Park and Cleveland Park. The zoo is just a short walk from both of the stations.

By Metrobus: L1 and L2 Metrobuses stop in front of the zoo's main entrance on Connecticut Avenue.

By Car: The main entrance to the Zoo is located off of Connecticut Avenue, between Cathedral Avenue NW and Devonshire Place NW. Connecticut Avenue is a major street that runs through Washington, D.C., beginning downtown and extending beyond I-495 in Maryland.

From Maryland, take I-495 to MD-185S- Connecticut Avenue and continue south towards Washington.

From Virginia, take the George Washington Memorial Parkway to 12th Street NW in Washington, continue onto 12th Street NW to Connecticut Avenue NW. 

Parking is available at the Zoo for $25. Parking is free with some levels of FONZ membership.

By Bike: Capital Bikeshare has a kiosk at 3000 Connecticut Avenue directly in front of the zoo entrance.

Want to know more details about what to see as you walk at the Zoo? See a closeup map of the animal exhibits on the next page.

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Location of National Zoo within Washington, D.C.

National Zoo Map
Map Data / Google

This map shows the location of the National Zoo. It is set in the center of Washington D.C., just south of Rock Creek Park, approximately 2.5 miles north of the National Mall. The Zoo address is 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW.

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Closeup Map of the National Zoo and Animal Exhibits

National Zoo Map
Map Data / Google

This map shows trails along the major animal exhibits at the National Zoo. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Small Mammal House: Rodents, insectivores, bats, slender-tailed meerkats, striped skunks and smaller primates such as golden lion tamarins, Geoffroy's marmosets, and howler monkeys
  • Great Apes: Orangutans and western lowland gorillas 
  • Great Cats Exhibit: Sumatran tigers and African lions
  • Rainforest: Underwater life of the Amazon including giant arapaima, pacu, red-tailed catfish, and piranhas

All Zoo exhibits are wheelchair-accessible. The Zoo operates a guest shuttle that runs on a continuous loop from the Bus Parking Lot to the lower entrance of the Zoo and back.

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