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American Trail at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo


OPENING: Labor Day Weekend, 2012!


As visitors move down the American Trail, the landscape and flora of Rock Creek will give way to the rocky shores of the coast. Oaks and poplars will give way to evergreens. Ferns will begin to pepper the landscape. Trees and bushes will take on a windswept look—the forces of nature shape the native life. The sound of falling water—first detected above the Zoo’s river otters—will be heard. Forest will open onto a basalt coast as the trail nears its final landmark, an underwater sea cave offering an extraordinary view of life below the water's surface.


In addition to marveling at the diverse animals on exhibit—sea lions, seals, beavers, ravens, river otters, wolves, and bald eagles—visitors will be able to get their feet wet in an artificial tide pool and touch model sea creatures.


The new seal and sea lion exhibit is part of the Zoo’s new American Trail, where visitors are invited to get their feet wet, literally! This exhibit focuses on the places where land and water meet—from a forest stream to a rocky coastline. The animals living here and the plants growing here will define and characterize the places where two spectacular environments come together.


As visitors leave American Trail, they carry with them a greater appreciation of the life that thrives where land and water meet, of the differences between these animals and us, and of the delicate balance that is our responsibility to protect.

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Taken on June 25, 2011