Q: What’s white, black and cute all over?
A: Baby panda Bao Bao!
Head over the National Zoo in between Woodley Park and Cleveland Park for a great time for kids of all ages.
A few highlights to consider:
Panda fever seems to hit the DC area every time there is a baby cub in town, so be prepared for a little line inside the Panda House. It’s definitely worth the wait. I recommend going during this time of year before the flocks of school buses head to the zoo this Spring and Summer.
It’s free! No admission fees whatsoever. Keep in mind, you’ll likely spend a few dollars at the gift shop or on warm beverages. We bought a cool $8 panda spinning light for our 8-month-old during our last visit, but there are reasonably priced gifts for everyone.
Bring your camera or charge your Smartphone. There is a lot to see while you’re at the zoo. I recommend starting with the Asia Trail. Smithsonian invested millions of dollars to revamp this exciting side of the park. You can see the baby otters playing, fall in love with the sloth bears, and wild cats. If you get the sensation that someone is watching you, it’s most likely the red panda in the tree peering down on you. The planners made sure you would have lots of photo opps while you’re visiting – so make sure you perfect your selfie poses.
On the cold days, you can find comfort in the respective animal houses. Check out the new Elephant Community, the Think Tank, the Bird House and the Petting Zoo in the barn for educational exhibits in the heated indoors. My fear of snakes makes me steer clear of the Reptile House, but I would imagine that would be a warm place to defrost.
If you’re not into eating hot dogs, chicken tenders, fries or popcorn, I would suggest visiting some of the local restaurants. I love going to Lebanese Taverna after to get mezze. Woodley Park & Cleveland Park have quite the array of options. If you want to eat at the zoo, I recommend going to Vace to grab a few slices of delicious pizza and Italian snacks to enjoy on your walk to the zoo.
Say hi to the animals for me!