It would have been silly to waste a train fare to Washington DC on just collecting N's passport from the Dutch embassy right? So we went to check out the Smithsonian (read: free) National Zoo too! Now being free, and in the middle of the capital city, we weren't expecting a whole lot, and thought we'd be home in the afternoon some time. But it's actually really big, and we managed to spend about three and a half hours wandering around!
Admittedly the trip didn't start out quite as planned. We arrived around 11am in the pouring rain which was freezing on the cold ground to find all of the gates closed. After hitting up a conveniently placed Starbucks for their free WiFi we discovered that due to the inclement weather they weren't going to open until noon. Not being ones to give up (and being nice and warm and dry with our hot milky drinks and free internet) we decided to wait it out, and I'm so glad we did. This is one awesome zoo!
We started out on the Asia trail, where many of the animals were inside due to the cold. The first thing we spotted was a fishing cat:
Closely followed by a sleepy red panda, which I don't think I've ever seen before because the ones at Bristol Zoo never seem to be around:
And this may be one of the highlights of my day, a real life giant panda! (One for you Panda :) )
Then we moved on to the bird house which was pretty awesome. I didn't take any photos because it was inside, but we saw some cool birds, like a tiny burrowing owl, and some cool kingfishers. There were loads of cardinals out and about around the zoo, which really stand out this time of year. Possibly my favourite US bird:
There were also some birds outside, including these crazy flamingos, which were making a lot of noise and running back and forth for no apparent reason:
We also saw bustards from a distance which are pretty massive! Talking of massive things, unfortunately we weren't able to see any elephants.
The North America trail was also cool, with some more animals I've never seen before, including these awesome beavers. We just caught them being fed :)
And a wolf. oooooo
Apparently after lunch I forgot to take photos, but we saw lots more awesome animals, including an eye to eye encounter with an orangutan! And some cheetahs. And a Komodo dragon!
All in all, a fun day!