Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Gay Day At The Zoo 2022

The popular annual social gathering and fundraiser for the DC Center returns to the Zoo this Sunday, May 1.

National Zoo International Equality Day
National Zoo International Family Equality Day

For the first time since 2019, members of the LGBTQ community, their families, and allies will be out en masse at the National Zoo this Sunday, May 1, in a celebration marking both International Family Equality Day as well as Gay Day at the Zoo.

The popular annual social gathering and fundraiser for the DC Center for the LGBT Community typically draws thousands of attendees, including representatives from the DC Center’s various social and peer support groups, including Center Aging, Center Global, Center Bi, Rainbow Families DC, and Women in Their Twenties.

All will come together as one big, diverse, proud family taking in animal sightings and the goings-on at the zoological park, including special feedings of rainbow-hued frozen treats to select animals.

For the park’s most famous residents, the family of three giant pandas, we’re talking specially tailored “fruitsicle” cakes — something Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and their cub Xiao Qi Ji have no doubt grown accustomed to in 2022, with multiple celebrations that started last month and will continue through August toasting 50 years — dubbed the “pandaversary” — since the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute first introduced the adorable black-and-white bears, immediately becoming a rare non-political and universally loved symbol of D.C.

This year’s return also features additional programming specifically geared to families with children of all ages, dubbed International Family Equality Day. The schedule includes talks with a zoo nutritionist as well as keepers of sloths, orangutans, tigers, and tortoises, plus an Elephant Training and Enrichment demonstration.

Also available this year is promotional merchandise for the event, from buttons to tote bags to cinch bags, all of which benefit the work of the Center. The merch will also be available for purchase at the event’s official Launch Party, taking place the day before, Saturday, April 30, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Trade, 1410 14th St. NW.

Gay Day at the Zoo is Sunday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Admission is free, but timed-entry passes are required this year. Call 202-633-2614 or visit

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