Washington DC has many beautiful attractions and millions of travelers visit the place every year. Every place is worth visiting, however, for kids, zoos are always an interesting place to visit. In that regard, the National Zoological Park in DC is a must-visit place during your tours of Washington DC.
The National Zoo is located in DC’s residential Woodley Park neighborhood. The main entrance is on the Connecticut Avenue and the zoo is just a short walk from both the Cleveland Park Metro stop on the red line and the Woodley Park. The zoo stays open from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm every day, but there might be changes in the timings on national holidays.
The National Zoological Park is a part of the Smithsonian Institution and offers free admission to the visitors. This zoo was established in the year 1889 and it sits on 163 acres of land located right in the heart of Washington DC. This zoo is a home to more than 1500 animals of 400 different species, in which, around 25% of the residents are endangered. Its mission is to “provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats.”
All the animals in the National Zoological Park are cared by world-class veterinarians and zoologists. In fact, the zoo’s research team studies about the animals both in the zoo and in the wild. Some of the researches here include biodiversity monitoring, conservation biology, veterinary medicine, ecology, nutrition, behavior, and bird migration.
The endangered giant pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and Bei Bei are the center of attraction in this park. Since 1972, the national zoo has been the leader in giant panda conservation, and is currently working with China to study about the breeding and caring of these black and white beauties.
The National Zoological Park is divided into many sub zones to amaze its visitors. The main zones here are Asia trail, elephant trail, lemur island, the small mammal house, the America trail, the great ape house, the think tank, gibbon ridge, the Cheetah Conservation Station, the invertebrate exhibit, Amazonia, the reptile discovery center, the birdhouse, American Bison exhibit, and the kid’s farm.
On Saturdays and Sundays, you can take a guided tour of this zoo with an animal expert and can spend time chatting with the animal keepers at the Great Ape House. The National Zoo also hosts special events like Snore and Roar summer campouts for kids over six and their parents. Boo at the Zoo, Zoolights, and trick-or-treating are among other special events for kids. For adults, there are events like Brew at the zoo and Zoofari.