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Celebrating International Family Equality Day at the Zoo

On May 5, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute welcomed thousands of visitors to celebrate community and diversity in recognition of International Family Equality Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Zoo visitors enjoyed special animal encounters and keeper talks, live musical entertainment, family-friendly activities and more.

The Zoo’s animal care and nutrition sciences departments worked together to create rainbow-themed enrichment items and edible treats for the animals to enjoy, including ice cakes decorated with colorful fruits and vegetables. Enrichment — including toys, activities and exhibits — encourages animals to use their natural behaviors, and gives them an opportunity to exercise choice and control over how they spend their time.

Zoo visitors joined in on the fun, too. Field games, a performance by D.C.’s Different Drummers, an ice cream social and a free temporary tattoo booth with volunteers from the DC Center for the LGBTQ Community made the day extra special.

Check out some favorite photos from the celebration!

A giant panda takes a bite of a rainbow-themed ice treat for International Family Equality Day at the Zoo

The giant pandas enjoyed rainbow-themed fruitsicle cakes made by the Zoo's Department of Nutrition Sciences.

Two gibbons with thick black fur sit on top of separate tree trunks eating special red and blue ice treats for International Family Equality Day at the Zoo

The Zoo's siamangs also enjoyed brightly colored ice treats.

Three golden lion tamarins perched on a tree branch above a rainbow sign that says "International Family Equality Day!"

Three golden lion tamarins discovered a sign painted for International Family Equality Day.

Two naked mole-rats eat a special heart-shaped treat for International Family Equality Day at the Zoo

The naked mole-rat colony feasted on heart-shaped treats.

A meerkat pokes its head out of a heart-shaped hole in a box painted in rainbow colors with the words "International Family Equality Day"

The meerkats received colorful boxes to play with and explore.

A painted sign of a red panda with a rainbow-colored tail

A hand-painted sign featuring a red panda could be seen inside the giant panda house.

A saki monkey searches for treats inside a cardboard tube painted in rainbow colors

A saki monkey searched a special rainbow-themed enrichment item for treats.

Two degus rest on to of a box with rainbow paint, a heart-shaped cutout and the text "Love is love"

Degus climbed atop a colorful box inside Small Mammal House.

Two tamanduas investigate a box painted with the words "love is love" for International Family Equality Day at the Zoo

Two tamanduas searched for snacks underneath a colorful cardboard box painted for International Family Equality Day at the Zoo.