National Zoo reopens after government shutdown

Zoo staffers (and a giant stuffed panda) met guests at its grand reopening. Photo: Suzanne Kennedy

The Smithsonian's National Zoo staff was out in full force Friday for special reopening of the park following the government shutdown.

The entire zoo staff gathered at the zoo's front gate Friday on Connecticut Avenue to welcome visitors back after it had been closed during the government shutdown.

Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says the zoo is also offering a 10 percent discount on food and merchandise at the zoo through the weekend. Anyone 18 and younger also will be able to ride the zoo carousel for free.

Before the gates opened, right before 10 a.m., Jerry Samuel and his 3-year-old grandaughter Janna waited. It’s a bit of a ritual for them.
"We call it our adventures,” he says. "It's a chance for her parents to have a little alone time,” he says.

There are an estimated 2 million visitors a year.

The opening was perfect timing for Anne Yon and her two little girls.

"We're getting face painted and there is just so much to do,” she says. “It's a nice place to be."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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