Last minute lady

The Washington DC Zoo

Recently I took my daughter to Washington DC for a quick overnight trip. We stayed in the Dupont Circle area at a lovely hotel called the Churchill, named of course for Winston himself. I loved this location because we could walk outside and down the street and be surrounded by great restaurants and shops. I highly recommend it.

But the best part of staying there was the Smithsonian National Zoo , which was also just a short walk from the hotel. For the most part, I love zoos, but I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about them at times. I feel bad for animals that are stuck in captivity and should be running free in their native element. Have you ever looked at the face of an orangutan and just thought, “boy that guy really looks unhappy?”

Any feelings of reservation for zoos went out the window at this place. First of all, the animals have a larger amount of land to roam in their habitats than I have seen at other zoos. They seemed healthy and comfortable, at least from my vantage point. The conditions were clean and well cared for.

But also exciting is the fact that this zoo also has over 3,200 acres of land in Virgina where they literally breed endangered species and try to bring these precious animals back into our world. At the zoo, you could see various examples of these animals, like the cheetahs, the oryx and the Przewalski Horse, which looks like a pony but it’s really a horse. While the cheetah is endangered and at risk, this horse is technically extinct in the “real world.” I thought that was really cool that we could not only see animals we wouldn’t see anywhere else, but we could learn about them and learn to help them. The zoo takes a bold stance in explaining to people in clear terms how some animals, like the cheetah, are endangered because of poachers using the animals for fur. It was eye-opening to see the facts in front of you and meaningful to be able to explain this to a child.


Our favorite part of the zoo was the giant pandas. The 2 1/2 year old baby of the three came right over to where we were standing and put on a show for us, chomping away at his bamboo endlessly. He was so cute!


If you can’t make it to DC, they actual have live animal cams, including a panda cam, that you can view from your desktop.

11 Responses to “The Washington DC Zoo”

  1. Susan Duffy says:

    Does anyone know the name of a magazine that has (among other items)architectural shapes for initials that spell your name and written by this item is “Rachael’s Favs”?
    I’ve misplaced the magazine and want
    to order this! Help!

  2. John says:

    Sounds like fun, I will have to check it out.

  3. momof4 says:

    GREAT tip! Just moved to Virginia and alway’s looking for fun ideas. THANKS!

  4. horselover21 says:

    Cool! I love animals and I’m going to Virginiia on a missions trip this summer. Can’t wait to check it out if i’m able to.

  5. Arina says:

    Hi Rachael,
    Since you are on the East Coast, is there any chance that you will be in Delaware at all?? I know there isn’t that much to do here, but we do love food here too and do have some cool place to see. I always watch the cooks on the Food Network that travel the states to find cool places to eat at, but I have, yet, to see anyone in Delaware. We aren’t that bad. Hope to see you here!!

  6. ejfaires says:

    The zoo in DC is also free. This is one of the best public access parks in the DC area. I have visted the zoo severla times and look forward to visiting again.

    The lat time I was there they also had some animals that had free range and you would see them all over the park.

  7. Hey Rach, watch you every day. thought you might find this amusing, when I was first married, my first meal that I fixed for my new husband was spaghetti from a box. when I drained the pasta from the water, it all went into the sink, so had to retrieve. or no meal. since then, I have learned to make spaghetti sauce from scratch & it is very good. We have been married more than 53yrs, & I still learn many things from cooks like you. so keep up the good work & teach me many more things.

  8. Shelly says:

    I grew up close to DC and visited regularly. While the zoo was fine, I will not take my family there because in the last few years they have lost several animals to malnutrition. I don’t get how that can happen with trained zoologists. From the report of national acadamies, Feb 25, 2004:
    “the report examines the circumstances that led to the deaths of an elephant, two red pandas, and a zebra. In other instances, incomplete records or conflicting accounts from zoo personnel prevented the committee from drawing conclusions about whether an animal’s death was linked to inadequate care or management.”

  9. Wendy says:

    Would the DC zoo be OK to visit in the summer ? We are planning to go to Wash Dc for a long weekend in July. Thanks !

  10. Lin Chen (My chinese name) says:

    Hey, Rach. I’m a boy in chengdu in China, the home of the panda, I like watching your show.
    You know, in chinese, people like delicious food. How about come to China and you’ll some delicious food you’ve never eat before.

  11. Lexi says:

    Raelenesutherland – I love these pierutcs of Jane in the bread bowl. The quilt is the perfect background, too.

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