Smithsonian National Zoo Parking

The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C boasts one of the most complete collections of animal life on the East Coast. Located just north of the heart of the nation's capital, the Zoo has long served as a favorite outing for locals and tourists alike. As the official parking partner of the Smithsonian National Zoo, we have the best hints and tips to help your zoo trip go smoothly. Find National Zoo parking through Parking Panda and spend more time seeing the animals instead of fighting for a parking space. 

10 Things You Need To Know About National Zoo Parking

1. The National Zoo Has 5 Official Parking Lots Directly Onsite: 

Onsite parking at the zoo costs $22 if you pay upon arrival.

2. Beware! The Official Lots will fill up quickly!

While certainly convenient, the official parking lots at the Zoo will typically reach capacity by 10am during the warmer months. Arrive early if you're intent on nabbing one of the spaces within easy walking distance of the entrance. 

3. Reserve official parking ahead of time, and show up anytime to a guaranteed space!>

The National Zoo has partnered with Parking Panda to offer guaranteed parking reservations at the official Zoo lots. For a total cost of $31, you can show up at anytime during the day and have a convenient spot waiting for you, even if the lot is otherwise full!

4. Reserved parking at Official Lots must be booked at least one day in advance.

Unfortunately it's not possible to make a parking reservation at the official parking lots on the day that you're headed to the Zoo. Plan ahead to save time and stress!

5. Park at nearby garages within easy walking distance of the Zoo to save money.
Didn't plan ahead? No problem. Check out the other options listed on the map on Parking Panda! We'll show you all of the off-street parking options in the area, and how much they'll cost.

6. Finding street parking near the zoo is possible, but difficult. 

Yes, admission to the National Zoo is free, but family outings can still get expensive. Finding free street parking is a great way to save a few dollars. The residential neighborhoods around the National Zoo do have areas that would make street parking possible. For some insider tips, check out this Reddit thread where locals spill their secrets. 

7. Looking for bus parking? We can help.

Headed to the Zoo with a group or school? Parking Panda sells bus parking reservations for weekdays only. Alternatively, those in need of school bus parking can submit a request by calling 202-633-4964 or fill out a form on the Zoo's website itself. Requests are honored on a first come, first serve basis. Submit your request for bus parking at least two months in advance for the greatest chance of being accepted. 

8. Friends of the National Zoo members park free.

If you're a frequent visitor to the National Zoo, it makes sense to invest in a FONZ membership. One of the perks? Free parking!

9. Avoid Beach Drive!

The Beach Drive entrance to The National Zoo is located on the east side of the park and will be closed for renovations during the summer of 2017. There are several other entrances to the National Zoo, take a look at their map for more information. 

10. Take the Metro! 

The Woodley Park-Zoo Metro station is along the Red Line and not too far from the National Zoo. One alternative solution for getting to the Zoo might be driving to a Metro station that connects to the Red Line, parking, and hopping on a train. Check out Parking Panda's options for reserving parking spaces near Metro stations across Washington DC.

Best Zoo Reserved Parking Locations

Guaranteed parking spaces are available in Zoo Lots A, B, and Bus Loading Area (VIP Space). The reservation must be made at least one day prior to the day you're visiting. Take a look at the map below to see where each lot is located:

Lot A: Lot A will be the first parking lot on the left as you enter the Zoo. It is conveniently located just steps away from the Panda Plaza, the Giant Panda Habitat, and the Elephant Community Center. - Reserve Now!

Lot B: This is the second lot on the left as you enter the Zoo. Lot B is conveniently located just steps from Panda Plaza, Pachyderm Plaza, the Small Mammal House and the Great Apes exhibits - Reserve Now!

VIP (Bus Loading Area): This is the premium official National Zoo Parking within the designated area in the Bus Loading zone of the Zoo, just steps from Panda Plaza, the Giant Panda Habitat, and the Elephant Community Center - Reserve Now!

Parking Panda reviews: See what our awesome customers had to say about their Parking Panda National Zoo parking reservation! 

"Worth it without a doubt. My family thought I was a rock star for reserving parking ahead of time!" - Eric F. 

"We were right by the bathrooms and the entrance to the Zoo. It was worth every penny with small children!" - Danya I. 
"I drove up to the zoo at 11am, and the parking lots were full...except if you had a Parking Panda reservation. I showed my reservation to the attendant, and he removed the orange cones to let me drive in. The reserved parking area was easy to find.  I showed the next attendant my reservation, and he checked my name off a list. Given how scarce parking is at the zoo, it is definitely worth the $30 to guarantee a parking spot. The hassle free nature of the parking panda reservation made my family's visit to the zoo a pure joy." - Jason P. 

We hope that you'll be visiting the Smithsonian National Zoological Park this summer. Admission is 100% free. Don't forget to reserve your guaranteed parking as lots often fill up by 10 AM! 

Questions or concerns? Please call (800-232-7415) or email ( anytime! 

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