The National Zoo is opening a new solar-powered carousel with hand-carved, hand-painted figures representing many endangered animals.
Fifty-eight animals, including elephants, pandas, frogs, hummingbirds, blue crabs and lions, are represented on the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel. Funds from a private family foundation coupled with other grants paid for the $2.3 million project.
The carousel is powered by 162 solar panels donated and installed by Pepco Energy Services. Any excess energy generated by the panels is redirected to the zoo's electrical grid, according to zoo officials.
The carousel costs $3 per person to ride, and ticket sales will support animal care and conservation research at the zoo.