The safety and security of the visitors, staff and animals are the No. 1 priority at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. The Zoo has an existing perimeter that currently has 13 pedestrian entrances. To improve the Zoo’s overall security and visitor experience, the number of pedestrian entrances will be decreased to three—Connecticut Avenue, the lower Zoo (Harvard Street) and the bus parking area near giant panda habitat. These are the three entrances that the vast majority of visitors use now.
Limiting the number of ways people enter the Zoo will enhance security and safety year-round. For the past four years during high visitation days or when there has been an increased threat level, security at these entrances has included bag checks and additional screening. The Zoo will continue this practice. On most days, visitors will use these three entrances as they do now.
The only part of the Visitor Access and Security Fencing Project proposal put forward to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) for approval is the installation of additional fencing, which will begin in 2019. Although the proposal before NCPC refers to additional phased security concepts, these proposals are not under review by NCPC at this time. The Smithsonian is committed to engaging in a public process before submitting new security concepts for review by NCPC. Comments can be submitted to the Smithsonian via NZP-CommunityOutreach@si.edu.
For answers to some of the most-asked questions regarding the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Security-Access Plan, please see the Security-Access Plan FAQs page.
Photos, from left to right: The Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue entrance, a map showing the Zoo’s current 13 existing pedestrian entry points, a map showing the proposed three pedestrian entry points