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No more timed-entry passes at most museums starting today, Smithsonian announces

Only the National Zoo and the National Museum of African American History and Culture will still require the passes.

WASHINGTON — Timed-entry passes are now a thing of the past at most of the Smithsonian’s famous museums. 

Starting Tuesday, July 20, most of the museums will phase out the timed-entry system implemented after reopening in the COVID-19 pandemic. Just three locations will continue requiring the pre-reserved tickets: the National Zoo, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York City. 

For the National Museum of African American History and Culture, “timed-entry passes are released up to 30 days in advance on a rolling basis. A limited number of same-day timed-entry passes are released throughout each day, beginning at 8:15 a.m. Passes are no longer released three months in advance,” according to the website’s FAQ page. 

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At the National Zoo, take note that viewing the Asia Trail and pandas requires an additional pass that you can reserve on-site at the time of your visit. 

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Both locations require timed-entry passes for all visitors, regardless of age. 

CLICK HERE to reserve passes for the National Zoo.

CLICK HERE to reserve passes for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Museums on the National Mall will also return to their pre-pandemic hours, which for most museums is 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you’ve already reserved a pass for July 20 or later, it simply won’t be scanned. You’ll enter the museum as a walk-up visitor, along with everyone else.

Those attempting to reserve tickets for a museum that still requires a pass will need to take note of the rules that have remained in place. Visitors can reserve passes up to 30 days in advance. Passes are released on a 30-day rolling basis at 8 a.m. ET each day. Visitors will only be able to secure up to six passes for personal use only.

The Smithsonian also notes that those still on the timed-entry pass system are operating at a limited capacity and of course, passes will often sell out. “We encourage visitors to check back online regularly, as more passes may become available the week or day of your planned visit,” it reads on the website. “Some locations may be able to accommodate walk-up visitors if the building is not at full capacity, but we cannot guarantee entrance to visitors without a timed-entry pass.”


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