Any employee at the zoo not directly connected to the care and maintenance of animals and their exhibits is considered non-essential, and would be sent home without pay if the government shuts down.
The zoo would also be forced to close to the public during what associate director of communications Pamela Baker-Masson calls peak season.
"My colleagues have really geared up for the spring season. The animals look great, the exhibits look great, the lion cubs are out. There are 101 reasons to come see us at the National Zoo, so it's very disappointing right now," Baker-Masson says.
Besides losing revenue, all zoo construction projects would also be put on hold until the government is back up and running.