Smithsonian National Zoo Parking

As a part of the well-known Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoological Park is one of the country’s oldest zoos. It has two facilities, accommodates 2,700 animals, and offers an array of both permanent and temporary exhibits. Situated in Rock Creek Park, the zoo is directly accessible via various modes of transport. If you wish to drive to the park, use our guide to learn all about its car parking options. Discover the National Zoo parking fee, off-site parking availability, and all about the zoo admission tickets! You’ll also learn more about transportation alternatives and see what is the most cost-effective option.

National Zoo Tickets

Unlike most major zoos the National Zoo offers free admission, and all you need to do is to reserve an entry pass online or call 800-514-3849. Note that each guest, regardless of age, has to book the Zoo entry pass—you cannot purchase it at the zoo. Entry passes are not timed, and you may use yours to enter the zoo at any time during working hours. The Smithsonian Zoological Park is open from 8 AM to 4 PM every day, and you are free to stay until it closes if you wish. Make sure you arrive by 3 PM so that you have enough time to explore the park.

Smithsonian National Zoo Entrance

National Zoo Parking Options

The zoo offers several car parking lots within easy walking distance of the entrance: Lot A, Lot B, Lot C, Lot D, and Lot E. National Zoo parking is limited, and reservations are required, so don’t forget to purchase your parking pass before you head to the park. If you pre-book a parking pass, you don’t have to reserve an entry pass since it includes admission for up to eight people. All visitors who drive to the zoo have to enter through the Connecticut Avenue entrance. Here’s the National Zoo parking fee:

General Public Parking $30
National Zoo Members Free

Note that the zoo members are entitled to one free parking pass per week. Arrival time is flexible, but you need to enter the zoo by 3 PM. Check out the National Zoo parking map to find the location of each short-term parking area.

Accessible Parking

Handicapped parking spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis in Lots A, B, and D. Each guest occupying an ADA spot needs to have a valid disabled parking permit or license plate. Standard parking rates apply, and you need to reserve a National Zoo paid parking pass to enter any parking structure. 

Parking Near the National Zoo

Finding a convenient parking space around the zoo can be tough, but we looked into off-site lots and discovered a few decent alternatives. Thanks to sites like ParkWhiz and SpotHero, you can find a low-cost spot in a nearby city parking garage or even book someone’s personal spot. The closest reasonably-priced parking facility is the Leading Age Building Garage located at 2302 Calvert St. NW—the parking cost is $12.95. A couple of personal spots are also available within approximately 10 minutes of the zoo. The first option is placed at 1860 Park Rd. NW costs $10, while the other one is $11 and is located south of the zoo, at 1926 Calvert St. NW.

Leading Age Building Garage Entrance

Public Transportation to the Zoo

The zoo’s main entrance is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave, and Metro trains and buses stop a short walk away from it. L1 and L2 buses stop right in front of the entrance. Use the Trip Planner to find the bus or train line that fits your route or travel plan. Metro fares vary depending on the service and time of the day. The regular Metrobus fare is $2.00, while the Metrorail peak fares range from $2.25 to $6.00. Off-peak fares are slightly lower.


  • How much is parking at the National Zoo?

The official National Zoo parking fee is $30.

  • What time does National Zoo parking fill up?

The National Zoo parking lots tend to fill up by 10 AM.

  • Can I get an entry pass when I arrive at the Zoo?

No, you have to reserve either an entry pass or a parking pass in advance.

Find Parking in Washington, D.C.

Parking Access offers a wide selection of parking guides for diverse venues, stadiums, airports, cruise ports, and more! In addition to the National Zoo parking details, we offer an in-depth Washington DC Parking guide that covers both short-term and long-term parking in the city. Learn more about any of the following locations:

We also cover all major airports in the area! Read through the following guides to discover on-site and off-site parking facilities and prices:

Use our comprehensive guides and helpful tips to find the most suitable and affordable parking service and avoid pricey DC parking tickets!

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