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Luxury Hotel near Washington DC National Zoo

Earlier this summer we wrote about the exceptional access we provide our hotel guests to the world-class and world-famous museums of the Smithsonian Institution up in Washington, D.C., from the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the National Air & Space Museum to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the legendary Freer and Sackler galleries.

Well, museums aren’t the only superlative attractions under the venerable Smithsonian mantle: There’s also the extraordinary menagerie of the National Zoological Park awaiting your wonderment! Established in 1889, it’s one of the oldest zoos in the United States and among the most highly regarded on the globe.

The National Zoo

An unforgettable day’s jaunt up to the National Zoo in Rock Creek Park from your Autograph Collection headquarters here in Old Town Alexandria at our historic hotel gives you a whirlwind ticket around the world, given the farflung pedigrees of the 1,500-plus animals on display. Those critters represent on the order of 300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, including such fantastically named beasties as the screaming hairy armadillo and the Vietnamese mossy frog.

Probably no National Zoo residents are so famous as the giant pandas, part of a successful captive-breeding program for these one-of-a-kind members of the bear family. The pandas are only a celebrity example of the many endangered, threatened, and vulnerable species the National Zoo both displays and invests in roll-up-the-sleeves conservation work for; others include the sand cat of the North African desert, the epic Komodo dragon of Indonesia, and North America’s own black-footed ferret, a sort of mini-panda in looks and charm.

It’s quite a thrill to see America’s native fauna (deservedly a focus at a “national” zoo)—from American alligator to American bison, from gray wolf to eastern diamondback rattlesnake, from bobcat to California sea lion—rubbing shoulders (not literally, of course) with fauna from far corners of the planet: Amur tigers, alpacas, cheetahs, howler monkeys, king cobras, western lowland gorillas, Asian elephants, and so many more.

Visit the National Zoo on Your Next Stay at The Alexandrian

The animalian appeal of the National Zoo is pretty much universal: Bring the whole boisterous family and knock their socks off with up-close looks at striking creatures, or take a meditative visit on your own, enjoying the quiet dignity of these fellow denizens of Planet Earth. As with nearly all the Smithsonian facilities, the National Zoo is free to enjoy, too—truly amazing, and it’s all just a hop, skip, and a jump from your luxurious lodgings at The Alexandrian!

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