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New Exhibits

"Kid Friendly" Graphic Displays Opened at the Small Mammal House
In May, third grade students from the Capital City Public Charter School in the District's Columbia Heights neighborhood worked with Zoo staff to produce innovative graphic displays in the Small Mammal House to reflect current developments in conservation and changes in the Zoo's collection. The third graders spent the school year working closely with Small Mammal House and Exhibit Department staff to learn about the animals and to create signs that would provide information about the animals and appeal to children.

Komodo Dragon Outdoor Enclosure Opened
Komodo dragons are known for being the world's largest basking lizard. The Komodo dragons at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park now have a new 620 square foot open-air, outdoor enclosure. This new exhibit, which opened Sept. 17, allows the dragons the opportunity to bask in natural, unfiltered sunlight during warm weather months when temperatures are above 70 degrees. Although the original 714 square foot facility built in the 1980s allows sunlight to filter through overhead skylights, the exhibit's two giant lizards can now roam around the spacious yard and benefit from direct sunlight. The National Zoo was the first zoo outside Indonesia to hatch Komodo dragons. The current two adult dragons are from the first clutch of 17 eggs hatched at the Zoo in 1992. The National Zoo's participation in this breeding program has been of benefit in the study of this unique species and in helping to protect its natural habitat. The new Komodo dragon enclosure was made possible through the successful 2001 year-end "Komodos in the Sun" fund-raising campaign held by the Friends of the National Zoo.