82°Partly Cloudy

Petition Launched to Keep Zoo Hours the Same – Later Hours Set to Start Jan. 1st

by Prince Of Petworth December 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm 23 Comments


Back in early November we learned about the new later zoo hours effective Jan. 1st. Some folks are pretty pissed and a petition has been launched to reverse the decision:

“Proposed change of National Zoo opening time to 8 AM eliminates a safe place to exercise before work. Keep the 6 AM opening time, which makes the Zoo a fitness resource for all the surrounding Washington DC neighborhoods. Walkers and runners are happy to help keep the Zoo secure by reporting anything unusual to the Zoo police.”




  • anon

    Ok people, it’s not security from a ‘suspicious activity’ activity, it’s about security of the general populace while they have delivery/construction/zoo vehicles roaming around prior to opening so they can get their work done. WE are getting in the way of them performing the necessary work to keep the zoo running.

    • This is all about money, not “safety.” Zoo service vehicles are driving slowly on wide roads, hitting joggers is not now, and never was, a problem. But every opening hour costs money and the zoo has decided there are better uses for their limited finances.

  • mtp

    I’m indifferent about the overall zoo hours. It’s silly to keep the entire zoo open for joggers. But this totally sucks for people who use the Rock Creek Trail to commute. Especially people in Mount Pleasant. The small loop around the tunnel will be closed requiring bikers/walkers/runners to use the narrow strip of pavement in the tunnel. And most dangerously the Harvard Street bridge will be closed requiring pedestrians to run across a busy section of Beach Drive with no crosswalk.
    I hope they can figure out a way to keep the Harvard Street gate open and the trail gates open for the normal hours.

    • KenyonDweller

      Exactly, it would be nice if they could preserve the route around the tunnel, which is not safe.

    • LP

      I run the path around the tunnel regularly, and there are no signs posted that the path will have different hours. I think this is for just the Zoo parking lots/road and not for the pedestrian/bike path.

      • ANB

        I think one of the issues is that, if you usually enter/exit, that path from Harvard Street, you’d have to cross traffic at Beach Drive to get out since the gates that provide access to the sidewalks that run through the zoo would be locked. I suppose that you could keep going until you reached Porter to exit the path, but that adds a bit of time to your commute.

      • mtp

        I also run the path. This is most definitely for both the and the Harvard Street bridge.
        Unfortunately I think a lot of commuters/runners are going to be very surprised.

  • Jdc

    Would these people be willing to pay the zoo a fee like they would a gym membership? You can’t just get mad because the zoo isn’t open for you to use their trails for non zoo-related purposes.

    • Caroline

      They could do something like the Congressional Cemetery does for dog walkers. Like maybe only FONZ members can get in outside of normal operating hours.

    • MtPNeighbor

      I am happy to pay the zoo. I do so as a FONZ member and a supporter of some of their specific initiatives. Also, when I run through the zoo I do enjoy the animals and other exhibits. When use the adjoining trails, I am enjoying the creek, the woods, and the wildlife. These are all zoo-related activities.

      • V

        you CAN’T. It’s the Smithsonian and it’s supposed to be free free FREE…. you can’t just throw money at a situation just because it suits you. #entitlement

    • Rich

      More likely they want the public to pay admission to subsidize their running space. Checkout the GGW comments from when this was first announced. The walking trail issue should be fixed but ghere no need for the zoo to be an exercise area.

  • TX2DC

    This “petition for everything little thing” business is getting ridiculous.

    • wdc

      There was an article in the NYT about “microcomplaints.” I couldn’t read the whole thing because it made me angry. Yes, I recognize the irony.

      • TinkerTaylor

        Try and avoid directing microagressions at those with microcomplaints and you’ll have our microadmiration.

    • V

      agreed. it’s american entitlement at its worst. you can’t always get what you want.

  • dcd

    “But, but, but . . . that’s where we RUN!”
    The most ridiculous comment in the petition goes to Kevin Heffel of Washington, DC, for, “The Zoo’s decision to close from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. effectively excludes District residents like me from visiting the zoo, because I am otherwise at work.” Congratulations, or something.

  • ledroittiger

    I love that this posting was filed to “hail mary”!

  • DCDuchess

    The constant petitions just make me glaze over – whatever the cause is.

    And aren’t there any gyms in Cleveland Park? I would think its not safe to run at 6am, in the dark through heavily wooded areas, but hey, what do i know. Are other zoos open for joggers etc at 6am?

    • Anonymous

      People from all over run in that area at that hour, not just Cleveland Park-ers. And gym != running.

  • NorthbyNE

    Besides this MoveOn petition, there is a more formal effort led by Jack McKay of ANC1D (Mt. Pleasant) to keep the trails open for commuters. Given the recent dysfunction of that ANC, though, I doubt anything will come of it.

  • CAS

    Also a bummer for drivers who use the Zoo as a shortcut onto Rock Creek parkway in the mornings.


Subscribe to our mailing list