Visiting the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC is a fun day trip for the whole family. My two-year-old absolutely loves it when we go to the zoo.
Admission to the Zoo is free, parking in one of the zoo parking lots is $22. The parking lots fill up fast so arrive early if you want to park on zoo property.
There is some street parking near the zoo and taking the metro is also a good option.
The Zoo has tons of Animal Statues throughout the park that make for great photo opportunities with your little ones. (They make for great climbing for my two year old!)
Along with the fun statues throughout the park there are a lot of LIVING Animals! We had tons of fun exploring the park and visiting the animals.
The little man loved watching some of the animals and others we moved past rather quickly.
The Giant Panda was our favorite animal to watch at the zoo. The Panda was moving all over while we were there it was fun to see her so active. Here is a video of the Panda we took on our last visit to the zoo.
If you don’t live close don’t stress you can watch the Giant Panda on the Zoo’s Giant Panda Cam.
The little man loved watching the Flamingos. They are such beautiful and brightly colored birds.
The National Zoo is set up in an awesome way so you can see some of the animals from a few different areas.
We could see the elephants from high up above and then from the side and again up close.
The Andean Bears were very active while we were at the zoo, here is a fun video we got of them playing.
After visiting the Zoo, a couple of times, I have a few tips to share to make your trip as stress free as possible with kids!
Tips for Visiting the National Zoo –
Consider Visiting during the week
During the week, there are less people at the zoo, especially during the school year. If you are going on a weekend expect larger crowds.
We just went on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago and it was more crowded than when we went during the week, but thanks to the large area of the zoo, it wasn’t too crazy. (It is always CRAZY when you’re in the area right around the pandas.)
Arrive Early in the Day
Earlier in the day there are less crowds and it is often cooler so the animals are typically more active. If you are going on a weekend arrive early especially if you want to park in one of the parking lots.
Bring A Stroller / Baby Carrier
The Zoo is situated on a hill and there is a lot of walking to see all the animals. If your kids are at the age they like to walk but still get tired and want to be carried, I would recommend bringing a stroller. (Strollers are available to rent if needed)
A baby carrier is a good option for infants, we used our Moby Wrap with our 4-month-old on our last trip to the Zoo.
I love seeing my kid’s reactions to the animals and it’s even better when I can capture that excitement.
Taking pictures is one of my favorite ways to journal about our adventures, so of course I’m going to recommend you remember to pull out your camera or phone and capture the moment.
Bring a snack or a picnic
Throughout the Zoo there are a number of tables and benches perfect for a picnic lunch. There are a few options to purchase food, we always like to bring a fun picnic of foods I know the little people will eat. If you don’t want to bring a picnic just bring a few snacks and don’t forget the water!
Don’t forget Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
With so many things to touch and explore Wipes and Hand Sanitizer are a must. My little guys hands got so dirty from picking up every rock and stick he could find and touching everything else.
Print A Map at Home
Maps are available for purchase throughout the zoo, to save money you can print a map at home and bring it with you.
Have you visited the National Zoo? Are there any tips I forgot to mention?