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Washington National Cathedral (Image: Courtesy Washington National Cathedral)

Fantastic beasts and where to find them in D.C.

Potterheads are buzzing about the November 16 release of the second "Fantastic Beasts" film, "The Crimes of Grindelwald." Magizoologist Newt Scamander returns, along with a menagerie of otherworldly creatures, from the augrey and niffler to the thestral and zouwu.

However, fans of the franchise don’t need to head to the theater to see wilder-than-wild things. Here are seven places in and around D.C. where even muggles can find fantastic beasts.

(See map below for all your beast-hunting needs!)

Gargoyles and Grotesques

Glaring down from the upper reaches of the Washington National Cathedral are over 1,100 creepy creatures hewn from stone. The stone monsters incorporating a waterspout are gargoyles; those that are merely decorative are grotesques. Some of the most horrifying monsters include a humanoid griffin, skeletal dragon, three-headed dog, Darth Vader, and – because this is D.C. – a crooked politician. You can get a close-up view with the Cathedral's "Angels and Monsters Tower Climb" or the "Combination Tower Climb."

3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW


Unicorns do exist – sort of. A pair of the horned creatures watch over the entryway to Unicorn Lane in the upper NW neighborhood of Barnaby Woods. Sadly, the sculptures do not incorporate any rainbows or sparkles, so the families who live nearby should consider that a suggestion for a group art project.

At the entrance to Unicorn Lane NW


The 128-ton, 47-foot tall Friendship Arch was built in 1986 across a busy section in Chinatown to commemorate D.C.’s bond with its sister city, Beijing. Dotted around the brightly colored gateway are 12 carved dragons and another 272 hand-painted fire breathers. In 1990, one of the dragons actually fell off the structure and struck a passing truck (it was later replaced).

Corner of H St. NW and 7th St. NW

Surrealist Lions

The Netherlands Carillon was a gift to the United States for our country’s help in freeing the Dutch from the Nazis in World War II. On the plaza steps at the base of the 127-foot tall bell tower, a pair of gigantic bronze lions designed by Dutch sculptor Paul Koning stand guard, overlooking a field of poppies.

Next to the US Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.

The Lorax

Consuming a brick wall in Politics & Prose’s parking lot, this colorful mural features a flurry of classic characters from beloved children’s books. Alongside Dr. Seuss’s yellow whiskered creature, there’s the blue and yellow striped dragon from "My Father’s Dragon" and Harold of purple crayon fame.

Behind Politics & Prose at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW


As the surrealist story in "The Enormous Egg" goes, a dinosaur named Uncle Beazley hatches out of a chicken egg. In 1964, the star of this oddball fairy tale was forged from fiberglass by sculptor Louis Paul Jonas. After debuting at the World’s Fair in New York and spending time at both the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, the triple-horned dino statue has been on display at the National Zoo since 1994.

Close to Panda Plaza in the National Zoo at 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW

Saber-Toothed Tiger

It’s not every day you walk into a cemetery to be greeted by a saber-toothed tiger chasing a dragon. Artist Dayton Scoggins used a chainsaw to carve the natural artwork out of trees that had toppled due to high winds. A pair of angels crafted by Scoggins stand watch over the beastly duo.

Behind the mortuary chapel in Glenwood Cemetery at 2219 Lincoln Rd. NE