When we visited Washington, D.C. the National Zoo was one of my favorite stops. It is a part of the Smithsonian making it completely free to visit. In line with most places in D.C.–the zoo has history. It was founded in 1889 by an act of Congress for “the advancement of science and the instruction and recreation of the people.”
When the zoo first opened it was there mainly for the benefit of the community; having a few animals on display so that people could see them and be entertained by them. Most animals were easily found in the wild, captured, and put on display.
However, as time went on and the animals died, it became evident that the animals were not easily replaceable. A problem was arising–human activity was killing off the animals.
Because of this growing problem, in the mid 1950s, the zoo became more focused on caring for their animals. A veterinarian was hired and groups were founded for their protection. Most prominent of these groups is Friends of the National Zoo.
After the animals were given a clean bill of health and the zoo had its priorities straight, the focus was aimed at breeding the animals and working to save endangered species.
Today the National Zoo is home to over 2,000 animals and is continually making breakthroughs in their conservation efforts.
The National Zoo covers 163 acres of land making for a full day of walking and enjoying the beautiful landscape and animals. We were there in the heat of the summer and it was HOT. Lugging our cameras and pouring sweat we trudged along the pathways to catch a glimpse of the animals. We happily ducked into any and all indoor exhibits giving ourselves some reprieve from the heat. Guzzling water by the gallon to stay hydrated.
There aren’t a ton of restrooms around the zoo and I needed to go… like…. bad. When we finally found one I went inside and jumped straight into the first open stall. I’m usually very picky about such things, but this was urgent, people. The toilet looked like it hadn’t been flushed in awhile but there was no time for such things.. I was gonna pee on myself if I didn’t make this happen pronto. So I very, very happily did my business. Then the horror… I tried to flush the toilet and watched as the filthy water began to climb up the toilet bowl rather than descend as it should.. Panicking I began pushing on the stall door.. But, oh no.. You have to open the stall door inwards. So, stepping back into everyone and their mama’s refuse, swinging the door open, I ran out of the stall. I make my walk of shame in sloshing shoes to the bathroom sinks where I try to clean myself up.
The moral of this story: Sometimes it’s better to pee on yourself.
Anyhow… Despite yet another plumbing faux pas, I would highly highly recommend that you visit the National Zoo. It’s gorgeous, inspiring, and free. The animals are taken good care of and happily roam around their habitats. Just remember.. If you start feeling the urge for the baño figure out where the closest one is pronto and start heading that direction.