The Smithsonian Presents... The Zoo

The Smithsonian Presents... The Zoo

So there's obviously tons of fun stuff to do in DC and what's great about being in the nation's capital is that about half of that fun stuff is free because it's a part of the Smithsonian Institution. I've actually only been to a handful of museums during my time here, which I'm going to have to make up for during these last few weeks in Washington, but this past weekend a couple of my friends and I decided to drive (yes, drive, which I haven't done in months) out to to the Smithsonian National Zoo way up in the northeast part of town. Since all the Smithsonian Institutions have free entry, you should make sure to go to as many as possible if you ever end up in DC. I'm not a biology major, so I can't remember all the technical names for these animals but it was a cool experience nonetheless, especially since I haven't been to a zoo for at least a decade. Anyway, I'll let the pictures do the talking for this blog.



Boom. These guys mean business.


Hangin' with the bros


An anteater.




Mufasa, killin' it






Shere Khan, keeping his eye out for Mowgli



Speaking of alligators, I actually had some alligator the other night at a restaurant on H street (about two blocks from the RAF) called TruOrleans. Gator has an interesting taste... it kind of tastes like chicken, but because they spend so much time in the water it kind of tastes a bit like seafood. Also, on Thursdays TruOrleans has live music and when we went it happened to be a sweet three piece Stevie Wonder cover band that played all night.




A little coral. These guys are awesome.



A very large starfish


A "giant" squid


Ugh. Madagascan Cockroaches...


I think these are horseshoe crabs...


The gang (minus Kenny) outside the mini aquarium



This is the elephant area, which was my favorite part of the zoo, particularly because the whole time we were there I couldn't help thinking I was in Jurassic Park because of all the big cages and the fencing. The area itself, called Elephant Trails, is only in it's first phase, but the zoo is well on it's way to expanding the elephant exhibit to it's second phase, which will make it more than three times the size of the current exhibit. Unfortunately this won't be done until 2013, so maybe some of you future Washington Center students will have a chance to see it!






This guy must feel like a million bucks compared to the last bird.



And that's all I have for zoo pictures. Afterwards we decided to cap the day off with a trip to Busboys and Poets, which has got to be my favorite restaurant in DC. There are four locations in DC and the first time we went was actually with my internship. During our first seminar, our course professor (Tyler Rauert, JD) decided to take all our participants there for dinner and was even able to snag the founder of the restaurant, Andy Shallal, as a speaker. Andy is an Iraqi-American who has been heavily involved in the peace movement in America, and his restaurants are way for him to share this vision. They have fantastic food (I recommend the grilled chicken panini) open mic nights for poetry and music, independent political film screenings, and just a great atmosphere in general. It comes highly recommended and I'd say it's a must for an DC visit.



So that's all I have for now for pictures. On a separate note however, the reality is finally setting in that we are leaving soon, which is a real hard pill to swallow... This experience has been amazing and it's such a shame that it has gone by so fast. In only three short weeks, we will all be heading back to our respective homes, but I have a good feeling that I will see most of these people again. While The Washington Center may have its flaws, it has brought all of these motivated, ambitious individuals together under one roof and helped to foster friendships and connections that I'm sure will last a lifetime. Because of this I am eternally grateful to The Washington Center, because this experience would be remarkably different without this caliber of individuals here. Needless to say, I'm excited to see what the world has in store for us.


Until next time, folks.

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