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Mrs. Peck Goes to the Smithsonian Zoo

You might very well assume that because I ride my bike most days, albeit at a somewhat leisurely pace, that all the walking involved with being a tourist would not present a problem. Well, you know what they say about assumptions don't you?

So, when I saw on the zoo website that despite the Woodley Park exit being labeled as the Metro stop for the zoo, the Cleveland Park exit was preferable for those who are slightly wimpish like myself. Flat from Cleveland Park, uphill all the way from Woodley--which would you choose? As my calves were still aching from the previous days activities, I chose Cleveland Park and am glad that I did. A lovely walk it was.
A smallish little shopping area, followed by what I'm thinking are park grounds with terrific ironwork defining them along the road.
I knew I was getting close when I saw the giant lions at the entrance.
Speaking of lions, I was very keen on seeing them, but what I really wanted to see was the pandas. Well, duh, who doesn't want to see the Giant Pandas while at the zoo? Accompanying Bruce to the area in July 2009, while he was building a Capital Grille in the nearby community of Chevy Chase, I visited the zoo with the express purpose of seeing the them. Well, I did not see them because they were inside staying cool, and can you blame them? Well, this time I was not disappointed, watching one of them during the early part of my visit, and returning later seeing the other panda as well. The new cub, Bei Bei is only on display from a panda cam which may or may not interest you.
Well, let me just tell you, it was great fun watching the bear play with that tube. Guess what? I lied. I went back three times! I so wish I had done a better job on this photo, the focus is on the front tree branch rather than the panda, but it's still cute. Just after I took this, he/she climbed right up into that tree!
Well, there are other animals to see so let's begin with this Fishing cat from Thailand! Can you imagine a cat that swims underwater for long distances?
And then there are elephants, quite a few actually, however, their large area to roam was being repaired so I saw them with their trainers closer to the "Elephant House." A posted schedule of their daily activities includes exercise and training which is what you are seeing here.
As you can imagine, I was very keen on going to the "Bird House", however, refurbishment is ongoing so the birds, without exaggerating, were few and far between. I did see a Red Crested Cardinal that was quite pretty.
Guira Cookoos, very interesting birds,
and a burrowing owl that just stared and stared.
I sure wish it would have done some burrowing! So that pretty much sums up the birds--a big disappointment to be sure.

The kids barnyard area was fairly small, with cute Miniature Donkeys, along with a few cows and goats. Oh yeah, a llama too.
Next stop was the Amazonia exhibit with fascinating fish swimming in huge aquariums, including this gigantic Arapaima.
Furthermore, a 15,000 square feet rainforest habitat includes huge, well as huge as they can grow with a roof over their heads, kapok trees, as well as a Chicle tree!
Watching your step is a good idea in there because it is very wet.
I was delighted to see a Roseate Spoonbill there, but wouldn't it have been neat if I'd seen a monkey?
I will say the shade of pink on this bird was beautiful!

Finally I made my way to the big cat exhibit. The tigers were sleeping in their den, as was the big boy male lion, Luke.
I presume this is one of the females?

I only wish I'd watched this video before visiting! Turns out they have a pride of lions at the zoo!
I'm now inclined to think what I was seeing were some of the young ones, grown much larger than in the video because they are now 1 1/2 years old?

The zoo was getting ready for Halloween festivities with many workers putting up decorations. I now know how they get lights way up in the trees.
It was a good day to visit the zoo, not too hot, not too cold. I only wish I'd seen more birds, the cheetahs (hiding), and that the elephants were roaming around. All minor complaints that are easier to swallow now that I've been able to watch the Giant Pandas in person!

Leaving the zoo, I walked back to the Woodley Park station to make my way back to Tysons Corner. Some hardy folks I talked to were tired, but pressing on to visit Arlington. Not this girl.

We stayed at the Hyatt, located off the plaza I mentioned in my last post. A very sophisticated hotel decorated with neutrals only, well except for the art piece in our room on the 14th floor.
The plaza hosts people exercising, festivals, and there are giant game boards set up, including chess and checkers. Not to mention, ORANGE benches for relaxing.
It is a little difficult to see, but on the tower across from Earls the sign says, Limited Trophy Space Available. That's a new one on me...trophy space. Tysons Corner, or so I've learned, is an extremely wealthy community with a median family income of $131, 717!! In comparison, the median income for a family in Orlando is $56, 634. Of course our taxes are lower, but still. That may explain why there is a Tesla store in the mall!
With actual people in there! I spent very little time there aside from getting a bagel in the mornings at Panera. There are loads of food options including Wasabi, pictured below, which I've just learned has a location in Florida Mall as well.
Sushi in a mall? My, how times have changed.

The zoo in a nutshell, or make that a blog post! Can you stand one more of a Giant Panda?
Of course you can!!! (no earthly idea what the food is!)

Memorials up next,

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