The Amazon and Red Pandas [Photos from the National Zoo]

These photos are from one of my family’s recent visits to the National Zoo. During the winter, the Zoo’s Amazonia building is a warm, humid, and enchanting refuge from the cold outside.

A good summary from the National Zoo’s website:

Amazonia, the largest and most complex exhibit ever built at the National Zoo, opened to the public in 1992. The 15,000-square-foot rainforest habitat of the exhibit includes a cascading tropical river and a 55,000-gallon aquarium for the display of Amazon River fish.

Within Amazonia’s dome, visitors find a living tropical forest with more than 350 species of plants, including 50-foot-tall trees, tropical vines, and epiphytes. This habitat is also home to dozens of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects typical of the Amazon Basin, all moving throughout the exhibit. Smooth-sided toads and silver-beaked tanagers breed freely, titi monkeys jump from branch to branch, a two-toed sloth hides behind large leaves, white-bellied hummingbirds zip about.

It really is as good as the description makes it out to be. But without further ado, more photographs.

The inspiration for a certain variety of toy?

This is a model of a beetle that lives in Chile. The actual size of the beetle is shown below the big model. But the materials that compose the model are what make it so cool.
The materials that make the beetle model.

It was a joyful moment to witness three bears playfully wrestling.

Red pandas are actually closer in relationship to raccoons than to panda bears. Still very cute in either case.

If you like what you have seen, you can view the complete set of photos on my Facebook page.

All photos © Levi T. Novey

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