Why Fall is the Best Time to Go to the Zoo

Leaves are falling and so are temperatures, which can only mean one thing — autumn has arrived. There’s no better activity for a fall day in D.C. than a trip to the Zoo. Crowds are smaller, days are cooler and changing leaves bring a burst of color to the park. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you make the most of your day, with plenty of animals to fall for and events you won’t want to miss.

Have a scary good time

A group of six women dressed up in Halloween costumes and face paint pose for a photo at Night of the Living Zoo

Put on your favorite costume and kick off the Halloween festivities a few days early. Families can head to Boo at the Zoo for a frightfully fun evening of trick-or-treating, dancing and kids’ karaoke.

21 or older? Grab a ticket to Night of the Living Zoo where adult ghouls and goblins can enjoy craft beer, food trucks, music, performance artists and a costume competition, hosted by Science on Tap (with a $1,000 prize for the winning costume!).

Fall for these adorable new animals

It doesn’t get much cuter than a pair of clouded leopard cubs, and Jillian and Paitoon are not the only new faces at the Zoo.

After you visit the cubs at Asia Trail in the morning, make your way to Small Mammal House where you might just see some jellybean-sized, newborn naked mole-rats. Similar to bees, these eusocial critters have a single reproducing female, called the queen, who can give birth to a new litter about every 80 days.

Next, stop by Reptile Discovery Center to meet the new 5-year-old Aldabra tortoises. Aldabra tortoises can live for a very long time (even longer than humans!), so you’ll be able to visit them for years to come — and so will your children, and your children’s children. Rulon and Chyna, the Zoo’s adult Aldabra tortoises, are estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old and may have even met your parents or grandparents.

Chubby, whiskered and born to glide! Continue on to see Celia the sea lion pup making a splash at American Trail. Celia (pronounced Cell-e-uh) was born in June and made her public debut in September.