The giant panda cub Bao Bao is now on exhibit! She's spending much of her time in the trees of her outdoor exhibit, so we might get lucky and spot her...
Let’s go to the zoo and take a pleasant walk around Rock Creek Park!
The route: From our meetup point between the two lions at the west gate, we’ll enter along Olmstead Walk and spend about an hour in the zoo checking out the animals before reforming our group at the Giant Cat Exhibit and heading into Rock Creek Park. Those who want to see Giant Panda Mei Xiang and her cub Bao Bao should turn right onto the Asia Trail immediately after entering the zoo. The Asia Trail is designated one way west to east: visitors enter the panda house from the west entrance, by the red panda exhibit, and exit the east entrance.
Leaving the zoo, we'll walk upstream along Rock Creek to Boulder Bridge, where we'll cross and walk south to the vicinity of Peirce Mill, turn right onto Melvin Hazen Trail, and then left onto Connecticut Avenue to return to our starting point at the Olmstead entrance to the zoo.
The route is about 5.2 miles of smiles and should take about 2.5 hours to complete, since we'll be walking kind of slow inside the zoo. The surface is mostly paved, with some dirt paths in Rock Creek Park.
Google map: http://tinyurl.com/k3a4j7j
How to get there: The National Zoo is located south of Rock Creek Park at 3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. For Metro riders, the zoo is equidistant from Cleveland Park and Woodley Park-Zoo Metro Stations; a 0.4 mile walk south or north along Connecticut Avenue, respectively, will take you to the west zoo entrance. If you drive, the entrance to the zoo’s parking lots is at Connecticut Ave and N Rd, and parking is $16 for 3 hours or $22 for longer. (Yikes!) You're better off looking for free parallel street parking to the west of Connecticut Ave along Woodley or Cathedral Ave NW.
More here: http://tinyurl.com/pbq88aq
What to bring: Water and comfy shoes. Only service animals are allowed in the zoo, so your furry friend must stay behind. The forecast is mostly sunny and a high of 84 degrees, so don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.
Administrative stuff: There are restrooms and drinking fountains just inside the park at the Visitor Center, further to the east at the picnic pavilion near the Great Cats exhibit, and near Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park.
• Zoo website: http://tinyurl.com/4soyu
• Zoo map: http://tinyurl.com/ofqgsra
• Giant Pandas: http://tinyurl.com/ogj5yb6