WASHINGTON — The Easter bunny has hopped out until next year, but visitors can still catch the Easter Panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Easter Monday event.
The time-honored family event is back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 17, featuring a special appearance by the Easter Panda, an egg hunt, field games and live entertainment.
Animal demonstrations starting 10 a.m. showcase elephant training, mongoose feeding and sloth bear demonstrations, to name a few. Visitors can meet the zoo’s inhabitants and learn about their care from keepers until 3 p.m. Find the full schedule of animal demonstrations on the National Zoo’s website.
Education booths from the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and more offer additional opportunities for families to learn about different species, sciences and departments in the zoo.
The event also brings children’s hip hop into the mix with performances by Dezmo and the L-Squad.
The zoo has increased security screening measures at all entry points due to a high volume of expected visitors. Officials may check all bags, backpacks, personal items and strollers prior to entry. Visitors who exit the zoo must undergo screening again upon re-entry. Higher wait times are possible.
The National Zoo’s Easter Sunday event has been a tradition for African American families since 1891, according to zoo officials. Security concerns heightened after several events of violence over the past years.
In 2014, two teens were were wounded on Connecticut Avenue when shots were fired near the zoo. Police said the shooting arose from a neighborhood dispute involving a group from D.C., and another from Prince George’s County, Maryland, NBC Washington reported.
In 2011, a teenager was reportedly stabbed by another teen at the zoo. A 16-year-old boy attacked a 14-year-old, who suffered injuries on the arm, side and elbow. That same day, an altercation on zoo grounds involving as many as two dozen people and an assault about a block away also required police intervention, according to NBC Washington.
Back in 2000, a teenager shot seven people near the zoo entrance. The New York Times reported that the shooter open fired into a crowd leaving the park at closing time, and injured several youths.