Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Zoolights

Kurt has gotten me hooked on the Panda Cam at the National Zoo. We both like to check in periodically and see what Mei Xiang and her baby Bao Bao are up to.

I’m pretty sure the Panda Cam is what got Kurt thinking about the zoo, but for whatever reason, he’s been bugging me to go for a couple of months now.

Not that it took much convincing. I love animals, and once he told me about ZooLights, I was actually really looking forward to going. I’m a sucker for Christmas lights.

We almost didn’t go this past weekend, because it was freezing out, but we ended up deciding to brave the cold.

We got off the Metro at a little after noon, walked a frigid half mile and found ourselves face to face with a couple of cheetahs.

IMG_20131207_132513_118The National Zoo is free, which is just crazy to me. Bring your own water, though. I forgot my water bottle in the car, and had to pay $3 for a bottle in the park.

Most of the public feedings and shows happen earlier in the day, but we got to see Tian Tian (Bao Bao’s father) enjoying a frozen treat.

IMG_20131207_134446_166We also lucked out and walked into the Elephant Community Center right when they were feeding the Elephants.

IMG_20131207_143642_787The trainer was asking this elephant to raise her hoofs, put her ears back, and turn in different directions, all of which she did.

We also got to see a couple of elephants pee. Wow. If you’ve never seen an elephant pee, it is quite a sight. Floodgates definitely come to mind. Just wow.

The spectacled bears were a lively bunch. They were climbing all over the place and wrestling.

The two cubs started wrestling behind me while Kurt was taking my picture.


IMG_20131207_153500_413They were really just too cute.

I loved that the animals were just free to roam around in the Amazon exhibit. Monkeys were climbing around above us.

IMG_20131207_155555_676IMG_20131207_155403_913IMG_20131207_155620_827A bird flew right into our faces, which gave us a good laugh (once we got over the initial shock).

IMG_20131207_160047_220The Bird’s name was Mike, and we’d been warned that he wasn’t afraid of people.

IMG_20131207_160037_519This is Mike.

There were so many animals to see. A few of the highlights that I didn’t get pictures of were the seals, sea lions, orangutans and huge boa constrictors. I personally loved the sloth.

Once it got dark, the lights came on.

IMG_20131207_182259_039And it got crowded. There were several rides for the kids. They had the standard carnival rides like the carousel and tea cups. There was also a cool snow-free sledding hill. I was tempted to try that one.

IMG_20131207_173933_184IMG_20131207_173254_742IMG_20131207_173753_056IMG_20131207_183558_787Hot drinks, eggnog, Kettlecorn and roasted nuts were for sale. All of it was over-priced, but the proceeds go to the zoo, so we didn’t mind paying, especially considering the zoo is absolutely free. I still have trouble believing that.

We will definitely go back. Possibly when it’s warmer. Although I wouldn’t mind making ZooLights a holiday tradition.

If you live anywhere near DC, go to ZooLights!


Author: healthyincville

Nemophilist Trail runner Introvert Animal-loving vegetarian * My ideal city would be car-free. I love my cats.

2 thoughts on “Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Zoolights”

  1. Looks like a fun trip! Elephants and bears are my favorites at the zoo 🙂 I’ve been to the National Zoo but I’ve never seen ZooLights. I’ll have to check that out the next time I’m in that area at Christmastime!

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