Remember how Inky and I went to Washington, DC to see the Mariinsky Ballet with Inky's aunt? We actually got to stay for the entire weekend. While we were there I got to fulfill one of my goals for the year- I wanted to see a real, live Giant Panda! Inky and I had the chance to visit the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park- aka, the National Zoo.
We started out at the Panda Pavilion, where there is a big gift shop full of panda-themed items. There is a big panda statue outside, so we had to climb on it for a photo.
Then, we went to the Asia Trail- the section of the zoo where the pandas live. There is a big building with different exhibit spaces for both kinds of pandas- Giant Pandas (my favorite!) and Red Pandas (Inky's favorite!). We saw two big adult pandas eating bamboo. There were some little exhibits for kids to look at. In this photo, Inky and I are playing in one of the crates the zookeepers use to keep the pandas active and busy.
In the outside exhibit area, the red pandas were exploring their exhibit. Just like Giant Pandas, the Red Panda's main food is bamboo. Inky told me she loves to eat bamboo shoots in stir fry; we promised we'd ask her parents to make some for us.
There is a cute statue in the Asia Trail of two little red pandas, so Inky and I had to have our photo taken there too. Inky kept saying she wished she had a magic cupboard like the book Indian in the Cupboard, so that she could make the big panda statue come alive! I thought that might be a little scary, but a baby red panda would be pretty cute.
After we visited the pandas, we walked around the rest of the zoo. Most of the animals were inside, because it was very cold. Luckily, we found the Small Mammal House. There was a big statue of an aardvark outside. We had to take a photo to send our parents. The National Zoo really has a lot of animal statues!
As we left the zoo, we walked past the cheetah exhibit. Don't they look a tiny bit scary in their den? I bet they were cold- none of the other African animals were outside that day.
We stopped by the gift shop on the way out. Inky and I decided to buy each other a present- but we're going to keep them hidden until Valentine's Day, when we'll surprise each other with our presents.
After that, we rode the DC Metro to the National Mall. It was really cool! So far, I've only been on subways in New York City and Washington, but Inky said I was a pro. I figured out our route all by myself!
There's a ranger station near the Washington Monument; we went there to turn in our Junior Ranger workbooks. The Junior Ranger program is a little bit like Girl Scouts. Kids can do a little workbook about a National Park and then earn a badge. Inky and her friend Violet have about twenty badges each, but this was my first one. I was proud to earn it in our nation's capitol. When the ranger swore us in as official Junior Rangers, I knew I would keep my promise to protect our nation's treasures.
After we got our badges, we had to go to Union Station so we could catch the train back up to New York City, where Inky lives. Before we left, Inky snapped this photo of me in front of the Washington Monument. We had a great trip! I hope I'll be back someday!