Saturday, January 3, 2009

An Afternoon at the National Zoo

Kylie has been asking us for awhile now if we can go see "the animals". So, today we made her wish come true by going to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park or the National Zoo in D.C. We had looked into going to the Maryland Zoo only to find that it is closed for the season :( It all worked out though because admission to the National Zoo is free & they have lots of great animals to see! I was actually surprised at how many animals they have there! It's been years since I've been back there & it was great to go back with my own children!
One of the highlights of the trip for the girls was taking the Metro or "Zoo Train", as Kylie called it. Even though it's part of the Mass Transit system in the MD/DC/VA area, to Kylie it was primarily the train that takes you to the Zoo! At every stop she thought it was the zoo & was eager to get off! She was definitely excited!!

Kylie enjoying her ride on the "Zoo Train".

Jillian super excited about her ride on the Metro!

Once we got off the Metro at Cleveland Park, it was only a short 5 minute walk to the Zoo's entrance. We had Jillian in the Ergo carrier & Kylie was a trooper walking every step from beginning to end of our day! Our first priority was lunch at the "Mane Restaurant" since we were all hungry for lunch. Once our tummies were full we were off to explore all the animals & their habitats. Our first stop was the Kids' Farm & looked at some hogs, cows, donkeys, & llamas. Then it was off to see the elephants & hippos. Unfortunately, they are working on the elephant habitat so we only got to see the hippos, but the girls loved them! The large hippo sneezed in the water & scared all the kids that were looking at him! It was pretty funny! There was also a Capybara, which is the largest rodent in the world - basically a large rat, but cuter.

The entrance at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

One of the lion statues that guard the entrance to the zoo.

The cows & a llama at the Kids' Farm.

The donkeys at the farm.

One of the pygmy hippos walking around in his habitat.

The BIG hippo swimming around.

The capybara - the world's largest rodent!

Next, we headed to the "Great Cats" habitat which had the lions & tigers - this was my favorite part of the day! There were two female lions & two tigers out & I was able to get some great shots of them! The lions were lounging around, but the tigers were playing with big rubber balls, which was hilarious! The one tiger kept loosing his ball in the water & Kylie kept laughing everytime he would jump when his paws touched the water! They were really cool!

Gorgeous lion

Checking out the crowd

What a beautiful tiger!!

Playing with his ball in the water.

Kylie posing for a picture on a bear statue on our way to see the Great Cats!

Our next stop was the Invertebrates & Reptile Discovery Center! These were Craig's favorite spots - me, not so much.....We saw a giant octopus, nautilus, lobsters, spiders, iguanas, tons of snakes, & a komodo dragon, just to name a few! Kylie loved the different colored frogs, turtles, & the crocodiles! Jillian was just in awe of everything!

A basilisk - for all you Harry Potter fans! Definitely not like the one in the movie!

A Cuban Crocodile sitting right up against the glass!

A Komodo Dragon!

Kylie checking out the Bearded Dragons - she was so excited that she found all three by herself!!

A reptile from Craig's home state - a Florida Mangrove Snake.

Daddy & Jillian watching a giant lobster - I had to turn my flash off because he retreated when it went off :( Sorry!

A giant freshwater prawn (shrimp) - how about putting some Old Bay on him!

The Giant Pacific Octopus - this particular one is very old. The volunteer said if it stretched out its tentacles it would touch the other side of the tank!

A large Water Monitor - he gave me the creeps!

The girls posing in a dinosaur head outside of the Reptile Center - Daddy's holding Jillian because she was too scared to actually go inside with Kylie.

Along our walk around the zoo, we came across the Prairie Playland, home to the prairie dogs! The girls got a kick out of them as they popped in & out of their holes! One cute little guy was hanging out eating on the side of the hill. Definitely got a few giggles from our girls!

One of the prairie dogs popping out for a quick bite to eat.

Nibbling on a branch...isn't he cute?

Our next stop was the Small Mammal House where we got to see armadillos, lemurs, squirrels, shrews, tamarins, & sloths! Kylie loved the meerkats! One little guy was digging like a madman & just cracked Kylie up!

Armadillos trying to catch a snooze...

Two Golden Lion Tamarins - they were really fun to watch jumping from tree to tree!

Kylie saying "Hello" to the Meerkats!

Keeping a eye on the "Meerkat Manor"

A Lemur peeking out from behind the leaves.

Our final stop was Kylie's favorite! It was the Giant Panda Habitat! Outside the habitat we got to see a Red Panda that looked a little like a cross between a panda & a raccoon! He was really cute! Kylie loved watching the giant pandas play & munch on their bamboo shoots! She's been obsessed with watching "Kung Fu Panda" lately & seeing them was the highlight of her day - and ours too!

Red Panda - doesn't he look cool?

One of the giant pandas hanging out in the bamboo.

This panda was hilarious - he was rolling around on his back playing with a piece of bamboo!

What a day!! It was a bit long & a little chilly, but we had a great time! The girls had a blast & the smiles on their faces were enough to make it a success! I'm sure we'll be back to the pandas again & some other animals that we didn't get a chance to see today. If you are ever in the area & have a chance, definitely make a trip to the National Zoo!

1 comment:

Andi said...

Looks like the Thayer Family had another great family outing!