The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants will make their way through Penn Quarter this afternoon. (Michael Williamson/Washington Post)

The walk is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m., starting at South Capitol and E streets, heading past the Capitol for photo ops and ending at Verizon Center. For parade updates, call the Animal Walk Hotline at 866-683-3640 or follow the route on Twitter @DCElephantWalk.

View the 2011 D.C. Elephant Walk route in a larger map.

Animal rights activists are expected to accompany the parade, once again raising the question: Is the spectacle simply a fun family event or exploitation of animals? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Check out video of last year’s Elephant Walk, and don’t forget to upload your photos from today’s parade and share your twitpics using #DCElephantWalk.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, from March 24 to 27 and at the Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Cir., Fairfax County, from April 4 to 24.