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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

This week on PBD...

We went to the zoo.

The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C.

I guess since we live within driving (or, in our case Metro-ing) distance, you could call it a staycation.

Honestly, I hate that word, but I'm thinking it kinda fits here, even though I'd really just call it a day trip.

Anyway, call it whatever you want, I'm gonna a call it fun!

Or, mostly fun. Yeah, lets call it mostly fun.

The sweat-inducing-funk-promoting heat, combined with the surly-heat-exhausted temperament of the children, and the holier-than-thou-I-hate-kids-and-am-pretty-much-lazy attitude of fellow Metro riders prevented it from being good, old fashioned fun.

Luckily the animals and the other visitors at the zoo kept us all pretty well entertained, and allowed us to have a mostly-fun-will-undoubtedly-do-it-again-next-year day.

Planning a trip?

Here is my Wordful (tip filled) Wednesday post to help you plan for it.

Tip 1: Get there early. Especially if you are planning to go in the summer months when the place is literally invaded by droves of day campers being poorly supervised by overworked-underpaid-barely-grown-ups more interested in flirting with their coworkers than ensuring that little Emma doesn't tumble from the guardrail into the lion's pen. Luckily this DID NOT happen, but I so saw it going down something like that.

Tip 2: Use public transportation.

The D.C. Metro system (despite current events detailing the contrary) works quite well. It is convenient, easy to navigate, and cost effective (zoo parking would have cost us $20 for the day, seriously, TWENTY AMERICAN DOLLARS!). Just a word of caution, though. For various reasons, many of the D.C. natives are a little rough around the edges (& by rough around the edges, I mean that they seem to lack many common courtesies that human beings develop through traditional forms of socialization). Not all of them, but some of them (who are probably really Marylanders commuting into the city) have a serious problem being tolerant of young people. So, in an effort to be welcomed back into the city, let me apologize for my own part in the various misunderstandings that occurred on my most recent child accompanied journey. Sorry my baby buggy was such a space hog, it really is one of the slimmer models (a small Maclaren) available. Sorry, that my use of said buggy required that I utilize the elevator, thereby taking up a space that you, able bodied though you may be, clearly meant to own. Sorry my kids were so excited that their slightly elevated voices interrupted your cat nap (or your cell phone call, as the case may be). And, finally, my bad for stumbling all over your feet while I attempted to steady my child as the train bumped and jolted him all over the car. As there were no seats available (or people willing to vacate for a woman traveling with three small children) we were forced to stand; a chore the little ones have zero experience with. My bad. I'm sure you are at home regretting your choices regarding this matter as you read. No worries, I forgive you! But next time you see a hot-flustered-obviously-on-the-edge-one-in-a-blue-moon-child-strapped traveler struggling to keep it all together, you may want to make way, everyone is not quite as nice or forgiving as I am :).

Tip 3: Visit the elephants, the Gorillas, and the pandas for sure. But be wary. The elephants stink. The gorillas make you want to cry.

I mean, doesn't that kinda look like a dejected, old human sitting there, depressed at being gawked at endlessly, and bored to tears by the monotony of it all? Smile, Gorilla, your on candid camera! And the pandas, beautiful as their expansive (newly designed) enclosure may be, are difficult to locate (I'm all for animal privacy, but I kinda want to be able to see the little buggers), but so cool to watch if you do.

Tip 4: Wear appropriate shoes and clothing. This lady didn't.

She was sad. And, many other visitors were dressed so ridiculously bad (and I'm not even talking about the ones with the fashion since of a hippo), that I'm not sure how they made it through the 88 degree day wearing pantie hose (yes, pantie hose!), long sleeved, black shirts, and platform shoes. It's a pretty big place, so you might want to really consider your attire for the day before you step out.

Tip 5: Make time for people watching. The zoo patrons are quite possibly more enthralling (and easier to spot) than the animals. Listening to people chastising their children (or their husbands), watching the mating rituals of teenagers, and trying to understand how that booty fit into those jeans are just a sampling of what's in store for the professional people watcher.

Tip 6: Bring your own food. Entrance to the zoo is free, but they totally rape you on the food (just like any other "amusement" park). They say it goes to take care of the animals (so crap like this doesn't happen), but if you need to save, say $40, then bring your own edibles.

Tip 7: Bring water. It's a big zoo, you're gonna be parched, and they are gonna charge you like it's gold for a bottle of water (or give you a free cup so small you'll spend 75% of your trip refilling the thing).

Tip 8: Watch out for flying monkeys!

Coolest thing the kids say was the organutans crossing on their o-ring (teehee!), or whatever it's called. They let them traverse the zoo on these high in the sky wires and the kids were so excited by it (and so was I a little). So, beware of flying monkey turd balls, I've heard they're known for that!

Tip 9: Take tons of pictures. I do anyway, so you should too!

Tip 10: Have fun, silly! It's a really nice zoo (and it's free unlike all of the other ones in the area that charge an arm and a leg for you to maybe, possibly, if you're lucky get a glimpse of a couple of wild things while you're there), they have tons of different animals there, and they are making some really nice improvements. So, it's worth a visit.

Been to D.C. before?

Where do you like to visit with the kiddies? We need some suggestions.

Or, have a place you want us to preview for you? We're up for it, seeing how we're gluttons for Metro induced punishment:)!


ck said...

We just went on Monday and I always go back and forth on my feelings about it. I love that it's close and that the girls are learning about the animals. But the way that many of the animals (especially the apes)sit with their backs to the people makes me feel guilty for looking.

But the sprayers ROCK!

blueviolet said...

I've been to DC 3 or 4 times. The last time we did go to the zoo and just like you, we used public transportation to get there. I love that zoo. First stop was the pandas. I think the babies were just on display for the first time and it was sooooo busy. Everyone had to be really quiet so they wouldn't get scared.

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

I always wear stilettos and fishnets to the zoo.

Just kidding ... I'd never wear stilettos and fishnets, not even if I were, like, a hooker.

Sounds like a fun trip. :)

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

You made me laugh! Glad you had a good day.

Tania (via SITS)

{Kiki} said...

Great pics. I have always wanted to visit the zoo there. I want to take lil' D to the museums there, especially the Smithsonian. Happy WW and take care.

{Kiki} said...

Great pics. I have always wanted to visit the zoo there. I want to take lil' D to the museums there, especially the Smithsonian. Happy WW and take care.

confused homemaker said...

Never been to DC but we do go to the zoo here a lot. The kids have fun & there are also lots of people oddly dressed. I don't get wearing heels for the zoo. Great pics too.

Charisse said...

You zoo is free? Is that what I read? How totally cool is that? Our zoo is so very NOT FREE. But I love the people at the zoo more than the animals. The animals DO look bored and tired of performing most often. And once it gets too hot for us out there it is way too hot for them and it seems all they want to do is lie around and wave their tails at us.

Octamom said...

What a great day! I haven't been to the National Zoo in a long time--but I always loved going when I lived in DC!


ShellSpann said...

I never realized that any zoo wasn't free. Our zoo (in St. Louis) has always been free and I just assumed every zoo was free.

MIra is triplet crown said...

The Gorillas at the National Zoo always depressed me too. I think they really need to work on their enclosure. Also I always got shin splints walking around that zoo. So much up and down hill and it is a heck of a lot of walking! The zoos here are nicer to the animals but much smaller. Not so much death. (except when the tiger leapt out of his enclosure and mauled a taunting teenager to death. ahem) Trying to think of things that are fun to do around there. Been to the children's museum downtown?

Lolli said...

My problem with the zoo is that my family is so stinking huge that after I pay for the metro parking and metro tickets for all of us, I might as well have brought my own car. But, the parking is always full, and half the time I have to park on the street and WALK anyway.

The way people dress cracks me up, too. What are they thinking??

Jennifer said...

I love the zoo, but prefer to go when it is cooler. Animal and pee just doesn't mix.

Stacie's Madness said...

yay, great post!

Laura said...

My kids are too old to drag to the zoo anymore, but I use to love it. Now they are teenagers and qualify to apply for housing there.

We did a staycation (due to gas prices) last year and had one of our best vacations ever!

Free Zoo? OMG. Don't expect that in Denver.

Orange Juice said...

OMG that lady was LAME! First of all the shoes were super ugly as it was then to wear to the zoo? LAMO!

Looks like you had FUN!

Orange Juice said...

or mostly fun...

Lisa Anne said...

I love the zoo. Ohh the picture of the gorilla did make sad. These are wonderful tips for taking any vacation or day trip.

The closest zoo to me is the San Francisco zoo and I'm nervous to go there. An animal killed a kid on xmas day a few years back and then went after people eating in the food court. I think the animal was provoked, but still scary!

At the SF zoo the baboons would throw their poop at you. As a kid it was funny, till you got hit with it. And whats with seagulls? As soon as I walk into the zoo i'm hit with their poop. Everytime, its crazy. Baboon poop, seagull poop. The zoo is great!!

Alicia said...

fun!! too bad our zoo sucks here. next time i'm totally wearing seems appropriate!

Anonymous said...

That place sounds so cool. Alas I was in high school the last time I visited DC, and my brothers would have rioted if they saw One. More. Educational. Thing.
Oh, and what's up with the bachalorette's dude cheating on her? And that he said they were the most successful couple of the show's history?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I've never been to D.C., let alone the zoo (I know, I know, what kind of American am I.) So thanks for the tour!

angie said...

What great tips. Is admission to the zoo free like the other smithsonians?

Louise | UPrinting said...

Looks like the whole family had fun on the zoo. The flying monkey made me laugh, but the lonely gorilla made me depressed. Why, even gorillas can feel the sadness brought by the recession! :D
Thanks for pointing out the rude commuters. I had to deal with them every darn day. But sometimes you just got to let it pass. I guess they're just there to ruin your day, and of course, you won't let them do that now, would you? :)

Kristin said...

I'm thinking it's time for the dude's first zoo trip. He's ridiculously tickled by animals.

Anonymous said...

Oh man... who would were shoes like that (or the clothes you describe) to the zoo? Insane.

We love going to the zoo. Someday we'll have to try the national zoo when we are in the area.

Nice blog... visiting from SITs

PropellerHeadMom said...

My husband's parents and sister live in the DC area. In fact, my son RJ is visiting them this week and I think he may have been at the zoo too. I am sure you saw him amongst the thousands of other visitors :-) The last time I was there, I was 2 or 3 months pregnant with my youngest boy (now 3 yrs). The stench from the elephants doesn't help much with morning sickness!

Giving away two copies of the movie Extract starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. Contest ends 4/2/10.
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