How to Woo at the Zoo

This Valentine’s Day (or any day!) celebrate with your beloved and 2,700 of your closest animal friends at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Seal-ed with a kiss

No need for a romantic walk on a beach when you can take your date under the sea! In American Trail’s underwater viewing area, complete with dim lighting and the sound of crashing waves, you’ll have a front-row seat to sea lions swimming gracefully through the water.

Don’t miss the daily seal or sea lion demonstration to see how animal keepers train the Zoo’s pinnipeds.

Enjoy a treat with your sweet

What’s sweeter than love? Funnel cake, hot chocolate and ice cream! Stop by one of the food stands or restaurants throughout the park to share a sweet treat or toast to your future romance with a craft beer (ages 21 and over, please).

Love is in the arapaima

arapaima in water

Head to Amazonia where things really heat up … because this habitat is modeled after the steamy Amazon River basin, with a year-round temperature of about 80 degrees! Impress your partner with these fun animal puns as you take a romantic stroll through the tropical rainforest:

  • Can you f-eel the electricity in the air?
  • You make me blush like a roseate spoonbill.
  • You hold the mon-key to my heart.

Take a spin on the Conservation Carousel

Hold hands and have a laugh as you climb atop a naked mole-rat, giant panda or armadillo (just a few of the custom animals on the Zoo’s solar-powered carousel). Did we mention that the $3.50 you’ll pay for the ride will help save species? Romantic. Check. Budget friendly. Check. Saving the world. Check.

Redd is the color of romance

A pie chart displaying the current land cover in Northern Virginia: 56.8% forest, 29.5% grassland, 3.6% cropland, and 10.1% development.
The composition of the land in the Changing Landscape Initiative's pilot study area of Northwestern Virginia, as of December 2020.

Visit Great Ape House or Think Tank to see orangutan infant Redd who is sure to make you smile as he climbs, plays and tumbles through the hay. Then, take a self-guided tour to meet these other “red” animals around the Zoo:

  • Red river hog, Cheetah Conservation Station
  • Red panda, Asia Trail
  • Red-ruffed lemur and red-rumped agouti, Small Mammal House
  • Tomato frog, Reptile Discovery Center
  • Red-fronted lemur, Lemur Island
  • Roseate spoonbill, Amazonia

Get naked … mole-rats

Love is as blind as a naked mole-rat. Seriously, have you seen one? It has to be true. Bonus: This colony is led by a (killer) queen. See them at Small Mammal House.

A group of naked mole-rats, including three pups, sleep piled on top of each other

Give a last-minute gift

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a special gift for the one you love, so make them blush with a plush. Stop by one of the gift shops around the Zoo to choose from a variety of cute, cuddly and strange critters, including giant pandas, sloths and komodo dragons.