My family and I are planning on going to the National Zoo on April 1st, I need to know how much time I should plan to be there to see everything without having to run...
as in, how many physical hours should I plan to be there..
Depends on the ages of your kids, how long you stay at each exhibit and how busy it is. My kids were 2,5,7, and 10 last time we visited, we arrived at 10am and were done by 4pm and were there with some friends who live in the area . My kids want to see all the animals, play in all the play areas and read all the info so they spend a lot of time at the zoo. You could do it in a shorter amount of time if you tend to move through zoos faster. Our friends did not think the zoo was particularly crowded the day we visited so that was not a factor for us, except in the panda exhibit.
Our kids were 8,8, and 5 when we visited. I remember spending the entire day from open to close. However, you could probably see it faster. We tend to take a while to absorb everything.
Last time we were there it was with only our oldest who was 4 at the time. We have a zoo membership in our home town so the "regular" animals weren't too much of a draw though the whole experience was lovely. Keep in mind it's very hilly there and if you are pushing a stroller it can get tiresome. Also the snacks available for purchase there aren't the best. I wish we'd brought more and bought less. Also, the bathrooms were hard for us to find. We spent the morning there, we got there just as the zoo opened and were done by lunch time. The Hippo exhibit isn't much to look at but the science of exactly how long you can stand there and wait while they sit at the bottom of their pool is awesome. I felt like a kid again. Also the Orangoutangs travel overhead through out the zoo and it's really cool. We've been to many, many zoo's all over the world and those two moments stick out as highlights. Have fun.
Just make sure you take the bus there. We took our car (it was as we were leaving town) and were only allowed to park for 2 hours. So we basically only got to stay for 1 hour (with 30 minutes of walking on each side). ONE HOUR WASN'T ENOUGH. So please take the bus and stay at least a few hours!