International Family Equality Day

On May 6, 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 can be anything—including toys, activities and exhibits—that encourages the animals to use their natural behaviors and gives them an opportunity to exercise choice and control over how they spend their time. Providing them with a wide variety of enrichment helps keep the animals’ day interesting and enhances their quality of life.

Zoo visitors joined in on the fun, too. Field games, a free ice cream social plus 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!

Giant panda Bei Bei with a rainbow ice cake.
Giant panda Bei Bei enjoyed a rainbow-themed fruitsicle cake made by the Zoo's Department of Nutrition Sciences.
a group of three male students look over a small bird in one of their hands
GMU-SI Migratory Bird Course
Andean bear Quito enjoys a rainbow-themed ice treat.
Andean bear Quito enjoyed a rainbow-themed ice treat decorated with frozen blueberries, strawberries, cashews and other favorite treats.
Golden lion tamarin with rainbow pompom enrichment.
Golden lion tamarins received rainbow pom-poms made from shredded tissue paper. Keepers placed mealworms within for the tamarins to forage for and enjoy.
Aldabra tortoises eat rainbow-themed treats.
At the Reptile Discovery Center, the Zoo's Aldabra tortoises Alex, Rulon and Chyna enjoyed brightly-colored ice treats.
Sea lion rainbow-themed enrichment.
The sea lions of American Trail received rainbow ice treats with fish, capelin and squid frozen inside.