National Zoo Pizza Garden
Faced with a big budget hole, the National Zoo announced in February plans to shutter its petting zoo. The logic? Displaying orangutans, elephants, and pandas was part of the zoo’s unique educational mission. Showing off cows and goats, not so much. But the real tragedy is that the axe may also fall on the adjacent playground that’s made in the shape of an enormous pizza. The Smithsonian being the Smithsonian, the pie has a pedagogical purpose—it’s supposed to teach kids about ingredients. But in practice, visitors are too busy sliding down a giant triangular wedge of cheese, crawling through an oversized plastic olive, erecting towers of pepperoni, and then jumping onto the bouncy cheese surface. It’s probably not a good idea to count on the next generation learning much about the path from farm to pizzeria. But, so long as the garden stays open, you can count on their having fun in the process.