If you thought you had to travel to Africa to get up close with some of the world’s most exotic animals you thought wrong. The National Zoo in Washington, DC features some of the most interesting animals on the planet, many of whom are endangered.
The 163-acre zoo, which is located on Connecticut Avenue, is home to nearly 3,000 animals, representing nearly 400 species. Here, you can find Asian elephants, orangutans, cheetahs, zebras and bison, to name a few.
After living in the DC for nearly two years, I finally got a chance to spend the day at this beautiful zoo.
Everything about this place is Instagram worthy, from its fabulous entryway, which features lion statues to its zoo sign, which never fails to attract Instagrammers of all ages.
Here are some reasons why you need to put The National Zoo on your bucket list now.
1. Experience Exotic Animals For Free
Remember those breathtaking photos that your coworker showed off about her African safari? Remember how jealous you felt? Well, guess what? She paid an arm and a leg for that once-in-a-lifetime trip. By going to The National Zoo, you’ll get to see many of the same animals your coworker saw, except you won’t have to pay a dime.
Entry to The National Zoo is free. Besides, you can linger around until you get the perfect view of the animal. It’s not like on a safari when you have a limited time to interact or sightsee.
2. Amazing Zoo Selfies
Prepare for lots of oohs and aah when you show off your fun zoo selfies. Few people actually interact with or have ever seen a panda. So the fact that you’ve got a photo of one is a big deal. You’ll create Instagram envy quickly.
3. Your Visit Helps Endangered Species
Twenty-five percent of The National Zoo’s animals are endangered. And while admission to the zoo is free, most people do spend money on food, drinks and gift shop purchases that help to maintain the zoo and ultimately support the animals. So, it’s a fun way to do your part to not only help the planet, but to keep animals here for future generations to see.
Imagine your grandchild growing up and not ever being able to see a tiger, giant panda or orangutan, all of whom are on the endangered species list.
We want to keep these animals here for our grandkids. Your visit helps support those efforts.
4. It’s Clean Family Fun
There are few places left where people can truly have a clean, fun-filled experience with all ages. It’s the perfect spot for families, especially those with younger kids, who are generally excited to finally see animals they only see on TV. I also find that people are generally much nicer at zoos, too.
5. It’s A Fun Learning Experience
Just the mere thought of opening a book puts some people to sleep. But, when it’s interactive learning, they are more likely to be engaged and eager to learn.
I learned so much about pandas and zebras on my recent visit to the zoo, and it didn’t even feel like learning. For example, I never knew that zebras had different stripe patterns. I also didn’t know that giant pandas spend over 10 hours a day eating. Pandas can eat up to 84 pounds of bamboo per day. Now, that’s a healthy appetite.
These were fun facts that made learning easy. It’s one hell of an experience.
6. The National Zoo Is Great For Exercise
Prepare to build leg muscle and maybe lose a few pounds at The National Zoo. Much like DC’s National Mall, this place is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. You will be walking great distances, but it’s one of those activities that are so fun to do it won’t feel like exercise. Don’t be surprised if you step on the scale after your visit and are a few pounds lighter.
7. It’s Accessible
The zoo is very accessible for individuals who are handicapped or differently abled. Parents with strollers won’t have a hard time navigating through the park either. There is plenty of space and great ramps for wheelchairs and other aides. You won’t feel left out.
Plan Your Visit
The National Zoo operates daily 8am to 4pm. It’s located at 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW DC.
To visit the zoo, you will have to reserve tickets online and you will have to adhere to Covid-19 protocol.
The closest metro station to the zoo is the Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan station or Cleveland Park.