The National Zoo, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, and six museums in D.C. are slated to reopen in May.

Some of the best (and free) attractions in D.C. are about to reopen to the public. The National Zoo and seven Smithsonian museums will reopen starting in May. The zoo and museums closed back in November by order of Mayor Bowser to help curb the rise of coronavirus during the winter holidays. If you want to visit the museums, you will need to sign up online for timed entry passes, wear masks, and follow social distancing guides.

The Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia will be the first to reopen on May 5, 2021. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Renwick Gallery will open on May 14, 2021; the National Zoo, National Museum of American History, and National Museum of the American Indian will reopen on May 21, 2021. The rest of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall will remain closed for now.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Photo by Albert Ting

The museums may have limited hours and select exhibits, theaters, and retail shops may be closed. Museum cafes will also be closed except for the food trucks at the National Zoo. All visitors over age two must wear a mask and follow social distancing guides and pathways. There will be hand sanitizing stations and frequent cleaning of high traffic spaces.

All visitors must get a timed entry pass online before visiting. Passes can be reserved starting one week prior to opening at Guests can reserve up to six passes at a time, with groups larger than six prohibited. Zoo visitors can also get separate passes for the Asia Trail/Giant Pandas exhibit the day of at the zoo. 

Which museum do you want to visit first? Let us know in the comments.