The National Zoo is one of the nation's finest zoos. It was created by Congress in 1889 and designed by Frederick Law ... More
National Zoological Park
The National Zoo is one of the nation's finest zoos. It was created by Congress in 1889 and designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and New York's Central Park. The zoo is famous for its giant pandas from China but you will find all sorts of creatures, both familiar and exotic, crawling about the place.
The bottom line is that if you live in DC, the National Zoo is a nice little day diversion. It's very nicely landscaped and generally very pleasant to look at. The gift shops are lovely. The food is quite good for zoo food. However, it's a little embarassing to be called the "National Zoo." The exhibits are small. The collection of animals is small. The enclosures should be larger and more humane. The zoo is crowded and sometimes you're shoulder to shoulder filing through exhibits. If you're spending your hard earned money to fly to DC for a vacation, I would say skip the national zoo because there's probably a more comprehensive zoo closer to you.
Last week I took my grandchildren to the National Zoo in Washington DC and now desperately want to express my deepest disappointment with this visit.
Visit fall on school spring break time and there was a lot of kids in the Zoo. Our frustration started when we got ready for the lunch and came to Panda Plaza. The only hot meal was available in fast food windows where we stood in line for 35 min!!! Finally we got our lunch. All burgers were cold and one was with black hair inside. One fountain sprite had mosquitoes swimming in the cup.
Soon after this lunch we started hunting for ice-cream and bottled water. All vending machines were of no help – either “all sold out” or broken. The time was about 2.30 pm, long before Zoo closing time. A line to ice-cream kiosk was longer than it was for lunch. We said buy-buy to ice-cream.
Bottled water we found in the souvenir store. After 10 min in the line to checkout my grandson was said that this particular checkout does not accept cash and he would have to go to another checkout line which was even longer that this one. We said buy-buy to water also.
About the exhibits – they are good as it may be in the time of big reconstruction work in the Zoo. However stuff basically was not visible around. In the Invertebrate Exhibit the stuff member at the entrance was not able to tell exact location of the next performance and its time. We did not find this information inside the exhibit neither.
And the last. I think that $2 for one piece of paper with the site map is far above the imagination.
Our impression from this visit is that Zoo has not been prepared for the season, the stuff is not ready to work with lot of kids around. It is very sad because Zoo has always been the lovely place to go in DC. But not this time.
Mrs. Vera Kazakov
Montgomery Village MD
No giraffes, no polar bears, no black or grizzle bears, no hippos, no camels and no chimpanzees!!! And they call this a zoo!!! No wonder they dont charge an admission.....and did I mention very little parking too. Will be going to Baltimore from now on.
Not sure why everyone has given the zoo such bad reviews. We were there in Sept. 2010 and the weather was fair. There is a lot of walking, most of the exhibits are spread out and there are hills. Some animals were in hiding, but its like that at all zoos. Overall we spent 2 hours there and was very happy. We did rid the metro in and walk to the zoo.
I live in D.C and have been to the zoo many times. It is a lot of walking up hill and can get HOT in the summer. It is pretty clean and has good maps. The exhbits aren't bad either. it is a 3.5-4 star place
I don't fully understand some of these horrible reviews. We took our niece to the zoo this weekend and I'd have to say we had a wonderful time. Take my advice and take the metro. We drove around looking for a parking space for an hour. The panda house and elephant house were closed but they were still outside. The tiger and lions were the best! Of course, the Apes were interesting to observe too! The best part: Free! Some animals were hiding but if you had 46879 people staring at you everyday wouldn't you want to hide too? This was an awesome experience and will be going back in the fall. It was crowded when we were there and I was amazed to see how some people conducted themselves..but I guess were in DC right? Go to the zoo! It was a nice day to enjoy and we had a lot of fun!
I was very disappointed with the National Zoo. I had such fond memories of the Zoo when the pandas were introduced in the 1970s. It is painfully obvious that the Zoo is underfunded and needs serious updating. Most of the animals were in hiding and we literally could count the number of animals seen on one hand. Many of the exhibits were closed or under construction. Worse yet, the decorum allowed within the Zoo was unacceptable. Foul language, people walking around with their shirts off, and teenagers hanging out with no parental supervision. It really did ruin our experience. And it truly was isolated to the National Zoo. None of the other federally administered parks and museums-- like the Smithsonian-- were like this. We should expect more from the National Zoo-- right now, the exhibits are no better than a local zoo.
This was my first visit and I was totally disappointed!
Almost all of the animals looked they were fake. Half the animals were not out or hiding.
I am soooo glad that I did not pay to get in. The fee for parking was ok.
We went to the zoo for a fun family afternoon. We spent $50 to get there ( on the DC metro) because according the the website there was not much parking. Well when we got there there were parking spaces avaliable. Once we got there the kids were very excited to see the animals. Well, where were the animals? As we walked, following the trails we saw very few animals. The kids enjoyed being out but kept asking where are the animals. Maybe they were in hiding becuase of the crowds. I don't know what happened. Excitement was lost and I do not feel the need to go back. I think we should have just gone to the Cherry Blossom Festival, at least it appeared to be fun and exciting on the evening news. Take your chances when visiting this zoo. You many find more animals in your local park!
I'm writing this review to make sure people know that the National Zoo is nowhere near as bad as people reviewing it are saying. This zoo is one of my favorites and they have a ton of animals. Their exhibits are great; just the right size and with plenty of room to view the animals, especially at the Asia Trail areas. Many animals have indoor and outdoor areas so you'll need to visit both. My favorite parts are the Ape House and the Asia Trail. The gorillas and orangutans are awesome, especially with the new gorilla baby. Asia Trail is great though I prefer the otters and red pandas to the giant pandas. There are a whole range of different animals to see and I see nearly every one of them when I'm there. I also get great pictures.
There are a couple downsides. Firstly the zoo is pretty much always uphill so it can get tiring if you're out of shape or have strollers with you. Also there is currently construction at the elephant house and down by the wolves though you can still view all of the animals. And if you go during the summer or weekends you will have crowds. Get there early because parking is limited. I never have a problem with parking though and am always in the first or second lot. I usually get there at 9:30 and leave around 2:00, great parking and leaving when the crowds start arriving.
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