Bucket List Item #1: Visiting the Pandas at the National Zoo

zoo outfit

One month in, I hadn’t finished a single bucket list item until my college friends visited me one weekend. We spent more time in DC in one weekend than I usually do in a month: we went to the zoo, got brunch at a place I’ve been meaning to try, and walked through Georgetown, which is surprisingly close. We didn’t visit Georgetown Cupcakes, though, so I’ll go back to finish that bucket list item.

My college friends are ready to do anything from trying a new bar to visiting an art museum. We share a love of inappropriate jokes, which were mostly directed at zoo animals. They visited the first weekend in October, but because of the kind of freak weather I’ve grown used to living in Virginia, it was 85 degrees and blazingly sunny.

We got off the metro stop for the zoo and even with my bad sense of direction I could have followed the stream of families with small children headed towards the National Zoo. We stopped at a Starbucks full of exhausted parents and cake pop-devouring children, then headed across a crosswalk as wide as my living room into the Zoo.

Pros: Cons:
The zoo is free. Everyone was there, with all their cousins.
Since it was October, it was 85 degrees instead of 100 degrees. Since it was October, we couldn’t see the small mammals, apes, and reptiles because their houses closed at 4 for “winter hours.”
We were right in the middle of the city if we wanted to go to dinner or a bar after the zoo closed. After walking for three hours we all wanted to sit down and drink a gallon of water so we had to regroup back at my apartment.

 

What I Wore:

I wanted to look cute but knew I would need to walk several miles in the heat, so I wore my beloved overall shorts, paired with a simple black-and-white striped top that protected my shoulders, back, and arms from the sun. I added a pop of color with my favorite red Keds. Looking around, many of the female zoo-goers were dressed similarly in rompers or overall shorts with flat shoes (yes, even other adults).

The Pandas:

I did what I came to do—I saw some pandas! In the early 2000s I was obsessed with the National Zoo pandas like everyone else—I had a panda sweatshirt my mom bought me at the Zoo that I wore all through fifth grade. The last time I actually went to the zoo, of course, the pandas were at the very back of their enclosure so all I could see was a blur of black-and-white fur.

Since they’ve updated the National Zoo, this past weekend there was an indoor glass area for each panda so visitors could see them sleeping. The pandas were just lying there, but they’re cute little fur balls and it was fun to see them up close.

My New Favorite Animals to Visit at the National Zoo:

These animals were much more fun to visit than the pandas, and I’ll make sure I see them the next time I go to the National Zoo.

  1. Elephants – The elephants were moving around and spraying water on themselves, and a zookeeper was lecturing about their habits, which made them much more interesting.
  1. Gray Wolf – Despite its name, this cutie was white and looked like a big fluffy dog sitting right near the edge of its enclosure.
  1. Lions – The lions were lying in a pile on their fake, moat-encircled savannah and licking each other like a Lion King commercial.
  1. Otters – The adorable otters didn’t surprise me, since they are already the best part of every aquarium I’ve ever visited. At the National Zoo we could see them playing in their glass-sided tank.

The Overall Experience:

This was a fun day even though the zoo was packed with families and the small mammal house was closed. If I were to go again I would hurry to see the chinchillas before four, but aside from that I wouldn’t change a thing! When do you like to go to the zoo? What’s your favorite animal there? Let me know in the comments!

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