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National Zoo celebrates African-American community

Monday - 4/1/2013, 3:12pm  ET

Elephants.jpg
A new elephant exhibit opened at the National Zoo last month after a $56 million renovation. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Dick Uliano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Easter Monday is a special day for African-American families at the National Zoo.

The tradition that stretches back to 1891 celebrates the African-American community with family activities at the zoo including an Easter egg hunt, live entertainment and animal demonstrations.

Donald Moore, associate director of the National Zoo, says zoo officials expected more than 20,000 people to attend the event.

Crowds seemed eager to see the zoo's new elephant exhibit that opened in mid-March, but visitors also checked out the tigers, lions, giraffes and birds.

Ray and Tawana Mensah of Silver Spring, Md. and their two children knew about the zoo's tradition of catering to African-American families on Easter Monday, but say they're pleased to see people of different colors and nationalities joining the festivities.

"D.C. is a melting pot," Tawana Mensah says. "There are so many people from different areas and different countries."

Irving Harville of Atlanta and his family visited the zoo when their original plans fell through.

"We actually had a White House tour scheduled -- but that got cancelled," he says.

Last month, the White House cancelled public tours due to sequester budget cuts.

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