Metro Weekly

“Gay Day at the Zoo” Is This Sunday, May 7

Admission to the zoo is free, but a fundraising event will be held the day prior with an opening party at Trade.

Participants of Gay Day at the Zoo in 2018 — Photo: Randy Shulman

Gay Day at the Zoo, the annual event that draws members of the LGBTQ community and their allies to the National Zoo, will be held on this Sunday, May 7.

The annual event, which historically has served as a fundraiser for The DC Center for the LGBT Community, brings together representatives from some of the Center’s various social and peer support groups, along with community members interested in taking a stroll through the park and checking out various exhibits.

Each year, the event offers family-friendly activities, including free concerts, selfie booths, and “animal enrichments,” where participants can watch demonstrations or interactions involving animals, such as having them play with rainbow-colored toys or eat rainbow-colored ice treats.

National Zoo International Family Equality Day
National Zoo International Family Equality Day

This year, the biggest attraction promises to be the Giant Panda Rainbow Enrichment, which starts at 9:30 a.m., starring some of the zoo’s most popular inhabitants.

The event also coincides with International Family Equality Day, which draws LGBTQ families and their children to the zoo, with a meet-up hosted by the LGBTQ youth group SMYAL at 10:30 a.m. and a family picnic at noon.

On Saturday, May 6, Trade — one of the event’s main sponsors, along with its sister bar, Number Nine — and two Stonewall Kickball teams, The BlueBallers and Swallows, will host a “Call of the Wild” Opening Party, which serves as a fundraiser for The DC Center.

Proceeds from the event will come from the sale of “Gay Day at the Zoo” buttons and temporary tattoos, rather than the T-shirt sales that have historically been sold to event-goers ahead of Sunday’s festivities. 

The “Call of the Wild” party runs from 3 to 5 p.m. at Trade, with live performances from Kittney Stone, De-La-OOh Jinal, Kyleena Mireena, and KC Beyonce, who will take part in something dubbed the “Annual Mascot Dance,” starting a 3:45 p.m.

While admission to the zoo is free, attendees must download free passes for entry on the Smithsonian Institute’s webpage and present them to gain entry to the park.

Gay Day at the Zoo is Sunday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to reserve free-of-charge entry passes, call 202-633-2614 or visit

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