Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Break DC Vacation, Day 4

On Tuesday morning, Christopher woke up with a Fever.   His cheeks were flushed, just like Jacob's had been.  And he was whiny, whinier than the entire day before.  We tried to get him to do his flush first thing in the morning, my theory being if he could do that, then he might be up to a trip.  He wasn't up to it, not at all.  He said his head hurt to even sit up.  OK, I figured, we'll hit the Zoo.  Even though it has Pandas and Gorillas, which our Zoo doesn't, that was one place he didn't ask to to see.  I had chosen the Zoo for Jacob.  So Daddy stayed home with Chris.  As we were leaving though, he made Sam promise to take his camera, and take pictures for him.  Sam went above and beyond on this task. 

Welcome to the Zoo! 

From coming off the parking lot, the boys wanted to head straight to the Panda exhibit.  
So we did.   It's $22 flat fee to park in the National Zoo parking lot... but the Zoo itself is free.  Whatever.  We finally got in, and found a giant wall of bamboo!

I spy a Panda!  
There are two viewing points, and outdoor upper view, and an indoor lower viewing. 
We chose Outdoor Upper view to start, and we lucked out, there was a panda moving about.  
At one point he was climbing a giant pole, and looking around.  I think Sam got a good shot of that with Chris's camera! 

He was definitely a bear on the move while we were visiting. 
Most of the time, I've visited in the past, they don't do much, just sleep.  
But this fell was on the move.  I love their coloring.  I know it helps keep them camouflaged in their habitat, but here, not so much. 

Boys with a Bronze Bear. 

Posing with the Panda Statue. 

We found the Panda gift shop, and I wanted to look for something for Chris.  
I must say though, this gift shop was the move un-handicapped friendly shop I've ever been in.  You walk in, and it's up 6 steps.  Right next to the stairs is a Lift for wheelchairs and strollers, and to the other side, is a volunteer with maps.  $5 suggested donation.  So I went up, bought a map, and asked to use the lift, pointing to Jacob.  He said No, you have to go through these other doors, up the auditorium, and around the set of classrooms, exploring the entire building before getting to where the gift shop was.  So we did. Inconvenient!  And I was mad by the time we actually made it into the bloody store.  I saw a panda t-shirt covered in cherry blossoms I wish I'd bought, but I was in such a bad moood I didn't.  But leave it to these yahoos to make me smile. 

Sam found a panda headband.  
No, I didn't buy it. 

Jacob wanted this lion mask.  Nope, I didn't get it either.  
But we sure did get a laugh about it. 

Instead, we picked Christopher up a panda mini-lego like puzzle.  It was like 100 pieces to create a panda.  Sam was begging to open it.  I told him he needed to share.  By the time we got it home and opened, I realized the pieces were TINY!  Like lose them everywhere tiny.  Still, it will be a challenge for Christopher, and he didn't feel so bad about missing. 

The next animal we found were the Asian Otters. 
I could've watched these guys all day.  
There were so active. 

Jacob was hysterical bobbing up and down watching them. 
It was cracking me up.  He didn't bob as much once I had the camera out.  But the otters were beautiful with their sleek graceful movements. 

I got one snap of one diving down for a little snack. 
We actually did see them playing with rocks and things, holding them in their armpits, just like they do on Octonauts.  I swear that show has taught me a lot about marine animals! 

The whole otter family! 
It was the only time I caught them all on camera.  
Sam did too. ;) 

THEN we found the front entrance.   
Welcome to the Zoo! 
A little belated.  
The gift shop by this entrance is a lot more friendly than the Panda one. 

We found the Bison! 
Chris had seen Bison in S.D. back in '07, but this was the littler boys' first exposure. 

A tiny horse. 
This is a wild horse from South America, I think.  He was so cute.  

Sam and Jacob wanted desperately to see the gorillas.  
Gorillas and pandas were the only animals they really wanted to see.  
All the other animals we saw, just happened to be located between those two exhibits. 

The Gorillas were amazing. 
They can really move fast when they want to, we saw one fella zoom from one room to another in like two swings.  I can totally see why that could be scary, I wouldn't want to catch him on a bad day.
Jacob kept laughing, and following them everywhere they moved.  There were two, moving in opposite directions.  

We found the Silverback. 
My word he was Beautiful.  
And tough. He was the one that really zoomed when it got too crowded.  

On the other side of the gorilla exhibit, they had a small couple of rooms for Orangutans. 
Just like in Indy, these guys have the flexibility to go outside and up a giant pillar thing if they want.  It's not as big as exhibit for Orangutans as we have, but it was clean, and they looked in good shape.  
I love knowing what a happy Orangutan looks like.  Good Job Indy Zoo!

This mama Orangutan had just had a baby.  
Clearly, she was wanting the baby to snuggle up, and he'd have none of it.  
Just like some other toddlers I know.  They were hidden on the other side of the room, so my pics weren't good. It didn't help that my camera card filled up (for no good reason) while we were in this room, so all I could do was phone photos.   Still, you can see a big Orangutan and a spider legged baby to her left.  

Mama Orangutan had trouble convincing Babe that it was naptime.  She grabbed a blanket and covered herself with it.  She had the baby underneath, just long enough for everyone to walk away.  Then as we stood there watching the wiggling lumps, the baby broke out, and reached out trying to get out of the corner.  Jacob found the whole thing absolutely hysterical.  I identified with the mama, toddlers never do what we want. 

After the gorillas and orangutans, I thought we'd head out.  But No.  Jacob wanted to see the Pandas one more time.  So we traipsed back up the hill, to go see them.  Seriously, I'm out of shape for moving through hills.  DC has a lot of them, and I was not prepared for that aspect.  

Inside the lower viewing area, we were lucky to find both pandas at home.  
The mama was just chilling.  This is how I'm used to seeing Pandas, not doing much. 

But we moved over to Bei Bei, he was on the move.  
At first he was pacing.  Then he stood up to peek out the window of his door.  Seriously, he could go outside if he went into the next room over, but he was curious about this door! 

He paced right by us a couple times. 
He made Sam smile and Jacob giggle like a madman. 

Then he found a bamboo stick on the ground, and commenced chomping. 
It was so neat to see him eat in person, working those giant back molars on a stick. 
I never saw the big deal about bamboo, but they sure do love it.  

Both the boys watched the panda eat hypnotically.  
We had a great view to see him eat.  I wish my big camera was still working.  But I'd learned my zoom lens was broken the day before, so I'd left the camera bag at home, because carrying two backpacks wasn't going to work for one adult, and now this card fiasco.  So I was going to have to go back home to fix the problem. Still, for a phone photo, it was not too shabby. 
It's more important that the boys got out of that visit to the zoo exactly what they wanted: Pandas, and Gorillas. And they found Great Joy in Both. 

When we got home, Chris hadn't really moved off the couch.  
Eric had run to the store, got some goodies, like Gatorade for Chris, and cough medicine.  
Luckily, being 11, Chris was fine.  Plus it's handy that the store is right across the street. 

But when I brought home the crazy it was Naptime! 
It didn't take as much convincing as I thought it would.  
Chris just laid back down and crashed. 

Even these two slept willingly and sweetly together.  

I hated to wake them.  Eric made some dinner for us to eat at home. 
We watched Trolls on Amazon Prime and ate in front of the TV.  It's a small space, but it worked.

After we ate, we still had some daylight.  It seemed the Perfect time to go for a drive.  It wasn't Rush Hour but I thought it would be a good time to pop over to my Grandma Neva's house, or rather the house that used to be my Grandma Neva's to see how it looked.  It was completely different. So much so, I initially drove right by it.

Grandma's house was right there, second one up on the right.  
Where Grandma's two story white house with shutters built in the 40s stood, was now this ugly modern brown thing. 

They completely tore down the old house, to the ground. 
My Grandma's old house driveway used to be on the left, and there was no garage in back.  The steps to the fron used to be where that lower window was.  It looks totally weird.  I'd heard they wanted to make some changes, but this made me so sad.  Sure, it was an older home, it only had one bathroom, upstairs.  Still, this was too weird.   

While we were at it, we decided to drive Downtown to look at the monuments. 
The kids were content in the back seat, and from Grandma's, I knew where I was.  

We drove to Memorial Bridge, where we could cross from Arlington into DC right by the Lincoln Memorial.  I always thought this was such a pretty view into downtown.  

The sun was setting just behind the Jefferson Memorial on the other side of the Tidal Basin.  
The sky looked really pretty.

 The Washington Memorial is so pretty at night, it positively glows.  

After making the rounds, we crossed back over Memorial Bridge, passing by the Lincoln Memorial. 
We caught the light just right to get a great side view.  The kids were mad they couldn't Actually see Lincoln.  Now that has become their favorite monument, they can't wait to go back later in the week and see Lincoln up close. 

Since I drove, I earned a special treat. 
While at the Zoo earlier, Eric had picked up some Goodies.  Cherry Blossom Beer!  
So after we got the kids in jammies, I dug in.  And I love this beer!  I wish we'd gotten more! Something about the crazy drivers in this city makes me think that the GIs and Bars get the most business in this town!