We decided to go to the Smithsonian Zoo in the morning, it was about a 10 min walk from our hotel. We were hoping to see the Panda bears they have there, unfortunately, they were no where to be found. Probably sleeping somewhere well hidden.
The zoo itself is much smaller than the Toronto Zoo, so just a few hours was enough to explore the zoo. We started off with the Cheetahs, there were babies born to one of the female Cheetahs earlier this spring, but they weren't on display. In one enclosure there were three Cheetahs snoozing, and I'm not sure if its a warped sense of humor, but the first Cheetah enclosure looks right into the Zebra enclosure. Seeing this cheetah laying in the grass watching the zebras graze and twitching its tail in anticipation, made me giggle. Lunch was so close...........yet so far away.
The lions were probably the most active creatures that day. The enclosure had a number of lionesses with a number of cubs.
We then went back to the hotel to have a nap during the heat of the day. We have learned that it is best if you can be in air conditioning mid day in D.C. in the summer. The heat and humidity is very uncomfortable, especially for us Canadians who aren't use to it.
Before dinner we went to the White House, of course the area around it was busy busy busy. Numerous protesters including one young fellow who had a loud speaker and was making up poetry and raps quoting the Bible and other sayings of how we are all going to hell hell hell. lol
My attempt at trying to get a picture of family in front of the White House. It appears that when individuals are in front of the White House their sense of hearing and ability to exercise proper manners leaves their beings completely. Dave and the kids lined up for the shot, and I had my large, just can't miss Canon Camera at the ready, yet people would stand between me and my family. I started to yell and ask them to please move, no response, it was like I didn't exist. After a few mins of me yelling and looking like a fool, since I was waving my hands at nothing apparently, the seas parted, briefly. I had my camera set on continuous shutter and snapped a number of photos quickly. And look ma, we got a few extra members added to our shot. LOL Love the fellow with the ears, those who knew my father, would say look he has your dad's ears. LOL
We went for dinner at Founding Farmers Restaurant , it was our second time having dinner there. If you ever vacation in D.C. I highly recommend this restaurant, it was the best one we ate while there. They believe in getting as much of their food as possible from local family farms. Amanda, Daniel and I had their made in house with real lemons lemonade, simply fabulous. Dave and Laura had their homemade ginger-ale, they said it was the best they have ever had. Reservations are recommended as it is a popular place.
Afterwards we went to the Lincoln Memorial to see the various memorials and watch the fireworks. When we arrived around 6:00 this is what we found, wow. And by the time fireworks started there was barely any room to walk in and around the Lincoln memorial.
View from the memorial, unfortunately the Reflecting Pool was under renovations and was just a giant mud pit. Also, the WWII memorial was closed for the day as well, this was the area where they were setting off the fireworks.
While waiting for fireworks, we wandered around to visit the memorials we could. We started with the Vietnam Veterans Wall. The design of the wall is so simple, yet so moving. You can't help but reach out and touch the names engraved on the wall. And there are so many names, its overwhelming.
The Three Servicemen Statue.
Next we went to the Korean War Veterans Memorial was next. As we approached the first sight that greeted us was the statues of various soldiers walking, like they were emerging from a Korean forest, it was eery, yet I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.
We wandered a bit more, saw the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial under construction, it is suppose to be finished this August.
We went back to the Lincoln Memorial and found a spot on some grass. The fireworks were phenomenal. Some were in shapes like hearts and stars. Afterwards we made the long and extremely crowded walk, back to the the subway station to catch a train back to our hotel. When we arrived at the station, it was packed and more and more people were coming. They added extra trains to the system, but they were all packed. We decided to stay back and wait till the congestion eased. Seeing trains with people pressed against the doors was not something I wanted to join. LOL After the fourth train went by, the station was pretty much cleared. We talked to two of the police officers who were on duty in the station. With all those bodies crammed into a small underground area, it was hot and humid down there and these poor guys were in full uniform with bullet proof vests and all off course. They were so glad to see their shift was almost over, they were soaked with sweat. I didn't have any water bottles left, otherwise I would have given them some water. And yes, the wait was worth it. We were able to sit during our ride back to the hotel.