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Summer 2019 Guide to Beating the Heat at the Zoo

It’s the summer solstice, and though Capital Weather Gang may be forecasting the first cooler-than-normal summer in a decade, visitors to Washington, D.C., can still expect warm weather and humidity. But not to worry — we’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to beat the heat at the Zoo this summer.

1. Meet lifelike dinosaurs in a live theater show

Need some AC? Love some dinos? During Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live, performers bring realistic dinosaur puppets to life in a thrilling theatrical performance. The 30-minute show takes place in the Zoo Theater — a comfortable, air-conditioned venue inside the Visitor Center — providing the perfect break from the summer heat.

2. Skip through a sprinkler

A series of sprinklers located along the Zoo’s main Olmsted Walk offer a refreshing mist on a hot day. Kids especially love to play in the cool spray of water that’s available at the push of a button.

3. Get sprayed by an orangutan AND a dinosaur

Swing by the orangutans’ outdoor yard, and you might get splashed again. Their exhibit is fitted with two mister shower heads … but these water features can only be operated by the apes!

Just across from Great Ape House is a water-spitting dilophosaurus, one of the animatronic dinosaurs living at the Zoo this summer.

3. Eat ice-cold ice cream

There’s no shortage of sweet treats to cool down with around the park. Dip n’ Dots is a longtime favorite (don’t miss the “Panda Dots” cookies n’ cream flavor!), but now visitors can also enjoy a scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, soft serve from Carvel or gourmet gelato from local sweet shop Dolci Gelati.

4. Take a break from the sun with an indoor exhibit

Exhibit houses throughout the Zoo offer plenty of opportunities to get out of the sun. Head to Small Mammal House to meet a screaming hairy armadillo or stop by Great Ape House to say hello to infant gorilla Moke. Encounter frogs, salamanders and corals in Amazonia’s science gallery — just be wary of the Amazon rainforest. It’s a balmy 70-plus degrees in there year-round.

5. Attend one of the cool events at the Zoo this summer

Solstice Saturday, June 22

As the sun goes down, so does the temperature. Head to the Zoo for Solstice Saturday to kick off the summer season with a family-friendly dance party from 6-10 p.m. Grab a snack from a food truck, sip on a cold drink from the bar or chill out in the theater with an exclusive $5 screening of “Jurassic Park”!

Brew at the Zoo, July 18

What better way to beat the heat than with an ice-cold beer? This year, Washington, D.C.’s best beer festival is transforming into a prehistoric party featuring unlimited beer tastings from 70-plus breweries, live music, food trucks and more. Tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss your chance to attend Brew at the Zoo. Can't make it to the event? You can always grab a cold one at the Mane Grill any day of the week.

6. Step underwater into the shade.

There’s plenty of shade throughout the Zoo, but one of the most memorable spots to take a break from the summer sun is the underwater viewing area at American Trail. Here, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Zoo’s California sea lions as they glide through the water.