This weekend Lillian celebrated her 8th birthday, and like most birthday before this one, we spent the day at the National Zoo. Our family chooses to celebrate birthdays as a family and enjoying an experience over a party (more on that at a later time).
Today I am going to share my best tips for making your day at the National Zoo a great one!
- Transportation — I break all the rules on this one. The best and most often given advice is to use the Metro (D.C. form of mass transportation). We have done this once before and I really do highly recommend it. When using the Metro, there are 2 stops that are equal distance from the zoo entrance. Use the Cleveland Park stop it saves you from yet another hill you would have to climb by taking the Woodley Park stop. More about the uphill battles in a bit. We usually opt to drive for a few reasons. One, my husband knows his way around the area pretty well, and is confident in finding parking even if the lots provided by the zoo are full (they fill up FAST and there also is a cost of $22 to park), also I just have a bit less anxiety with driving.
- Cost — The zoo itself is completely FREE! Is it part of the Smithsonian Institute which means there is no admission charge. In my opinion food is a bit pricey (however very good), but you do have the option of bringing a picnic meal with you! Like previously mentioned parking is $22. There are also stroller rentals as well if you need them. Souvenirs are also available throughout the zoo. My kids are obsessed with stuffed animals so typically that is what we head home with.
- A Few Notes — (1) The zoo is literally on a hill. It is A LOT of walking. If we have the choice of parking, we tend to park on the bottom of the hill, walk to the top, and then spend our time at the zoo walking back downhill making our way to the car at the bottom. The large hill is unavoidable, so remember that when determining what all you want to bring into the zoo, or if you will need a stroller. (2) The zoo has so many amazing animals and features to it. We find that when we go in the morning we have better luck with seeing the most activity. The elephants are by far my daughters favorite. (3) The main attraction is the Panda, however don’t get your heart set on sighting it. In the numerous times we have visited, we have only ever spotted it twice. (4) The Kids Farm is a great spot for the little ones who want to get up close and personal with animals. Cows, Goats, Donkeys, it really is a great spot for the younger crowd.
- Crowds — I am not a huge fan of crowds. Going in the morning really helps, and also picking an off peak date/time will ensure you have less crowds to deal with. The main issues with the crowds are the seating a meal locations, and inside locations become extremely hard to navigate in when crowded.
I hope this helps make your trip to the zoo a bit easier and adds to the fun. For more informations including hours and construction info you can visit the NATIONAL ZOO WEBSITE
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