Skip to content

Pictures from our trip to the National Zoo

November 21, 2007

National Zoo Pandas

National Zoo Flamingos

Enjoying the National Zoo

Enjoying the National Zoo

We didn’t take very many pictures last Saturday at the National Zoo in Washington DC, but we had a great time. The weather was sunny but a little cold. We got a great view of the pandas eating. We hadn’t been to the bird exhibits before, so that was fun. There were some really brightly colored, beautiful birds that impressed us all.

In front of the elephant stables, a group of women was performing elephant-like dances from Sri Lanka under a small tent. There were handicrafts, food, hot teas and sari displays to celebrate the relationship between Sri Lanka and the Smithsonian Institution.

From the celebration in 2006, the Embassy of Sri Lanka’s webpage quotes Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke. β€œIn ancient times, our kings gifted elephants to other royal courts in Asia and beyond, and that tradition continues. You may be aware that Kandula’s mother, Shanthi, was a gift from the children of Sri Lanka to the National Zoo in 1976. Therefore, the elephant contributes significantly to fostering better understanding of our culture and people.” Last year was Kandula’s 5th birthday.

In the picture of my daughter with the eagle statue, you may be able to see her holding a paper flag from Sri Lanka. At the time, we weren’t quite sure what the celebration in front of the elephant stables was really about. Being at the Zoo with my children primarily centered around my son yelling, “Moooooooooooo cow!” at each of the animals.

We had been to the Zoo only about a month ago, but it was pouring rain and we were hurried and distracted by that. Actually, going back to the Zoo this time was made more rewarding by having been there not long ago. My son and daughter still had the memory of the last time in their minds and paid more attention this time. They were much more observant and enthusiastic. My daughter especially wanted to get a good look at the zebras. We were also looking for giraffes, but the National Zoo doesn’t currently have any. We spent a lot of time meowing at the cheetahs and howling at the mane wolves.

We’ve never been all the way down Olmstead Walk because we are ready to go home after about 3 hours. We still have not seen over half of the Zoo including the bears, lions and tigers. And, of course, my son would love to go to the Kids’ Farm eventually.

  1. November 21, 2007 9:45 am

    Love the photo of the Pandas!

  2. November 21, 2007 10:09 am

    Those panda bears are DARLING!

    The pink flamingos freak me out a little.

    You are looking GORGEOUS as always!

    I’ve missed you! Sorry I haven’t been around as much. I’ll try to stop in more often. πŸ™‚

  3. November 21, 2007 2:18 pm

    Travel Therapy, thanks for your comment. I like that picture too because they seem to be smiling!

    FFPT, thanks for your comment. I think it’s great that you come by when you can. You are always welcome. Do the flamingos freak you out for any particular reason? Did you have a bad experience with a prankster and plastic lawn ornaments?

  4. November 21, 2007 3:48 pm

    Okay, you guys. I knew this would happen. I am so good at carrying other people’s water and now I have been given reason to “carry water for the elephants” (thanks go to Dan Zanes for the lyrics and from now on that song will have a whole other meaning for my family).

    Here are two websites that will help you understand elephants in captivity, elephant behavior, communication style, connection to family, need for space and other things that will make you sad and hopefully you will join me in carrying their water.

  5. ammcomms permalink
    November 21, 2007 4:08 pm

    Thank you, FW, for volunteering to “carry water for the elephants.” I notice that you support progressive causes for people; elephants are one of the animals most like human animals in their intelligence, complex social relationships and family bonds. Think of this as fighting for the rights of elephants to live better lives.

    If I might add one more link — In Defense of Animals is the leading organization advocating for elephants in zoos. Learn more about elephants’ lives in zoos and what you can do to make it better —

  6. The Cheese Stands Alone permalink
    November 21, 2007 6:25 pm

    Hey Fighting Windmills and FFPT, I didn’t know you guys were in the DC area! Me too!

    I’ve always loved the National Zoo, but the last time my husband and I were there we were a little taken aback by the zoo’s appearance. It seemed to be a little run down and unkempt.

    I asked one of the workers in the Small Mammal House if they were understaffed and politely mentioned that the zoo didn’t seem to be as clean and well maintained as I had remembered.

    She said that the last set of pandas that we had (Ling Ling and Zsing Zsing) were a gift from The People’s Republic of China. The set of pandas we have now are being “leased” and that they are VERY EXPENSIVE. She said that having the pandas was really draining the zoo’s budget and that funding for the zoo had already had significant cuts. They have not been able to replace animals that have died because they do not have the funding.

    I really hope that they find a new way to fund the zoo! 😦 I remember what a treat it was to go there as a kid or on a field trip!

  7. November 21, 2007 8:41 pm

    I also got the impression that the National Zoo was lacking funds. Maybe that’s why there are no giraffes? At any rate there is a lot of construction underway around the elephant area which is where I remember the giraffes once were. The cheetahs looked awful, that is why I didn’t post their picture. One of them was pacing along the fence incessantly, poor thing.

    ammcomms, I went to the Elephant Sanctuary’s website when you sent me the link. My daughter and I got to know all of the elephants there by looking at their pictures, comparing the lengths of their trunks, the size of their ears, etc. We saw some really sweet videos of the elephants “retiring” by unloading off a tractor trailer truck to live the rest of their lives in the sanctuary. It was educational and a good way to talk to my daughter about what we saw at the zoo. Thank you!

    Cheese, I would have mentioned my location to you on Duh’s blog, but I don’t have any idea who you are, so I didn’t want to be all in your face about it. πŸ˜‰

  8. ammcomms permalink
    November 21, 2007 9:13 pm

    The zoo used to have 2 giraffes. One had cancer and they had to put him down; the other they sent to another zoo. The construction you saw is for the new elephant exhibit. The current exhibit is 3/4-acre; the new one will be 4 acres — still too small for animals who can walk tens of miles a day, and it will be especially small if they ever get up to the 10-12 elephants they’d like to have. (Also — the 4 acre figure is kind of misleading since it includes the house, which will be expanded from what it is now, areas for people, etc. It’s unclear how much space the eles will actually have access to.) The exhibit is supposed to be finished in 2011 and is slated to cost $60 million, making it the most expensive elephant exhibit ever.

    fighting — I’m delighted you liked the Sanctuary’s site. That’s exactly what they want to do — educate people about elephants and their lives. What can I say? It’s addictive. πŸ™‚

  9. November 21, 2007 10:44 pm

    And a post by David Horton over at the Huffington Post:

    Thanks ammcomms, for encouraging me to think about animals’ lives. Dang it, all these buckets of water, sloshing everywhere.

  10. thecanvasgrey permalink
    November 24, 2007 6:03 pm

    FW, beautiful pics, please empty any buckets I may have given you! I certainly would NEVER want you to carry anything but those beautiful kids! Keep smiling!

  11. November 25, 2007 9:48 am

    CG, I wouldn’t carry the water if I didn’t want to. πŸ˜‰ I appreciate your friendship and I am happy to support you in any way I can.

  12. Accountable permalink
    November 26, 2007 11:33 am

    One of these days, I’d like to take the kids to Brookfield Zoo. We have a small zoo here in town, but it’s a small town zoo that we’ve been to a couple of times.

    Thanks for sharing your kids with all of us!

  13. November 26, 2007 11:52 am

    Accountable, going to the Brookfield Zoo would be a great family trip! I hope you all get to do it. In the meantime, check out the elephant websites. My daughter loves hearing them trumpet in chorus!

  14. November 26, 2007 12:15 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! I especially love the flamingos. πŸ™‚

  15. globetrotteri permalink
    November 30, 2007 11:33 am

    I can’t decide whether I like the flamingos or pandas better. Terrific photos! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to the neighborhood!

  16. December 16, 2007 7:55 pm

    Great pics from the zoo. Thanks for visiting my homeschool blog that I have now merged into my regular blog. We are trying to make it to the Zoo Lights but haven’t just yet. πŸ™‚ I love your background, do you speak Japanese and/or tutor?

  17. December 17, 2007 11:35 am

    SouthernGirl, I am so glad that you came over and commented. When I first saw your National Zoo pictures I was using Tarski as my blog’s theme too. Our posts looked so similar I was amazed. Now I’ve switched themes, but I’m still happy to make your acquaintance. I wasn’t sure if you had even noticed my comment on your blog since you had moved on.

    I do speak Japanese. I’ve never tried to tutor anyone. The man who taught me is Akira Suzuki at the University of Richmond. Let me know if you want more information on textbooks or other web resources. πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: