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The Zoopendous Summer Interns’ Guide to D.C.

Make the most of your time out of the office with a visit to the Zoo.
Giant panda Bao Bao sits and eats bamboo

Up your Insta game

Waiting to get the perfect picture to post on social media? Look no further! Photo ops are around every corner at the Zoo, no matter what aesthetic you’re going for. Funny? Meerkat cutouts. Cute? Giant panda selfie. Lost in the jungle? Asia Trail bamboo forest. Want to stand in a swarm of bees? The Good of the Hive Mural.

Tip: boost your likes by tagging @SmithsonianZoo!

Adulting is hard, be a kid for a day

We all sometimes wish we didn’t have to grow up. A visit to the Zoo is the perfect excuse to revert to your childhood for a day! Spin around on the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel or catch the millennial version of a puppet show featuring a lifelike T. rex at the Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live show.

3-month-old western lowland gorilla Moke eating leafy greens

Treats that won’t break the bank

While instant ramen and spaghetti are quick and affordable, your taste buds crave more. Food trucks located throughout the Zoo offer a variety of snacks at prices even interns can afford. Enjoy a taco platter from Blue Monkey Taco for $12, treat yourself to gourmet popcorn for only $5 at Stella’s Popkern or grab some gelato for $6 from Dolci Gelati to keep full and focused!

Close your rings  

The pattern is all too familiar … “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.” Then, before you know it, a week has gone by. Being cooped up in an office all day can really take a toll on the body, and finding time to exercise is difficult. Built on a hill, the Zoo is an ideal place to work out with animal stops to keep your motivation flowing. The main path, called Olmsted Walk, is 0.8 miles long with numerous branching paths to explore and misting stations to cool off in when it gets hot.

Romance for free: priceless

Planning a date can be tough. Movies are too quiet, and no one can ever agree on a restaurant. Luckily, romance’s middle name is “Zoo.” Explore the Zoo with your new boo or longtime lover for a fun date night! Roam around the secluded underwater viewing area of American Trail or the tropical rainforest paradise of Amazonia for a date night that will have them head over heels. Did we mention it’s free? For inspiration, check out this Valentine’s Day guide to the Zoo.
Visitors watch sea lions swimming from the underwater viewing area

Picnic perfect

Can’t get a reservation at that popular restaurant in your neighborhood? Skip the lines and overpriced entrees, and pack a picnic to bring to the Zoo! Tables at Panda Plaza, Panda Overlook and Mane Grill provide the perfect ambiance for all your picnicking needs. So pack a cooler, bring some friends and have a great, low-cost time. 

Animals are #adorbs

While there is always something happening in D.C., a lot of events cost money (which is not ideal for an intern). Catch some free entertainment at the Zoo’s daily demos and keeper talks! Watch as keepers work with seals and sea lions, or see a sloth bear feeding in action. Not only are these demos cute and entertaining to watch, but you can take what you learned and impress your coworkers at the next water-cooler chat.

A close-up of photo of a mug overflowing with beer with an illustration of a beer mug and dinosaurs and the text "Brew at the Zoo"

A Friday Eve celebration 

Friday is the best day of the week, so why not celebrate it? For interns and young adults 21 and over, the Zoo hosts Brew at the Zoo on Thursday, July 18. Guests can try beers from more than 70 different breweries and enjoy live music. After a long, hard week, you deserve to let loose! Hurry — tickets are selling fast.