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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cool Off

Over the holiday weekend and now into the work week people across from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast are hearing one thing: heat wave. With temperatures reaching the 100s, everyone is looking for a way to cool off, including our friends at the National Zoo. In this weather many of the animals seek refuge in the water features of their habitats. Here are some of the great images captured by Smithsonian photographers over the years of animals chilling out at the Zoo.

Smokey the Bear National Zoo

Francine Schroeder snapped a shot of Smokey the Bear keeping cool from the heat and forest fires in his pool at the Zoo in 1976.

Orangutans National Zoo

Jessie Cohen captured an image of baby Orangutans Bonnie (in the tub) and Azy, splashing in a bath at the Zoo in 1981.

Polar Bear National Zoo

A polar bear staying chilly by taking a dip in the Zoo pool.

Alligators National Zoo

E. Hardy caught the Alligators in action heading into the water to beat the heat at the Zoo's Reptile House in 1934.

So let's take a note from the animals and find some time to cool off by diving into our SIRIS collection of Zoo images, just be wary of heading in too deep with the Alligators!

Courtney Esposito, Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives


  1. cool!!! I almost wish I could live in the zoo now!
    Thanks for sharing, I love these photos.

  2. I'll be visiting DC next month and hope to visit the National Zoo. Thanks for sharing these pics!

  3. Great before you head to the Zoo you should check out their website The Calander has a bunch of special events/programs that will be going on! Enjoy the Smithsonian.