WASHINGTON, D.C. — The much-anticipated Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo, is returning to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery, the event is scheduled for Oct. 20, 21, and 22 from 6 to 8 p.m., offering families a spirited yet safe trick-or-treating experience. Smithsonian National Zoo members have the advantage of early admission from 5 to 6 p.m. on all three nights.
Guests will have after-hours access to popular exhibits like the Small Mammal House, Elephant Community Center, and Reptile Discovery Center. The Zoo will feature festive Halloween displays, including elaborately decorated habitats filled with jack-o’-lanterns, spooky enrichment items, and animal treats. Each attendee will receive a recyclable bag to collect sweets and surprises from around 30 booths scattered throughout the park.
Various themed vignettes will populate the Zoo’s main pathway, Olmsted Walk, adding to the event’s enchantment. These displays will include frolicking skeletons and fantastical creatures designed to entertain rather than frighten.
Tickets will be available to non-members starting Thursday, Sept. 14, at $35 each. Zoo members can buy tickets for $25. All attendees, including children over 2, will require access. Membership benefits extend to discounted parking, available for pre-purchase online at $20 per vehicle for members and $30 for non-members. Parking access will be limited to those with pre-purchased parking passes through the Zoo’s Connecticut Avenue entrance.
For those planning ride-sharing services, designated drop-off and pick-up zones are located near the Connecticut Avenue and Harvard Street entrances. Public transportation options include Metro Bus (L1 and L2) and Metro Rail (Woodley Park-Zoo and Cleveland Park), which have stops within walking distance of the main pedestrian entrance on Connecticut Avenue.
Costume-wearing is encouraged for attendees of all ages. However, adults cannot wear masks that fully cover the face or obstruct vision. Costumes should also be free of props or accessories that could be mistaken for real weapons.
The event remains popular for Halloween celebrations among Washington, D.C. area families. Due to limited capacity, tickets and parking passes are expected to sell out quickly. Event organizers encourage early planning and purchasing to avoid disappointment. All proceeds from the event will go towards animal care and conservation science at the Zoo. The event will proceed rain or shine.
For further details and ticket information, visit the Zoo’s website.