Lions and Tigers and Cows, OH MY! The Zoo.

When we moved to Pennsylvania in 2015 we knew that one of the places we would try to frequent as much as possible would be Washington DC. It was only an hour and half from our house so we went as much as we possibly could, checking out all of the well known memorials, Arlington Cemetery and the Smithsonian museums. There was one hidden gem that ended up being our favorite go to spot (or at least mine haha), the National Zoo. So naturally when we moved back here a few weeks ago on the top of our list of must do things with Naomi was go to the Zoo. It may or may not have been close to the top of the list for more my sake than hers, but any excuse I can get to see a bunch of animals I will take. Plus its free, so you can’t go wrong!

Joel’s class had planned a little get together at the Zoo on this Saturday awhile back, but we had held off committing to it because of the unpredictability of DC weather, and well the unpredictability of Naomi. The week leading up to the planned Zoo trip Naomi had been really great, and the weather looked like it was going to be really nice, warm and mid 50s! So the Zoo trip was a go. Due to COVID we had to reserve tickets ahead of time, not paid tickets, just tickets that said how many people would be there. Normally I think we would have taken the metro, but the trip would more than likely have been close to 40 minutes with transferring of trains. While the trip to the Zoo more than likely would have been no problem, we were really concerned about traveling 40 minutes back to our apartment with possibly a very ornery toddler. Not only is that not fun for us, but not fun for the rest of those with us on the train. So we opted to take our car and paid for parking.

Checking out the bears
Working on walking, not running, to prepare for walking in an airport terminal

Due to the beautiful weather and the predicted snow storm for the following day (the weather here is even more temperamental than WI, who knew that was possible!) the Zoo was pretty busy already in the morning. Joel’s planned class get together was for later in the morning and we knew if we waited until then that Naomi would probably only be good for about an hour if that, so we decided to get there earlier to give her more time to enjoy the Zoo before needing to head back for lunch and a nap. Naomi started off the morning a little rough. When we got to the Zoo she saw all the kids running around and I think she though she could do the same, but we put her in her stroller right away and she was NOT HAVING IT. It was the full stiff body and screaming toddler losing their mind scene that every parent loves everyone else witnessing. Joel and I looked at each other and I’m pretty sure we were thinking the same thing, “crap”. If she was already ticked and we weren’t even inside, things did not look good for us. If this is any indication what the wonderful two’s will be like, we are IN TROUBLE. Pray for us! We decided to just go for it and see what would happen, with the most ticked off look on her face and tears running down her face we approached the entrance. We must have looked a little bit ridiculous, Joel and I singing “Old McDonald” to try and distract Naomi, and every once and awhile she would pipe in with a “moo”, but then continue to look incredibly irritated.

We started out at the children’s farm, and we finally got her to crack a smile at the cows, and then we were good to go. The temperature was in the mid to up 50s and you could tell that the animals were loving it as much as the people were. Most of the animals were out, enjoying the sun, even the pandas were out eating! (pretty big deal, they never seem to be out!). We were able to make a full circle at the Zoo, stopping to get close to the Elephants, look at the Lions, but the big hit for Naomi was the super active bears.

 We were able to briefly meet up with Joel’s classmates in Panda Plaza, but we were right in thinking that Naomi wouldn’t last much past that. While waiting for everyone else to show up she started doing the eye rubs, so we quickly said Hi and Bye and then made our way out the park. We were so glad that we decided to take our car instead of the metro. Naomi did really great, but I think the longer ride on the metro towards the end of a pretty busy and stimulating morning might have pushed her over the edge.

While it’s a little bit of bummer that we didn’t get to completely see everything, its pretty awesome its super close and free, so you better believe that we will be going back multiple times. I predict that before we are off on our next adventure that we will have the Zoo pretty well memorized. Not sure who is more excited about that, me or Naomi? It’s me, 100% me.

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