Will Zoo's New Carousel Star Ride-able Pandas?

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011  |  Updated 3:04 PM EDT
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Adorable Zoo Babies: Twin Polar Bear Cubs


Of course, some carousels feature really, REALLY endangered animals. As in, extinct.

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The National Zoo is expecting a new arrival -- but instead of more lion cubs (and really, we can never have enough of those), the zoo is slated to add a carousel to its grounds.

It's not an entirely unexpected move. More than 80 percent of the nation's top accredited zoos have carousels, including the Central Park Zoo and Bronx Zoo, reports the Georgetown Dish.

"...Because the [National] Zoo focuses on conservation and education, this carousel would have children riding models of endangered species, and potentially spinning courtesy of solar power," the Dish says.

And you know how much the kiddos love Mariana fruit bats, Amargosa voles and coffin cave mold beetles. Who doesn't?

Then again, the carousel could always opt for a safe, popular choice like the giant pandas -- although is this the kind of message we want to send to today's youth? Ride the backs of endangered species for your own entertainment?

Oh, OK, who are we kidding? This is gonna be adorable.

The carousel will likely be located off Olmsted Walk, on a grassy area between the Great Cats exhibit and Lemur Island. The zoo hopes that ticket says will eventually cover the cost.

Planners are also considering using solar panels to power the carousel, and are "aggressively pursuing a sponsor," according to the Dish.

The Georgetown Dish reports:

The Zoo... has faced financial constraints of late. The popular Kid's Farm almost shut down for lack of operating funds, for example, until State Farm Insurance Co. pledged $1.4 million.

But a carousel, ...Zoo officials said, could turn into 'a revenue generator,' even producing funds for other Zoo needs. They hope it will open by spring 2013.

Better start brushing up on your knowledge of riparian woodrats.

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