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Court Jester

The National Zoological Park

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The National Zoological Park is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The Smithsonian consists of 16 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoo.


The simple words ‘National Zoo’ represent a large, complex, and diverse organization with a multi-faceted mission: To celebrate, study, and protect wild animals and their habitats.


The National Zoo is far more than a place where people can see wild animals.


We are a 163-acre zoological park set amid Rock Creek National Park in the heart of Washington DC. Open to the public 364 days a year, we are home to more than 2,700 individual animals of 435 different species. Our best known residents are our giant pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang.


We are a place where people can marvel at wonderful animals, learn about wildlife and its conservation, and enjoy a beautiful, peaceful experience among our gardens. We are also a research, conservation, and education center for endangered species. And, apart from the public areas, we boast a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital and extensive research facilities.


We are also a 3,000-acre rural campus in Front Royal, Virginia, at the edge of Shenandoah National Park. This campus, called the Conservation and Research Center (CRC), is closed to the public. Here, various endangered species breed in more expansive facilities. Many of our scientists studying endangered species and offering education and professional training are based here, too.


We work in field stations around the world: from China in Asia to Gabon in Africa, Spain in Europe, Venezuela and Panama in South and Central America, and Nevada and Nova Scotia in North America.


We are also Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), the private side of our public/private partnership. Almost 40,000 families are members of FONZ, and these dedicated zoogoers are our greatest supporters and the best advocates for our cause. FONZ’s primary role is to make friends and raise funds to support our joint mission.


We are also this website, the "virtual" National Zoo, where people everywhere can explore our resources, see our programs, and join us in celebrating, studying, and protecting species and their habitats.

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