The National Zoo, a 163-acre park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (the man who charted Central Park), is immense but feels intimate and easy to navigate thanks to the wide paths and well-organized exhibits. Best of all, it's totally free. The pandas are always a big draw but we’re especially fond of the Great Ape House and its youngest addition, Kibibi the gorilla. A great place for a game of "double-triple-dare-you" is the touch tank where you can handle sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and even giant tarantulas. The National Zoo tops the list of the best things to do in Washington D.C. with kids, the nearly overwhelming amount of exhibits will keep you occupied for hours. There's no way you'll see all of the 400 species here, but give yourself at least half a day to catch the main attractions: leopards, sloth bears, giraffes, and lions. Come before 1PM—any later and the crowds are overwhelming and the animals are likely to be napping (they’re the most active before 10AM).
Attractions & Landmarks, Animal Life, Educational, Sports and the Outdoors
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