The first time we hit the National Zoo, we were without a stroller. After walking to and from the metro and around the zoo, Benton was worn out. This fatigue was compounded by unhappy, hungry and grumpy siblings. Armed with a stroller and fresh attitudes, we decided to visit the zoo again and see what we missed.
This visit we took the Asia Trail immediately. We glimpsed the pandas last time, but missed many of the other animals. This time even the pandas were active giving us quite a show. The kiddos were thrilled to see it moving about its enclosure. Exploring the zoo this direction ensured we would walk over a bridge near the elephants enabling us to view them from above. Many questions were asked about their habitat and how their movements were managed by large gates.
With a lot of running, skipping and yelling, we crossed the bridge and ventured into the land of birds. So many birds were on display at the Bird House. We saw a variety of owls, parrots, peafowl and flamingos. All the colors were so vibrant. One peacock even opened his tail feathers for us squawking at a competing male all the while.
Since Aine was eager to see the great cats, and Eamon wanted to check out Amazonia, we then headed to the rear of the zoo. The cats were reclining, which made them a bit harder to see. The kiddos were not bothered and enjoyed a display nearby illustrating the decline of tigers due to encroaching civilization and competition for resources.
The farm was on the way to the Amazonia exhibit. Lllamas, pigs, donkeys, cattle, and goats were on display. Aine was disappointed that it wasn't a petting zoo. She really loves to be near the animals. We chatted a bit with the zookeepers and watched them feed the donkeys. The funniest event was watching them vacuum the goats' enclosure. When asked, the zookeeper replied he was vacuuming the poop. This caused quite a stir with my bunch.
Amazonia was a disappointment as Eamon was sure it would have hissing cockroaches once he entered the exhibit and heard the buzz of insects (I think it was actual audiotape, not live). He refused to go any further and wanter to stay outside. After a bit of negotiating he did go as far as the sting rays, but was pretty freaked out by the idea of the bugs. Aine, Benton and I decided to visit another day by ourselves in an effort to respect Eamon's uncertainty.
On the way out, we discover the prairie dog play area. This was great fun as Aine pretended to be a prairie dog that was being pursued by two brotherly predators. So much laughter could be heard as they played this game. Every now and then the prey and predator roles would switch and more shuffling, running, leaping and hiding would ensue. On this note, we decided to end the day and return home. I am pleased that we were able to see the rest of the zoo and enjoy such a gorgeous day together (even if it was a bit warm at the end)