The weather was finally improving and so we figured it was a good time to take the twins to the zoo for the first time. When Scarlett was around the same age she didn’t care for the animals as much. She was much more interested in the kids around her. So we weren’t sure if the kids would enjoy it. The National Zoo seemed like a wise choice since it was free to enter.
We started at the petting zoo area as that’s near where we parked. The kids enjoyed seeing the cows and other animals they usually only see as toys. I think it was also good acclimatizing for the birthday party they’d attend the following month. (They’d been to a petting zoo around Halloween, but they were nowhere near as enthusiastic as they were this time around)
We got pretty lucky with the animals. Usually around lunch time they’re all sleeping. But we were able to see the pandas frolicking (which Sam went crazy over) and the elephants lumbering around. I was surprised at how long the elephants held their attention. We were there for a good 15-20 minutes while they pointed at the elephants.
If only we didn’t go from winter temperatures straight into summer. We went from highs in the 50s to highs in the 70s and 80s with only a week of transition in between. It can be pretty unbearable in the summer in DC, so we’ll have to see if we get to the zoo again this spring or wait until the fall.
For the first time in something like 3 years I took my Sigma 120-400mm lens to the zoo. I had intended to get some Firefox (Red Panda) photos and videos, but they weren’t there. That was also a bummer for Scarlett as seeing the Red Pandas was the reason she’d asked us to take her to the zoo.
First off we saw one of the pandas:
But what was a lot of fun was taking photos of the birds; birds that would have been quite hard for me to see in the wild. I think they came out pretty nicely considering the darkness in the bird house and the fact that I was hand-holding the lens. It seems like some of the higher ISO photos didn’t even have too much noise, so I’ll explore using it in the future to get the exposure a little more correct in camera. (if the photos look blurry when you click on them, give it a little time to load)
I mentioned Tai Shan before. This is his father, Tian Tian. My wife is always expressing how pandas should be extinct already from having such a dumb diet. They eat bamboo, but it is so nutrient deficient that they essentially have to eat non-stop or they will end up actually losing weight by just laying around and being alive.
From NYC to our nation’s Capital for today’s Top 200 Photo.
photo #166 is:
As I mentioned before, we loved to go to the National Zoo to go see the Pandas. Well, thanks to Tai Shan, the zoo got a huge injection of donations which it used to revitalize its Asian section of the zoo. Eventually they got a pair of fire foxes. The fire fox is also known as the red panda. Back when we were in college I was visiting Danielle during summer classes and we took a trip to Syracuse. While there we went to the zoo. I saw they had a sign for a red panda. Whoa! I only knew about the black and white ones! I was quite annoyed that it was just some raccoon-looking thing.
Whenever we try to take Dave or Dan somewhere, out of the ordinary stuff happens. In yesterday’s photo we took Dave to Manhattan. We were unable to see the Empire State Building because it was closed due to high winds. This photo is from when Dave came to visit and we went to DC so he could see the Zoo. It rained like crazy all day, making the Zoo a pain and making DC very muddy. And it hadn’t rained in weeks. But, these little guys did look super-cute (kawaii) all wet like that.
What’s black and white and #173? Today’s Top 200 Photos entry.
photo #173 is:
For about a year, we were obsessed with Tai Shan, the baby panda at The National Zoo. We went at least once a month to go photograph him and watch him act all cute. This triptych is from his first birthday. The giant pink Popsicle is his birthday “cake”.