But The Pandas Wake Up Early!

On Friday morning Ashwini texted me with instructions to meet her at the zoo in an hour. “But that’s so soon,” I said. “But the pandas wake up early!” she said. So, I quickly dressed and headed up to Woodley Park to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
 
Just as I got to the zoo, Ashwini texted me with some bad news. The giant pandas had been put away for their week of breeding. Meh. I wasn’t too disappointed though – the pandas are a little boring anyway, all they do is stay in the shade and sleep. I was more excited to see the elephants. The new Asian Elephant Exhibit was finally finished!
 

 
My map reading and navigation skills have never been any good, so of course I got lost trying to find Ashwini and her family over by the Red Pandas. I was ready to give up the quest and tell her to find me by the elephants, when I caught up with them. The red panda was asleep in a tree, but a crowd started gathering by the Giant Panda Exhibit. One of the giant pandas had been let out and he started rubbing his butt on everything. I guess that’s part of the mating ritual. At least we got to see a giant panda.

He needs a bath

 
Next stop: the Elephants!

 

The new Elephant Community Center is impressive. It’s spacious and you actually get quite close to the elephants. So close that after one of elephants got tired of playing with a tyre, she pooped right there. I’m pretty sure I heard it hit the ground. They play, they poop. (Thanks Yetman) By the way, elephant poop is not the size of a truck tyre, ok Daddy! 

Side note: When I was little, I asked my father if he could get me an elephant for my birthday. He explained that elephant poop is the size of the truck tyre and that wouldn’t be practical in our yard. 

We visited the Small Mammal House where the golden lion tamarins kept popping up everywhere. The real star of the show, however, was one particular meerkat who had everyone’s attention. He didn’t miss a beat and kept posing for his audience. Such a rockstar!

Small mammals – done! Next stop: the gorillas!
Let me set the scene for you: there were three gorillas out in the yard – Mom, a baby and a tween. The Momma gorilla was breezing out on a rock, while the tween was being a typical older brother and not sharing his food with his baby brother. Baby bro clearly just wanted a little bit, but big bro kept turning around and taunting baby bro. Suddenly, the enormous silverback gorilla bounded out of the Ape House, and charged towards the younger gorillas. Baby bro and big bro looked absolutely terrified as they tried to run away, but it was too late. The silverback snatched the paper bag from big bro’s hand and shoved it into his mouth. That’s what happens when you don’t share, big bro!
We went into the Ape House but it smelled so badly that I walked right out. Seriously monkeys, get your acts together. At the Reptile House, we saw crocodiles, monitors, iguanas, chameleons, and the Grenada Anaconda’s cousin.
We saw butterflies, echinoderms, jellyfish and spiders. Beavers, sea lions, a white bald eagle and an anteater. Crabs, turtles and a komodo dragon. Babies in strollers, stressed out parents with babies in strollers, and a white wolf. A tiny pony, ravens, lemurs, and two very lazy lions.
The pandas wake up early, but Ashwini getting photobombed by a little kid was the best part of the trip.

 

 

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