01 February 2009

going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

the o-line

Last year for my birthday, daddy-pan gave me a two-year pass to the National Zoo. It's the gift that keeps on giving--free parking and an excuse to cruise the animal houses, one of my long-time personal favorite activities, made 100% acceptable now that I have kids.

The kids and I dropped him off at the airport for a work trip this morning, ate some pancakes at the diner, and headed for the zoo. The zoo in winter/rain/a storm is one of my favorite DC secrets--usually near deserted, and after a quick walk from the car to the houses, you are in a warm tropical getaway. Complete with sounds of running water and authentic animal smells. Today was a bit busier, given the unusually nice (for winter) day and a baby gorilla drawing crowds. Even so, we had the Small Mammal house mostly to ourselves, and I was able to marvel at my four year old's attention span for animals--and zookeepers. Given the lead in an outing like this, he will not just look at an exhibit and move on, but instead patiently wait to see what the horse/monkey/elephant/mole-rat will do next, or if they might eat something, or if the zookeeper will come back through the door with her hose and broom again, etc. It's a good exercise in observation for me--letting go of my own agenda and timeline and taking things at a three-year-old pace allows me to notice the unexpected. Like today--I saw a golden lion tamarin grooming a sloth. Most unusal.

the little guy, as usual, was happy to be along for the ride. At seven and a half months, he's very much a people-person, and makes friends wherever he goes.

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