Day 2: The White House and Pandas!
After an amazing breakfast at the hotel (Embassy Suites never disappoints!) we headed out for day number 2 of exploring D.C.! Rather than take the metro we decided to walk the 0.7 miles to the White House so that we could take in more of the city. There are regulations that prevent skyscrapers from being built so most of the buildings are fairly short and unintimidating. I think this added to the homey feeling of the city that I wasn’t quite expecting. That, paired with nice people and it being an easy city to navigate made us feel really comfortable there. As we neared downtown and got closer to the White House the buildings did change a bit from Georgetown where our hotel was.
I thought this design was particularly odd! I love that the old buildings are still in tact right in the middle of the more modern ones.
We passed the Treasury Department on our way there
At last we made it to the President’s house! I could not get over how different it felt to be there. All my life I’ve seen it on TV, movies, and in books and it just didn’t feel the same. There were more trees and shade than I expected. And, I didn’t realize that there is a big grassy park directly across the street from it. Also, it did seem smaller in person. Because we only had three days to spend in D.C. we opted not to take the tour inside. If we ever make it back there when the kids are older I would love to do that.
A family photo outside was all that we needed to prove we were there!
The boys weren’t overly impressed with the White House. They were anxious to make it to our next stop, the National Zoo! We made it to the metro station nearest to the zoo and were all impressed by the looooong escalator ride up to the street level! We were not so impressed on our trip back to find that the escalator had quit working. We had to climb the long trek down with a stroller in tow!
How Benjamin usually rode the escalators
When I was researching places to visit in D.C. at first I wasn’t sure about the zoo. After all, it is just a zoo. But, two things about it changed my mind: it’s free and they have pandas!
It goes without saying that Benjamin was super excited to see some pandas in real life. We had watched these pandas a few times on a live video feed at home and we couldn’t wait to get there and see what they were up to. They had a fantastic outdoor habitat, but were nowhere to be found. When we asked the zookeeper she told us that it was too hot for them outside and that we could find them inside. We followed them from room to room admiring them and all of their cuteness. Benjamin’s panda even got a good look!
So cuddly and cute!
Outside the Small Mammal House
Cute lil guy
On the farm
Poison dart frog in the amphibian house
Bug made of bugs!
One of Elliott’s favorites, the piranha
The zoo was HUGE and had a ton of exhibits. Also, it was built on a hill. A very steep hill. It didn’t take us long to realize that we were doing great walking down, but that at the end of the day there was no way we would want to climb back up to the front entrance. Luckily, we asked and found out that there was a shuttle available to take us most of the way back up. We all thought the National Zoo was great. It was hot and hilly, but it was a nice way to break up our visits to museums and do something that was outside a bit different.
We stopped at 7-11 across the street from the zoo and treated ourselves to slurpees and ice cream for the long walk back to the metro. That evening we grabbed a bit to eat at a Potbelly around the corner from the hotel and enjoyed our nightly swim. Two days down, and one to go!