The Playful Parent



Adventure to where the wild things are by visiting The National Zoo in Washington, DC. Since the zoo is owned by the Smithsonian, admission is free. However, parking can be expensive ($22) and the lot fills up fast so get there early. If you take the metro my advice is to arrive at Cleveland Park Metro stop because it is a downhill walk to the main entrance on Connecticut Ave. When you leave use the Woodley Park station.

One of the best discovers I found at the zoo is a mini splash pad by the seals. My kids loved cooling of by running through the water. If your children are sensitive to being soggy bring an extra change of clothing. The kids also enjoy the Carousel, located across from the Prairie Dog Playground.


  1. There isn’t much shade and the zoo is built on a big hill. Make sure you take breaks and stay hydrated.
  2. Pack a lunch. The food at the zoo is over priced and not all that good. You can make lunch fun by using animal shaped cookie cutters.
  3. Prepare for the crowd and know your kid. If they get tired or like to run off have a stroller or a kid harness. Dress in bright colors and write your phone number in the tag of their shirt. Don’t forget sun screen, hat and sun glasses for hot days.
  4. Make it a learning experience. Prepare for the trip by reading books and talking about different animals and their habitats. Make a zoo passport to bring during the day of the trip. Pack animal themed toys or books for the road trip to the zoo.



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