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Monumental Animals

On a scale of one to ten, we rate the National Zoo a seven. Some enclosures were quite spectacular, giving the lions and tigers an immense amount of room with lots of grass, trees, and an elaborate moat. natzoo.jpgOthers, such as the entirely indoor small mammal house, were minimal. The whole thing seems geared more toward the scientists studying the animals than the visitors watching them, as many animals were off exhibit. Though all of their advertising proudly proclaimed giant pandas, which they had, the act that stole the show was the cheetah den and the five young cubs. We spent a long time admiring them.
Another unique feature of the National Zoo were the free-ranging golden tamarin monkeys. As we walked down one path, we overheard a ranger speak into his walkie-talkie, “I’ve got a sighting.” Our first thought was that a creature had escaped, but then we saw the sign saying that there were monkeys able to roam about the trees as they pleased! cheetah.jpgIn addition, the invertebrate house had a couple of orb weaver spiders in the open air without any protective glass. We watched in horror as a keeper placed a cricket on their web, and one of the spiders immediately rushed to the disturbance, injected the cricket with poison, and wrapped it up for later consumption.
After the zoo, we made a whirlwind tour of all of the monuments in the mall area. We noticed that a large number of them were quite new, as if Congress had gotten into “monument fever” a few years ago. All of them were very impressive, and offered plenty of picture-taking opportunities. lincoln.jpgInterestingly, one family saw Jon’s T-shirt reading “Los Angeles Zoo” and asked us to take their picture, saying that it was nice to see fellow Californians in D.C. We told them of our true Michigan home, and welcomed them to this side of the country nonetheless. It took every ounce of remaining energy to race back to the hotel as a gentle rain began to fall. Tomorrow’s stops: Harpers Ferry and the Battle of Antietam!

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