A decline in gas prices (under $2 a gallon), and a nice day in January encouraged us to drive down to DC for the day to see Bao Bao and her parents. Bao Bao is rapidly growing up. She was just a cub when we went to see her last year. In that time she went from being a cub who slept all the time, to a sledding rock star when the world watched her play in the snow for the first time. A few days before we went to DC, Bao Bao hit another milestone: she was separated from her mother. Bao Bao, Tian Tian, and Mei Xiang all have their own enclosures, since pandas tend to be solitary creatures in the wild.
When we arrived, Tian Tian was still outside, but just about to go in for lunch. The best time to visit the zoo is when it first opens because the animals are often outside at that point and just cute as can be. Driving 3-4 hours, and often leaving after rush hour, does not make that happen. We are happy when we do see them outside in a more natural environment.
The pandas are the star of our visit, but we also love seeing all of the animals. The elephants have a great new wide open space, but we still seem to catch them inside. We have yet to see orangutans fly overhead. As cool as that sounds, I suspect if I really saw it happen I would scream or run for cover (just from the poop, not from the animals that weigh more from me, right?).
We had the pleasure of seeing the seals get fed and weighed. The zookeepers seem to have so much fun working with the animals. Lucky them!
Mostly we just walked up and down Olmsted way before heading back to the car for the 3-4 hour drive home.
It was just nice to be able to spend the day as a family and not have any other obligations.