Let’s Explore DC: Smithsonian National Zoo


We love walking around the National Zoo. We seem to have a different experience every time we go, discovering new animals or exhibits as we walk around. The zoo is so big (163 acres) so, a lot of our trip depends on which entrance we go to.  The Connecticut Ave entrance is right by the “Asia Trail” with the Pandas and Elephants. The Harvard Bridge entrance is right by the “Big Cats”, the lions and tigers. Also, keep in mind that the zoo is one giant hill, the top being the Connecticut Ave entrance. Zoo parking is extremely limited and we never seem to get there early enough in the day to get it, so we find street parking or take the metro to the Woodley Park stop.

The last time we went, we had hubby’s parents and Oliver so we went in the Connecticut Ave entrance because we found parking close by.  We took the Asia trail to see the sloth bears, fishing cats, red pandas, leopards, otters, Japanese giant salamander and giant pandas.

Of course, there is nothing cuter than a panda, except a baby panda! Luckily for us, there is Bei Bei. The Giant Panda Habitat is home to four giant pandas: Tian Tian (adult male), Mei Xiang (adult female), Bao Bao (juvenile female), and a male cub named Bei Bei. If you need a panda fix, you can watch the panda cam here.

We continued walking along the zoo path and saw the Asian Elephants which can be see from a number of different view points, depending on where they are. We went over their habitat on a bridge as well as inside the indoor Elephant Community Center, where we got an up close view of a couple of the elephants. Fun fact: Asian elephants have small ears and African elephants have big ears.

Our group stopped at the Panda Plaza to grab some popcorn and look at the gift shop. Opa and Oma bought Oliver a little cheetah stuffed animal that he loved and kept throwing out of the stroller. Then we headed down to the Small Mammals house, which houses animals like chinchillas, skunks, and monkeys.

After only a couple of hours, we decided to make this the end of our downhill descent, mostly because we had to turn around and trek back up the hill and out of the zoo to get to our car. We stopped to see the Bird House on our way back and we also did a diaper change on one of the benches. We’re getting pretty good at diaper changes anytime, anywhere.

After our long, uphill walk back to the entrance we said goodbye to the zoo until next time.


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