Hello again, DC: The sights, Bethesda and the National Zoo

Arduous road trips aside (you can read about the utterly insane experience of riding in an automobile for 28 hours with two children here), our experience in Washington, DC could not have been better. The weather was cool and mostly cloudless, and hey, miracles of miracles, our government-run institutions were all open and operating smoothly.

Priorities 1, 1A, and 1B or my kids for making the trip was a visit to the National Zoo to see the giant pandas, so we scheduled that visit first thing on Thursday AM to make sure we could spend the most time there. Our home base in Bethesda just off the red line Metro provided an ideal jumping off point for the zoo and the rest of our visit, as well as giving Mrs. Lo and I a chance to revisit a place that we really enjoyed living in for close to 2 years. Here’s the story in pictures and words (since I didn’t want this post to take longer than healthcare.gov to load I’m splitting it up over a few days to limit the number of pictures in each post to a manageable amount). I made the executive decision not to bring my DSL camera with us on the trip, so the photos are the best that my iphone and some creative Instagram editing and filtering could provide.

BETHESDA

Our old home in Bethesda, about a block from the Bethesda metro. When we lived here in the mid-90s, this was one of the taller buildings in the area, but not it is dwarfed by several newer buildings around it.

Our old home in Bethesda, about a block from the Bethesda metro stop. When we lived here in the mid-90s, this was one of the taller buildings in the area, but not it is dwarfed by several newer buildings around it.

Fall is pretty isn't it, Florida? See, it does exist.

Fall is pretty isn’t it, Florida? See, it does exist.

The Bethesda metro escalator is over 200 feet long. At one time I think it was the longest escalator in the US, but now it isn't even the long one on the DC Metro. Still pretty imposing though.

The Bethesda metro escalator is over 200 feet long. At one time I think it was the longest escalator in the US, but now it isn’t even the longest one on the DC Metro. Still pretty imposing though.

THE NATIONAL ZOO

Outside the zoo. We took the Cleveland Park metro stop and made the short walk through one of my favorite DC neighborhoods to the zoo, If you have never been there this is truly one of the best walking cities in the country.

Outside the zoo. We took the Cleveland Park metro stop and made the short walk through one of my favorite DC neighborhoods to the zoo. If you have never been to DC it is truly one of the best walking cities in the country.

The "daddy" panda. There was a baby panda born at the National Zoo in August of this year, so part of the panda exhibit was closed to allow mom and baby to get along. We went straight to the panda exhibit and were treated to quite a show for nearly 30 minutes before the bigger crowds arrived.

The “daddy” panda. There was a baby panda born at the National Zoo in August of this year, so part of the panda exhibit was closed to allow mom and baby to get along. We went straight to the panda exhibit and were treated to quite a show by this fella for nearly 30 minutes before the bigger crowds arrived.

Panda having a drink. Thanks to the cool weather the panda was out and more active than he has been in a while. We were able to sit on a bench and just watch. The boys probably could have done only this and still probably been happy we made the trip.

Panda having a drink. Thanks to the cool weather the panda was out and more active than he has been in a while. We were able to sit on a bench and just watch. The boys probably could have done only this and still been happy we made the trip.

Hey, the zoo had other animals as well. Here's the lads with Bozie the elephant. Not going to lie to you, but Bozie's elephant house reeked something awful.

Hey, the zoo had other animals as well. Here’s the lads with Bozie the elephant. Not going to lie to you – Bozie’s elephant house reeked something awful.

Meerkat! This guy was awesome. Another one that we enjoyed sitting and watching for a while.

Meerkat! This guy was awesome. Another one that we enjoyed sitting and watching for a while.

They were setting up for the Boo at the Zoo event that night so we were lucky enough to see what I can only assume is Skeleton Elvis. Thank you very much.

They were setting up for the Boo at the Zoo event that night so we were lucky enough to see what I can only assume is Skeleton Elvis. Thank you very much.

OMG! They are grilling pandas! Not really.

OMG! They are grilling pandas! Not really.

Of course the kiddos couldn't make the visit without leaving a large amount of money in the coffers of the Zoo's merchandizing department. These came courtesy of my mom for some pretty excellent report cards this term.

Of course the kiddos couldn’t make the visit without leaving a large amount of money in the coffers of the Zoo’s merchandizing department. These came courtesy of my mom for some pretty excellent report cards this term.

We ended up staying the better part of the day at the Zoo, and by the time the afternoon rolled around we realized how wiped out we were from the drive up the day before and decided to get some lunch and just head back to our hotel and rest up in advance of our reservation that night at Jaleo. It ended up being a great choice as we all napped like champions as soon as we got back to the room. I’m saving the Jaleo pics for a separate post (as well as the rest of the excellent eats we had around town) but spoiler alert it was exceptional. Plus, they had a foosball table.

Tomorrow, the Smithsonian museums in all of their glory.

Cheer.

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Posted on October 30, 2013, in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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