True Confession Time: as a very young child, before I discovered the wonders of comic books, not to mention all the other wonderful written prose that exists, I had two favorite books: Green Eggs and Ham and this one, featuring Spot, who could change the color of his spots and even juggle them!
Okay. That revelation aside, on to blogging.
I'm sure many of the loyal readers of this blog have been to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.?
But how many of you have run through it?
I hadn't - at least until early in the morning before heading out of our nation's capital this past week.
A tip for the D.C. runners among us - get there right when the zoo grounds open, first thing in the morning. The only folks in the place with me were fellow runners, the workers, a camera crew shooting pandas in action, and the gorgeous creatures you'll see in some of the pics that follow.
Though truth be told, as the day winds on, I'm not sure the 163 acre zoo in the middle of February is a premiere destination spot, so I can't say what the numbers ended up being like later on. I can just tell you, if you're there as they open the gates, you've got your run of the digs.
The nearby Taft Bridge (which I ran over the previous morning) is guarded by four Perry Lions, named after sculptor Roland Hinton Perry. Two of the lions rest on all fours with their heads tilted upward and mouths open while two others have their eyes closed, apparently sleeping.
Two of those bridge guardians were copied in bronze and now greet visitors at the Connecticut Avenue entrance to the zoo.
The National Zoo is one of the oldest in the United States. It's part of the Smithsonian Institution and has free admission! Founded in 1889, its mission is to "provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats."
Lions, tigers and bears.
And zebras. In terms of running, zebras can run almost 40 miles an hour.
Bisons, who come to find out, can also run almost 40 miles an hour!
Elephants - damn things can apparently run at least 15 miles an hour.
Pretty deflating to find out I can't even outrun a damn elephant.
(pretty sure I can outrun the statues, at least. Real ones can run at least 20 miles an hour.)
This would have been the time for Heather and Jackie to visit. No snakes as far as the eye can see.
Say hello to Uncle Beazley, a life-size fiberglass triceratops statue outside Lemur Island. The dinosaur is named after one in the children's book the Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth. (In the book, a boy finds an enormous egg that hatches a triceratops, which, when it becomes too big, it taken to the National Zoo's elephant house.)
This guy had the right idea
The Wolf Pack was on the prowl
Come to find out AFTER THE FACT, which explains why the TV crews and photographers were all aflutter outside the panda display - one of the panda bears is being shipped back to China this Tuesday.
Turns out her name is Bao Bao.
From the zoo's webpage, here's why she's heading to China:
You, too, can say Bye Bye Bao Bao by going here:
Like I said, get there early, you've got your run of the place
The Lions of Winter
Again, if you're ever in D.C., make sure to visit the National Zoo and appreciate these magnificent creatures. Don't be afraid to make a donation to support the institution. You can do that here:
And if you're lucky enough to get there early and have it in you, take a run on the wild side!
If you want to find out any more information about the zoo itself, visits its website here: