Sunday, November 4, 2012

National Zoo Outing

The weather today was chilly (a high temp of maybe 50 degrees), and it was a bit on the breezy side.  However, it was sunny, which it hasn't been for quite sometime.  There were some areas of the National Zoo in DC that we haven't seen yet - including the new American Trail exhibit - so we headed to the zoo for the day.

Our first stop was the Kids' Farm.  This wasn't the petting zoo that the girls were expecting.  There were a few farm animals there, but not much to hold the girls' attention.
Our next new-to-us stop was Amazonia.  This was a mini rain forest, much smaller than the jungle at Omaha's zoo, but every bit as interesting.  The girls really enjoyed looking at all the different kinds of animals and exploring the hands-on exhibits.

The other new spot we visited was the American Trail, which just opened two months ago.  It's been years since we've seen the zoo's seals and sea lions, and we were thrilled to see these guys back in action.  There were four sea lions was swimming laps...two were napping in the sun together...and this guy was enjoying a scratching session on his favorite rock.
I don't know how they turned their natural clocks around, but the three beavers in the American Trails area were all awake and very active.  We watched them for at least ten minutes as they frolicked around their enclosure; I had never seen anything like it!
As we walked through the American Trail, the girls stopped for a photo op.
We were pleasantly surprised when we headed over to the cheetahs.  Two six-month-old cubs (born in captivity at the zoo's Front Royal, Virginia location) were eating their first rabbit meal.  The siblings played and teased and ate, which was great fun to watch.
Here's the obligatory picture, taken at the zoo's entrance.  We had to park at the opposite end of the zoo today, so we didn't come across this until well into the afternoon.
A chilly November day means hot chocolate and animal crackers for snack time.
 The last thing we saw today was the cats.  Here's the daddy lion, sitting proudly, staring at his admirers.
And here's my favorite picture of the day.  I was zoomed out 35x on this lioness's head, when she decided to yawn.  Click - got it!