Rule Number One — Enjoy Your Visit!
The National Zoo & Aquarium is a wonderful place to explore, learn, and relax. Our rules help ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for all visitors.
We are open rain or shine. We are predominantly an outdoor venue, so please wear suitable clothes (and footwear) to walk between exhibits. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen in the warmer months, and pack an umbrella in case of wet weather. The zoo gift shop sells ponchos, hats & sunscreen in case you forget them. Most animals don’t mind the rain, but on very hot days, some animals may be less active as they look for shade. Refunds will not be offered for inclement weather or animals resting or sleeping. To learn more about our animals on display during extreme weather conditions, click here.
Walk don't ride
Wheelchairs and prams/strollers are permitted within the zoo. Bikes (including three wheelers for toddlers), scooters, skateboards, wagons, roller-shoes/skates/blades are prohibited. Electric Scooters are permitted, however, while the Aquarium is fully accessible, there are areas within the zoo grounds that have difficult access due to slopes or gravel paths.
The safety of children is very important to us and they must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times. Unaccompanied children (15 and under) will not be permitted to enter the zoo. School students must be accompanied by a supervising adult at all times.
As we are a quarantine facility, members of the public are prohibited from bringing any pets/animal(s) onto the grounds or into the car park at any time. In hot weather, it is dangerous to leave a pet locked in a vehicle. Please leave your pets at home.
The National Zoo and Aquarium is currently reviewing how they can manage access for Assistance Dogs in the zoo this year. If you need further information now, please contact the zoo by email at [email protected] and provide a phone number and we will contact you to see how we can assist.
To decrease fire hazard and ensure the safety and health of visitors, staff, and animals, smoking is not permitted in the public areas at the zoo. However, there are designated smoking areas located on your zoo map.
Please don't feed the animals
Our animals have scientifically formulated diets to ensure their health and well-being. Human food may make them sick. Members of the public are not to feed the animals at any stage (unless accompanied by a zoo keeper). Balloons, streamers, confetti and other choking hazards are prohibited at all times.
Rails, moats, and other barriers between you and our animals are there to protect you and the animals from harm. It is especially important not to lift children over rails or rest them on railings, or let them stick fingers or arms through fences. Remember, zoo animals are wild animals. Children must be supervised by an accompanying adult at all times. Unaccompanied children (15 and under) will not be permitted to enter the zoo.
You are welcome to bring your own food into the zoo, and make use of our picnic and BBQ facilities. Please note however, that alcohol is not permitted within the zoo grounds (unless by prior arrangement in relation to a function booking).
Put all of your rubbish in bins and use the Recycling Bins when appropriate. Help us to keep our zoo clean.
Whistles of any type are not to be brought into or used on the zoo grounds by visitors under any circumstances. These are used by zoo staff in the event of an animal emergency.
Visitors are permitted to use still cameras and video cameras for the recording of zoo images for personal use only. Visitors are permitted to bring tripods and are encouraged to take photographs for their personal use and to share their memories with family and friends. All visitors using such equipment are required to stay in visitor areas and to be considerate of other zoo users. Photographs/videos taken from visitor areas or during official behind-the-scenes activities may be shared via social media with appropriate credits.
Photographers wishing to market and sell their photos of zoo animals must contact the zoo for permission. A fee may be payable, and is determined on an individual case by case basis.
Email [email protected] for more information
We have the authority to close any part of the Zoo, including any animal exhibit (animals off display) or cancel a Keeper Talk at any time for reasons such as adverse weather, equipment failure, maintenance and construction, or in the interests of safety. We will not be liable for any loss or expense incurred by a guest as the result of such closure.