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:)!
1 day ago