Tuesday August 2: National Zoo & Arlington National Cemetery

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Today we started out at the National Zoo...aka The animal hotel thingy... according to Anthony on the way home when he was a little overtired and not thinking well. The Pandas were pretty cool.  We arrived at 10 and walked around the zoo until just before 4... 2 downfalls to this zoo 1- lots of exhibits were under construction. 2- the hill... you wander thru the zoo enjoying the  scenery and then suddenly realize you have been here for hours and are exhausted and .... you parked at the top of the hill and you now have to walk the 8/10th of the mile up hill back to your car.   Note to any coming here in the future... park in c or d lots... they are at the bottom of the hill... you will enjoy the end of the day much better!

After we left the zoo we drove to Arlington national cemetery and did their little tour bus tour ( after we looked around a little and realized that it was gonna be another LONG walk!) Honestly beyond the exhaustion level, I think it was a lot more interesting having the tour guy ( even though he was kind of a jerk) tell us some of the stories and information verses walking to the main areas and seeing just them. Never would have known some of the stories. It was a very cool tour. Not sure the kids enjoyed it as much. It was a history rich couple of hours.  I think one of the things I liked was learning about Arlington house and its history. It was the home of Robert E Lee.  He was married to the granddaughter ( I believe it was) of George Washington.  He was a Union general before the war started but since Virginia, his home state,  wasn't part of the union he resigned his position and joined the Confederate Army, and left the estate and moved farther south. Some felt him a traitor.  During the war when it became apparent that burial grounds were needed, someone felt that since he was a traitor they should take his land and place the dead there... and so it goes that Arlington became a Cemetery.  (short version atleast!) I never knew General Lee was a Union soldier first... just seems odd!

After a couple of hours we headed back to the hotel where the kids FINALLY got to use the pool.  Of course they still only had about 40 minutes before it closed for the night... but something is better than nothing.  Wrote out a pile of postcards after dinner and had them all ready to send out this morning.  What a week already and it isn't over yet!  More later....  -jen

What the kids thought...

My favorite part at the zoo had to have been the Amazonia it was cool because we got to see all kinds of abstract plants and animals. there was even a room where they let some of the animals run loose in a very convincing habitat  except for the fact that there was a trail to walk on. In the cemetery my favorite part would have been seeing the changing of the guard where there was a big ceremony behind the tomb of the unknown soldier. --Ross

My favorite part of the zoo was getting to see giant pandas because you dont get to see giant pandas every day. There are two thing I didn't like was we had to walk a lot, and they had no giraffes. At the cemetery I liked the tour because one, we didn't have to walk everywhere and two they told lots of stories about what we went past. --Syd

The best part of the zoo was getting to see the monkeys and all the different kind of birds. They had lots and lots of ducks. :) I liked to see the lions and tigers.  I didn't like that so many things were closed so we couldn't see it all.  At Arlington, I liked seeing JFK's grave. He is my 2nd favorite president. There was a boy buried there that was 9 or 10 years old when he joined the army (during the civil war) as a drummer boy.  He died after serving in the army in his 50s.  That was cool. -- Anthony

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