National Zoo to close in shutdown

“All programming and events will be canceled. All vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle paths into the Zoo will be closed. None of our live animal cams will broadcast,” an alert on the Zoo’s website says. 

The zoo operates live animal cameras for 15 different exhibits. The area straddles the Woodley Park and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods, and serves as a popular place for Washingtonians to run and bike. 

“All the animals will continue to be fed and cared for. A shutdown will not affect our commitment to the safety of our staff and standard of excellence in animal care.”

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The National Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in D.C. About 1.5 million visitors have already come through the zoo this year, according to the Smithsonian. 

If Congress doesn’t pass a government funding bill before the new fiscal year begins Tuesday, the federal government will close for the first time in nearly two decades. 

The government last shut down in 1995 and 1996. 

Under a shutdown, the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries in addition to the National Zoo will be closed. 

Congress funds the Institution each year, but has faced financial troubles in recent years because of cuts in the congressional budget. 

The Smithsonian also solicits private donations as another source of funding to subsidize its projects.