Pandas and Pines!

Pandas and Pines!

It's hard to believe my time here in D.C. is nearing the halfway point! It seems like I've been here forever, but all the while time has actually been flying by. There is still so much more of this city I've yet to explore. However, I was able to enjoy two Washington institutions: the Smithsonian National Zoo and the White House Fall Garden Tour!

 

PANDA

The National Zoo is one of the top typically touristy spots in D.C. that everyone should visit, but surprisingly it has taken me awhile to actually get there. Some friends and I finally made plans to go visit on Columbus Day, since none of us had to work at our internship sites due to the Federal holiday. The first great thing about the Zoo? It's free!! The second great thing? It's pretty large, meaning there is a lot to explore and animals to see. We naturally headed straight for the panda first thing. The exhibit wasn't far from the entrance, and it was one where there were spaces to look into the panda's enclosure on both sides. We were able to see one of the pandas just casually strolling, stopping now and then to eat some food. After getting our panda fix, we moved on to other parts of the zoo.

 

Myself and friends Lucile, Kay Beth, Guneev and Hamza at the National Zoo

 

The National Zoo is set up like every other zoo, with different sections of the place dedicated to various types of animals. We explored the bird house, which consisted of a main section and then an enclosed area across a bridge. In the enclosed area we ran into (almost literally) a peacock! She was just out and about, walking around the place. It was neat to be that close to one for the first time. We then headed to the Big Cats exhibit to check out the lions. All in all we had a great time, as the weather was also very nice. It was a holiday well spent!

 

All the President's Magnolias

One of the Autumn traditions in Washington is the White House Fall Garden Tour, which is free and open to the public. I was so lucky to be able to go with my roommates and some of our friends! Fall in D.C. has so far meant cooler temperatures (although not nearly as cold as I expected -knocks on wood-) and leaves slowly changing color across the city. What better way to experience the changing of the seasons than the President's back yard!

 

The Garden Tour is self-guided, and consists of just walking around the back part of the White House grounds around the South Lawn. There we were able to see various trees that had been planted by former Presidents as wells as many beautiful flowers that had been planted over the years. We were able to walk right past the White House, getting incredibly close. It was awesome being able to literally take a casual stroll along the same path President Obama and his predecessors have frequently traveled. It made for a really nice morning, and it led to a fantastic photo opportunity!

 

Guneev, Jenna, Colleen, Myself, and Alvaro (plus Obama, probably) on the South Lawn of  the White House!

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