Metro Weekly

Zoo Story

The National Zoo is set for a Saturday of gay species

On Saturday, May 3, in addition to the usual draws — from pandas to monkeys — the National Zoo will also be overrun with animals of a different species, those from the figurative taxonomy of the gay kingdom. You know, bears, otters, pups, social bees.

”It’s a nice time where you get to see everyone come together in the community,” says Jacob Pring, the local promoter responsible for organizing the second annual Gay Day at the Zoo, a fundraiser for The DC Center, the city’s primary LGBT community center. Last year’s event attracted about 2,000 people and raised $3,500, and Pring expects to exceed those totals this year with greater promotion and participation, including a sizeable contingent of parents and children from Rainbow Families.

Lion's den at the National Zoo

Lion’s den at the National Zoo

(Photo by JD Uy)

”It’s just a regular day at the zoo,” Pring says. But it’s also one in which LGBT zoo-goers are encouraged to wear T-shirts in this year’s official color of teal/jade — ”as close to that color as possible.” That is, if they aren’t able to buy in advance the event’s official Nellie’s-sponsored T-shirt for $20, the proceeds of which go directly to The DC Center.

”It just so happens to be Kentucky Derby day too,” Pring adds, ”so if people want to be cute and wear a derby hat, all the better.” ‘

Gay Day at the Zoo is Saturday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. Visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.