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National Zoo plans special opening after shutdown

Friday - 10/18/2013, 7:18am  ET

Tian Tian (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
You won't be able to see the panda cub, but dad Tian Tian may be around. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Smithsonian's National Zoo staff is planning a special reopening of the park following the government shutdown.

The entire zoo staff plans to gather at the zoo's front gate Friday on Connecticut Avenue to welcome visitors back. It has taken longer to reopen the large park. The Smithsonian's museums reopened on Thursday.

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.

The zoo's online panda cam was turned back on Thursday to give visitors a live look at the zoo's giant panda cub. Within 10 minutes of relaunching, the website reached its capacity of 850 video connections at once.

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