After a second wave of closures in the fall, the Smithsonian announced today that the National Zoo, National Portrait Gallery, and five more Smithsonian museums will go through a staggered reopening starting May 5. (Per guidance from the DC government, museums, galleries, and exhibits will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity starting May 1.)
The first Smithsonian to reopen will be the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on May 5, with tickets available starting on April 23. The American Art Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and National Portrait Gallery will welcome visitors starting on May 14, followed a week later by the National Museum of American History, National Museum of the American Indian, and National Zoo on May 21. We recommend checking each location’s website in advance to confirm modified hours.
The Smithsonian first closed its doors in March 2020 due to the onset of Covid-19. Some attractions, like the Zoo, reopened during the summer. But when cases began to rise in November, the cultural institution shuttered its buildings once more. With the exception of the Smithsonian gardens, all have remained closed through the winter.
Even though Covid restrictions are relaxing, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic—so expect to adhere to health precautions. Masks are required and museum cafes will remain closed. Visitors must reserve a free timed-entry pass at each facility
But most adorably, you can finally meet baby panda Xiao Qi Ji.