Our 3 “Can’t Miss” Spots at the Smithsonian National Zoo

National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian National Zoo is much more than your average zoo! It is a beautiful park on 163 acres with incredible animals (pandas!) and also a live action science research institute with the motto,”We Save Species!” 

We’ve been visiting this Zoo for 8 years as a date location, with out of town guests and now as parents! Below are our favorite 3 “Can’t Miss” Spots at the National Zoo for each of the 3 age groups. If you want more for each age group, check out our National Zoo Family Trip Guide for $5.

1) Can’t Miss For Babies and Toddlers – Kid’s Farm 

Located at the bottom of the hill near Parking Lot D, the Kid’s Farm is tons of fun for this age! There are tons of friendly animals including cows, hogs, chickens, the goofiest alpacas and the funniest goats (on a playground!). There’s also tons of hands on activities/little games to play along the wooden pathway and also high fences to keep the running toddler along the path. 

Lucky, Anglo-nubian Goat, Ethel, Nigerian Dwarf Goat & Iris, Anglo-nubian Goat Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

2) Can’t Miss for Elementary Age – Free Daily Programs 

There are TONS of Daily programs that change based on the weather and animal availability so make sure to check at the Info Kiosk or online at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/visit/daily-events for your particular day. Our kids loved watching the Zookeepers brushing Jetty the seal’s teeth! 

National Zoo DC Smithsonian Jetty the Seal

Couple Programs to highlight below: 

  • 9:45 AM Highlights Tour
  • 11 AM Red Panda or Giant Panda Keeper Talk 
  • 1 PM Gorilla Keeper Talk 
  • 2 PM Indoor Panda Feeding 
  • 3 PM Meet a Reptile or Amphibian
     

3) Can’t Miss for Teens (and everyone!) – Giant Pandas! 

Male Giant Panda "Tai Shan" (*2005) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. Under Creative Commons License. Photographer: Fernando Revilla
Male Giant Panda “Tai Shan” (*2005) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. Under Creative Commons License. Photographer: Fernando Revilla

The Giant Pandas at the National Zoo are really the main attraction and for good reason! They are a leader in giant panda conservation and currently there are 3 pandas at the Zoo. You can view them in their indoor home at the Panda House on the Asia Trail or outside in their beautiful habitat. The Red Panda nearby is also adorable and has been known to be very mischievous even escaping into DC once!  

Remember, if you want more for each age group, check out our National Zoo Family Trip Guide! Happy Exploring!

I hope you have a wonderful time learning and exploring this amazing Zoo! Check out downloading the Guides for tons more info on the National Zoo including Parking, Food Options inside and outside the Zoo, and Gift Shop Alternatives for each age group. Plus all Guides come with a Passport for your kids to use on their Smithsonian Adventures!  

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