August 6, 2013

Adventures in Washington D.C. (The National Zoo)

As you know I decided to stay on in Washington D.C. after attending the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference to visit with some of Adam's family and meet up with my parents the following weekend.  So Thursday before Adam & Elise arrived in D.C. I had an entire day to myself.  I decided to work remotely for the first part of the day and then head out and explore the second part.  I knew that when my entourage arrived they would want to see the monuments and since I didn't want to double up on those I decided to go to the National Zoo!  I hadn't been to the National Zoo in well over a decade (I think we went their on an elementary or middle school field trip) so I was pumped to go.  So once I finished up my conference calls and mapped out my route to the zoo I headed out to meet the metro.
Sidenote: I should mention that figuring out and riding the metro to and from my destination(s) was a HUGE accomplishment for me!  To be honest I have a big fear/apprehension of public transportation.  I will be the first to admit that my fear is completely ridiculous, but it's true.  However, my fear has absolutely nothing to do with the people, safety or the area - it is solely based on my fear of getting completely turned around and lost (taking the wrong train, going north instead of south, you get the idea).  When I travel to NYC for work I have yet to navigate the subway by myself and I had never before used the D.C. metro solo.  Now I know everyone says 'the metro is so much easier than the subway' and it is, which is why I was able to make it work.  Needless to say - I conquered my fear and navigated the metro like a boss!

Proof of my successful metro navigation!

So I was off to the Zoo and I could not have been more thrilled. I ended up arriving around 12:30 PM which was probably not the best time to go because it was incredibly hot and some of the animals were inside 'resting'.  I ended up walking around for about three hours so in the end I was able to see pretty much all the animals I wanted to, with the exception of a cheetah.  My favorite exhibit by far though was The Great Ape House, I think I went back three times just to walk around and look at the apes and orangutans.  They are such interesting species!  I couldn't get enough.  Here are some pictures from my zoo adventure!

African elephant! 
This one was a 'baby' elephant, the adults were MIA.

This is a Golden Lion Tamarin and he was SO cute!


Sloth!  While I was there he hooked his toes (nails?) to the top of the cage, stretched all the way down to reach the leaves below then curled back up to eat them. 
He did this (in pure sloth-like fashion) for about five times before moving on.

Horny snappy turtle!  These things live in the southern United States -
remind me never to swim in a lake in Texas!

GIANT turtles!
Female lions just chilling!  One was eating a piece of meat on a bone.

The Great Ape House - my favorite place at the zoo!

Hey orangutan!

They look like they are smiling all the time!

This is a Western (Africa) Lowland Gorilla
He is HUGE and so interesting to watch!
Remember when this guy escaped and was gallivanting around Washington D.C.?
He is Rusty the Red Panda!  It was lucky that he was out and about and I was able to see him.

Giant Panda! 
On my first pass through the zoo there was a one hour plus wait to see the pandas (since they were in their inside enclosure) but on my way out I was able to walk right in.  Interestingly enough two weeks after my visit I found out that one of them may be pregnant!
After spending the majority of the day at The Zoo I hopped back on the metro (took two different trains this time - woo-hoo!) and headed up to the National Mall.  I had some more time to kill before they arrived so I figured I would walk around the Museum of American History then grab a snack on the mall where I could look at the Capitol and the Washington Monument.  (You may not know that in high school I was a page for the U.S. House of Representatives and got to spend a summer in D.C. working on The Hill - so the Capitol will always hold a special place in my heart).
The President's exhibit! 
My favorite exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History

This was a 'new-to-me' exhibit at the museum but it was right up my ally!
'FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950 - 2000'

Next up - we visit ALL the monuments in Washington D.C.!

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