Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute

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The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not charge for admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to "provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats".

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Enjoy the holiday lights at the National Zoo for free this year! Your family will see mesmerizing lights, eat delicious treats, and hear some jolly tunes to get you into the holiday spirit. There will also be great opportunities for holiday shopping. Passes are required for entry and will be available soon, so check back. Also, keep in mind there is a parking fee.
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Pose next to the beloved Smokey Bear, the poster animal for preventing forest fires, at the National Zoo. Along the commemorative trail, you will also see reproductions of vintage Smokey Bear posters and photos of the real Smokey Bear that once called this zoo home. Want to learn more about preventing forest fires? Check out smokeybear.com where kids can print out hands-on activities.
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DC is one of the few places in the United States you can see pandas IRL. Check out DC's cutest residents at the National Zoo. While there, be sure to play in the Pollinator Playground and seek out your favorite creatures from tigers to bald eagles. Admission is free!
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The National Zoo ticks off all the fall hike boxes: changing leaves, guaranteed animal sightings and well-paved, easy to walk trails. Due to COVID, you do need to reserve your free pedestrian pass prior to a visit (car reservations are now $30 and include entry for up to 4 visitors), but with well-controlled crowds you can rest assured that your walk in these woods will be socially-distanced. The Olmsted Walk, a .8 mile trail that winds from the front to the back of the zoo, is currently open.
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Affordable outings that are fun for all the family don't get much better than Washington, D.C. National Zoological Park, a free zoo that is open all year round. Of course, that does mean that it’s often packed with crowds and strollers, but if you go off-season you can take in almost all the exhibits in one visit. These include 1,500 animals, ranging from rare pandas to giant salamanders, via elephant trails and lounging lions.
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Wheelchair Accessible
Good for Kids
Accepts Credit Cards

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