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The Smithsonian National Zoo is not only considered one of the best zoos in the country, but it’s also one of the oldest. It first opened in 1886 as the National Museum’s Department of Living Animals.

The zoo is famous for its Giant Panda bears, not only for the bears themselves but also for what their arrival in 1972 symbolized for relations between the U.S. and China. The Giant Panda Habitat is a must-see for anyone visiting the park.

You can view the pandas from outside or stroll through the building where they’re housed to catch glimpses of them napping. Inside, you can also watch as scientists observe the pandas on a number of video screens. Want a glimpse now? Check out the live Giant Panda Cam at the zoo.

In addition to the pandas, the zoo features the Asia Trail, Elephant Trails, Great Ape House, Great Cats, and the Reptile Discovery Center.

There are two campuses to the National Zoo, including the D.C. location, which houses most of the species on exhibit, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, which is located a couple of hours away in Front Royal, VA. This non-public facility is devoted to wildlife conservation and the propagation of rare species through natural means and assisted reproduction.

Racertrips™ Tips

  • As with all of the Smithsonian museums, admission to the zoo is FREE.
  • Want to give the kids a glimpse before you go? Check out the zoo’s live web camsLion Cam | Giant Panda Cam | Elephant Cam
    Naked Mole-Rat Cam.
  • The zoo is easy to get to by Metro. Get off at the Cleveland Park Station and the zoo will be about a half-mile walk downhill.
  • Arrive early, pack water (and maybe some lunch), and give yourself 2-4 hours to explore all the park has to offer.

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      1 Review for Smithsonian National Zoological Park

      Robert

      13 Reviews

      One of the best zoos

      5/ 5

      One of the best zoos in the nation

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