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Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens New American Trail Exhibit


The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is to open the new American Trail exhibit at noon on September 1st.  At a cost of $42 million, the American Trail features the wildlife of the Pacific Northwest, including species that have been close to extinction.

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Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, said, "American Trail is a celebration of our country’s spirit and, in true Smithsonian tradition, a showcase for ‘living’ American Treasures.  Our visitors can get to know their native wildlife and learn what they can do to help conserve our country’s gems."

The American Trail has taken five years to complete and includes close encounters with California sea lions and seals in pools with a wave machine and split level and above water viewing areas.  There are also pelicans, beavers, otters, the bald eagle, ravens and two new American grey wolves in a new wolf yard.  The exhibit is located in the lower valley between Elephant Trail and Amazonia.

The exhibit has been landscaped according to the animals’ needs and reflects the native species within the coastal upland, wet forest and eastern woodland forest and coast ecosystems.  Two thousand ferns were used in the renovated streambed.

Visitors can cool off by dipping their toes into the tide pool exhibit before making their way to Seal Rock Café.  The café’s menu includes seasonal and locally sourced sustainable seafood in line with the Zoo’s new food philosophy.


Photo and Video Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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