We Try to Find Animals at the Shut-Down National Zoo

Oct. 2, 2013, 7:50 a.m.

Someone told me it’s all hap­pen­ing at the zoo. On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, that proved to be dra­mat­ic­ally in­cor­rect.

With the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut down, Wash­ing­ton’s famed Na­tion­al Zoo is closed to the pub­lic. Much of its staff is fur­loughed. But some­where in there, a baby panda is do­ing panda stuff without a cam­era to live-stream it to the world.

After count­less phone calls to zoo of­fi­cials turned up only a “sorry, we’re shut down” mes­sage, it was time to get to the bot­tom of ex­actly who is still work­ing at the zoo, and what an­im­als we could still find there.

I at­temp­ted to sneak in­to the zoo through the back en­trance. After all, if slip­ping through the back door works in movies, maybe it also works at the zoo dur­ing a shut­down. It did not.