The National Zoo, formally named the National Zoological Park, is located in Washington, D.C. and is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. Founded in 1889, it’s one of the country’s oldest zoos. Admission is free, and it’s open every day of the year, except Christmas.
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About the National Zoo
When the zoo was created, officials strives to acquire one or two examples of as many species as possible. However, as many species of wild animals began to decline in numbers and become more difficult to find, it became apparent that something more had to be done.
In the mid 50s, the Zoo began focusing on taking better care of its animals, in addition to aiding conservation efforts. And by the 60s, the Zoo also took on work studying endangered and threatened species, as well as researching the breeding and behavior of zoo animals and how best to meet their needs. As a result, today the Zoo’s animals live in natural groupings, as they would in the wild, as opposed to alone. And many of its rare species are able to successfully breed and raise offspring.
Visiting the Zoo
Today, the Zoo hosts approximately 2 million guests each year. Many visit to see one of the Zoo’s main attractions, the giant panda habitat. The Zoo’s two pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, gave birth to a female cub, Bao Bao in 2013, and the family is being studied to learn how to preserve the species. Other popular exhibits include the Asia Trail, Elephant Trails, Lemur Island, an interactive visitor think tank, and the Great Ape House.
Enjoy your time exploring the National Zoo! And for a ride there, you can always count on Affinity!