When we first moved to Northern Virginia in 1990, we visited the National Zoo. I’d lived my young childhood in San Diego, and we were frequent visitors to the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. If those zoos were great, I reasoned, the National Zoo must be wonderful!
If you, too, have been to both of those zoos, you know why I was somewhat disappointed about the National Zoo.
In the intervening 20-odd years, either the zoo has improved or my zoo snobbery has been tempered because it really wasn’t too bad.
I was irritated that the gorilla enclosure was surrounded by a three-foot-high concrete wall atop which grew bamboo, making it nearly impossible for my children to observe the gorillas. When I stood them up on the wall to see, the zoo workers came by and reprimanded us for the kids standing on the wall. From what I could tell, their only job there was to instigate tantrums in two-year-olds who wanted to see the gorillas.
Aside from that, though, the kids were pretty happy with their zoo visit. There were rocks to climb on near the panda exhibit and a giant plastic pizza play area. They got to see elephants eating and a prairie dog sitting on her bottom and goats climbing playground equipment. They got to pet a cow and play with my friend from high school and her two kids. They ate hot dogs and played in the dirt.
It was a pleasant way to spend our last day in DC.
I’ll post more zoo pictures on my Facebook Page.