Smithsonian National Zoological Park facts for kids
The front entrance to the National Zoo
|Location||Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., United States|
|Land area||163 acre (0.66 km²)|
|Number of animals||Zoo: 2,000
CRC: 30-40 Endangered Species
|Number of species||400|
|Major exhibits||Amazonia, Asia Trail, Giant Panda Habitat, Great Ape House, Think Tank|
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not charge admission. It began in 1889 and wants to be a leader in animal care, science, education, sustainability, and visitor experience. It is also called the National Zoo. The Zoo has two campuses. The first is a 163-acre (0.66 km2) urban park in northwest Washington, D.C.. It is 20 minutes from the National Mall by Metro. It offers family fun, excitement and interesting education programs. The other campus is the 3,200-acre (13 km2) Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center (SCBI; formerly known as the Conservation and Research Center) in Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI is not open to the public. It is for training wildlife professionals in conservation biology and to propagating rare species through natural means and assisted reproduction. The National Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Altogether, the two facilities contain some 2,000 animals of 400 different species.
The National Zoo was created by an Act of Congress in 1889 for “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.” In 1890 it became a part of the Smithsonian Institution. Three well-known people planned the Zoo: Samuel Langley, third Secretary of the Smithsonian; William T. Hornaday, a conservationist and head of the Smithsonian's vertebrate division; and Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect. They designed a new zoo to show animals for the public and to serve as a refuge for wildlife, such as bison and beaver, which were rapidly vanishing from North America.
The National Zoo has been the home to giant pandas for more than 30 years. First Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling in 1972, and, since 2000, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. On July 9, 2005, Mei Xiang gave birth to Tai Shan, who went to China in February 2010.
The zoo is supported by taxes and is open to everyone. About 2 million people visit each year, according to the Washington Post in 2005.
Special programs and events
- Woo at the Zoo
- Earth Day Clean-Up
- Guppy Gala
- Garden Day
- Brew at the Zoo
- Sunset Serenades
- Fiesta Musical
- Grapes with the Apes
- Autumn Conservation Festival at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute(SCBI)
- Boo at the Zoo
- Night of the Living Zoo
- Snore and Roar
Exhibits and animals
Daily programs include animal training, feeding demonstrations, and talks by zoo workers. These are exhibits at the Zoo:
- Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat: Giant pandas
- Asia Trail: Sloth bears, fishing cats, red pandas, clouded leopards, Asian small-clawed otters, and giant pandas.
- Great Ape House: Geoffroy's marmosets, Golden lion tamarins, Bornean orangutans, Western lowland gorillas, and howler monkeys.
- Gibbon Ridge: Siamangs.
- Lemur Island: Ring-tailed, and red-fronted lemurs.
- Invertebrate Exhibit: Coral, spiny lobsters, giant African millipedes, tarantulas, and giant Pacific octopuses.
- Amazonia: Arapaima, glass frogs, lemur frogs, pacu, Panamanian golden frogs, river stingrays, red-bellied piranhas, red-tailed catfish, sunbitterns, two-toed sloths, titi monkeys, and poison dart frogs.
- Small Mammal House: Golden lion tamarins, black and rufous giant elephant-shrews, three-banded armadillos, prehensile-tailed porcupines, naked mole rats, treeshrews, and collared peccaries.
- Lion/Tiger Hill
- Bird House
- Kids’ Farm
- Seals and Sea Lions Exhibit
- Valley Trail
Images for kids
Smithsonian National Zoological Park Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.