Entrance to the National Zoo
Our first stop on Saturday was the mall. Not the National Mall, but an actual, literal mall. Laura realized that she forgot her camera's battery charger, so we went to the Best Buy in Pentagon City to pick up a new one. The best part was that the girls and I were waiting in the mall outside of Best Buy, and I snapped a few photographs of the two of them. Immediately after that, a security guard came and yelled at me and said pictures are not allowed. I understand the reasoning for that, but I think it's funny that you can take one billion pictures of the White House, and every monument, every landmark, every street corner in DC, but take a picture of two little girls leaning against a pillar in a shopping center and you're OUT OF THERE!
After that task, we went to the National Zoo.
This panda clearly does not care that we are trying to take it's picture.
This was my fourth visit to DC but I've never really ventured outside of the touristy downtown area. I liked the location of the zoo because I got to see a real neighborhood, even if the neighborhood was crawling with tourists. As for the zoo itself, well, as I've said before I can take or leave zoos. I like animals just fine. What I don't like are crowds of people pushing and shoving small children against a heavy metal railing to try and take a photograph with a flash that is going to bounce off the glass anyway. Thankfully, there wasn't too much of that happening, because the zoo reminded me of the beginning of Jurassic Park, where no one could figure out why they couldn't see any dinosaurs. We did get to see Tai Shan, the giant panda. The kids did endangered animal projects at school in the spring, and in class they learned about the giant pandas at the National Zoo.
One of their classmates discovered the Panda Cam online, so Tai Shan was very popular in last year's second grade class. Besides that, well, the most exciting thing was the cheetah exhibit (cheetahs were Trinity's project), and the sprinklers that you could stand under and cool off. We left the zoo without finishing and walked through the neighborhood. I wished I was hungry because this would have been a great area to pick up a bite to eat. I did not see any chains there either (besides Starbucks, of course) so that is always a plus. But we had eaten lunch at the zoo, so instead I've just made a mental note for any future trips! We ended up at the edge of Rock Creek Park, where I took a few pictures and Trinity and Cameron ran up and down the hill several times.
Then we made our way back to the subway, which was packed solid with people. We did leave the zoo early but wandered around the area for so long that we ended up leaving just as the zoo closed and all the other tourists were heading back anyway. There was not enough room on the trains for all these people. Even after one would leave, there were still too many people waiting for the next one. So I outsmarted all those people and got on the train going in the opposite direction and waited at the next platform. We got seats and laughed as the rest of the passengers packed themselves in like sardines back at the zoo stop. There was only one sad moment in that I think this is where I lost my sunglasses. Oh, the horror!
We got off at the Capitol stop.
US Capitol, Trinity and Cameron.
This was my first time seeing the Capitol up close! I loved it. It is my new favorite site in DC. There aren't nearly as many people wandering around as there are in other places like the Lincoln Memorial. There is plenty of room to get pictures without having to wait for people to get out of the way. There aren't any mall security guards there to yell at you. Just ordinary police with rifles. We even climbed one of the cherry blossom trees. There were some other people there flying an airplane toy on the Capitol lawn. There were a few people milling around on the Capitol steps but the most part it was really peaceful. After awhile there some people set up a stage and microphone further ahead of the Capitol and appeared to be having some kind of peaceful "rally.
I wish those people would get out of the way!
" It was an anti-government thing (of the hippie variety). I felt kind of bad because no one was listening. There were maybe like 12 people gathered there. Normally I'm all over a protest like that but today wasn't the day for that. We walked back to the hotel, admired the outside of the National Museum of the American Indian which had already closed, then ate dinner and went swimming. The hotel had a pool on the rooftop, but it wasn't like you could see anything. If you walk over to the other side of the pool and then stand on top of a railing, only then can you see the Capitol. I was really disappointed that there was not a hot tub! That would have been perfect after two days of walking as much as we had. Swimming was fun, even though the water was freezing! It took a while to get used to, though. We stayed there until the pool closed and then played video games and watched the SpongeBob marathon on Nickelodeon until falling asleep.
*Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park