Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

When I first moved to DC way back in the dark ages, I lived in the magical neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant.  Magical because it exists behind the National Zoo.  Some morning you wake up to the gibbons going crazy (I'd later learn that this was their wake up call -- and totally natural), or you'd go to bed to the lions roaring.  I quickly figured out I could live a life-long dream and work with apes by volunteering at the National Zoo.

No one remembers when my ape-thing started, but I've always been a non-human primate girl.  I mean look at this face and tell me you are not fascinated by what she might be thinking:


Yes, that is a dixie cup in her mouth -- orangutans love to chew on things.  In the wild they chew on leaves, vines, fruit pits and seeds; in captivity they chew on whatever we'll give them.  Local hotels donate their old sheets and the orangutans not only sleep under them (yes they do!), but tear them into little strips to chew.  They especially love to chew on cloth with food, to get the flavor in the sheet for long lasting enjoyment.

O.k. I'm getting slightly off topic... So of course, on my most recent trip to DC I had to go to the zoo, particularly because I was accompanied by my nephew.  Jayden doesn't share my love for apes, but I'm still working on that.

The orangutans entertained well -- they crossed the O-line every time we were under it (not directly under it, because I warned my family that peeing on people is super entertaining for the orangutans).

On this trip, we had to see everything, including the pandas.  Frankly I don't understand the love of pandas.  They just sit around.  They are just not as engaging as apes!  But I will give them some props, because on this trip they were eating bamboo and that is basically more movement than I've ever seen from them before.



But frankly, the lizards are more interesting...



And the turtles...




And even though he said he pandas are his favorite animal, Jayden seemed more excited about the animal statues, with which he always has to have several photos taken.




And we ended our trip to the incredible National Zoo by being scared by the yell of this peacock (I thought Jayden was going to fall into the little pond nearby when the peacock yelled the first time we were near it).