Smithsonian's National Zoo to Hold Its First Garden Day

Visitors can celebrate the beauty of gardens at the National Zoo’s first Family Garden Day Saturday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event focuses on the Zoo’s unique collection of gardens and aims to educate visitors about conservation and how plants and animals coexist. It includes a guide to the Zoo’s gardens, keeper demonstrations, interactive exhibits and kids’ activities.

The Zoo is home to unique plants from a vast range of ecosystems. Exhibits include the Butterfly Garden, the Hummingbird Garden, the Bird House Wetland Pond, the Uncle Beazley’s Garden and the Cactus Garden.

Interactive exhibits will focus on specific groups of plants and how they coexist with animals. For example, a “pollination garden” will be displayed where guests can learn more about plants that are pollinated and the animals that pollinate them. Keepers will speak with guests and give demonstrations on how plants are used for animal enrichment.

Kids will also be able to learn about gardens through interaction. In the “Build a Habitat” activity, they can help design an animal enclosure by using the proper combination of plants for their Zoo animal. They can also learn to identify trees from looking at leaves in the “Tree Detective” activity and see garden equipment, such as tractors, up close.

Insects’ role with plants will be discussed throughout the day as ladybugs are released in exhibits to demonstrate a safe alternative to pesticides. Visitors can also take a detour to the Invertebrate Exhibit and Pollinarium, where the Zoo’s newest honeybee colony resides and butterflies fly around freely. For a chance to win a personal tour of the Invertebrate Exhibit and Pollinarium with one of the Zoo’s animal keepers at Family Garden Day, visitors can submit their favorite honey recipe or honeybee poem here by noon Tuesday, July 6.

Guests can enjoy the music of the Mystic Warriors as they deliver “ancestral sounds of the Inca” during two performances at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.  In addition, an entertainment figure named “Leafman” will walk through the park providing amusement.