After the National Zoo, we went to the National Mall, to see the monuments. It was nearing dusk, what photographers refer to as the “Magic Hour.” We definitely could see it on the brand new Martin Luther King Memorial.
Across the Potomac, we could see the Jefferson Memorial.
We then walked to the main area, where we got to see the Washington Monument, and its reflecting pool.
As a bookend to the Martin Luther King Memorial, we went to the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his most famous speech.
The last time I was there, I was alone at a training class for work. There was a group of Norwegian soldiers at the monument, whose group I somehow fell into their group. I asked if we were being invaded–just so I would have a head’s up. They assured me they were just tourists like me.
My daughter was inspired by my photography. She borrowed my GorillaPod to take her own pictures.
I think she did pretty good.
We walked by the Korean War monument on our way back to the car. It was spooky as we walked by.
The next day, we got to see a soccer game in front of the Capital Building.
It was a fun time walking around the Mall.
From Philadelphia, we went south to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Our first stop there was the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, otherwise known as the National Zoo. There were several animals we wanted to see, and was an amazing campus.
On entry, a prairie dog peeked up to greet us.
But, let’s face, it, I was there to see cats. The National Zoo did not disappoint. There were two sets of lion cubs, for a total of seven.
They were getting into everything!
…and on to everyone!
There dad is Luke, a very handsome dude.
If I’m reading this right, he’s the father of John, the new African lion at the Cincinnati zoo. Good looks clearly run in the family. And he knows it.
But, seven cubs can be exhausting!
There were also two tiger cubs and their mom. The cubs are right at a year old.
They like to stalk…
…have a drink…
…and, of course, take a nap. They are cats, after all.
I was excited to see a caracal, a cat they don’t have at very many zoos.
He was a bit shy.
The caracal decided to wander off. As a cat geek, I understood, even if I think I was one of the few who was most excited to see them.
As is often the case, the caracal was positioned near a bobcat.
We got to see a snoozing sand cat.
And a snoozing clouded leopard. Like I said, they’re cats; they sleep.
Another sleeping cat we saw was an old friend. Lek is a fishing cat, born in Cincinnati. I have pictures of him and his brothers as cubs.
This Queen City boy has fathered four cubs with Electra, a female.
We like cheetahs.
My daughter has also started taking photos at zoos, getting her own perspective on the animals.
There were seven Asian small clawed otter pups.
Some were busy constructing something.
I’m always amused at zoos when there are animal “tourists.” Usually it’s a squirrel or some birds. The elephants appeared to have a pet deer.
The keepers seemed to indicated this was an ongoing problem, but didn’t really pose a danger to either species.
Meet the Ruppell’s griffon vulture. While this one was hanging out on the ground, these are the highest-flying bird on the planet. They are typically cited as flying in the thin air at 20,000 feet, though there are records of them being as high as nearly 40,000 feet.
Lots of turtles on a log.
Degu are small rodents native to South America.
I’m becoming quite the fan of the burrowing owl.
We had a great day at the National Zoo, and walked over its great expanses.
I’ve been a bad blogger this month. I have a lot of pictures to sort through from our summer trip, plus I missed a few anniversaries. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up next month. The hodge-podge is going up as usual, however.
In Philly, we really liked The Franklin Fountain an old-school ice cream parlor.
Best still hasn’t mastered this whole “hiding” thing.
I started doing cyclocross.
While in Philadelphia, we made a point to see the Liberty Bell, becasue, well, it’s about as Philadelphia as eating your weight in pretzels. The site was next to Independence Hall.
Once you pass through (excessive) security, you walk through a few displasy of the history of the Bell, then the Liberty Bell itself.
I’m way behind on these posts. It will probably spill into September. We’ve had a lot going on, buch of it quite fun.
Our summer vacation took us eastward this year. Our first stop was Philadelphia. There, we checked out the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation’s oldest zoo. I was rather impressed by their animals, as well as the enrichment they were afforded.
One of the neatest bits of enrichment was Zoo360 Animal Exploration Trail, a series of enclosed paths for animals to meander. They had it for primates, but I first encountered some goats.
But the coolest was yet to come: Big Cat Crossing. This path allowed their lions, jaguars, leopard, cougars, and snow leopards to explore the zoo. When we were there, a pair of tiger brothers, born at the Columbus Zoo, were watching the crowds.
They really are handsome cats.
In the big cat area, we also got to see lions.
Maya, a female snow leopard was there with her two (older) cubs, Buck and Ranney. The cubs were quite active, pouncing and wrestling with each other.
Though her kids tried to get her into the mix, Mama Maya decided to stay above the fray.
Such a pretty snow leopard!
The tiger girls were in their enclosure, stalking.
One came right up to the glass I was crouching by to take pictures, and sprayed right next to me. At first I was disgusted, until my daughter pointed out by “marking” me, she was claiming me. I was…honored…really.
There were black-footed kittens!
Of course, they were all asleep. Still quite cute.
Was this one getting up?
Nope. Just shifting.
A Canadian lynx sat in the sun.
There was a cheetah nearby. A keeper gave a talk, discussing his encounters with different cheetahs who passed through his care. The cheetahs had a lure system, which the keeper seemed surprised was good enrichment for the worlds fastest mammal.
The series of tubes proves to be enrichment for homo saphiens, too.
My daughters new favorite animal is the red panda, which I’m a fan of, too.
Quite cute and fluffy!
Tony is a southern white rhino with a big horn!
Ever see a Galapagos tortoise cuddle puddle?
I liked watching the maned wolf. Such striking color.
Having obsessed over their pens lately, it was nice to see brown pelicans Crackle and Snap.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Philadelphia Zoo. It was a good size for walking around and spending a day, and they clearly cared a lot about their animals. And the animals seemed to enjoy each other.
I didn’t know Eddy had a bike shop. Think he can get me a deal?
Neighborhood recipe exchange
Beso lays on the floor.
Biked to work, realized a packed incorrectly.
We’re running out of tigers.
In the last century, we’ve gone from over 100,000 tigers to 3,000 tigers in the wild. There are more captive tigers in the United States than in the wild–only six percent of which is in AZA accredited zoos.
Today is International Tiger Day, a day to bring attention to the plight of these great cats.
Poaching is a large part of this, but habitat lose is the key thing.
How can you help? Palm oil is causing a great deal of habitat lose for these great cats. Select products using sustainable palm oil. The Cincinnati Zoo actually has a cool web app to help you make tiger-friendly choices.
My wife came home from our mailbox with a new mystery box for me. I love mystery boxes! This one I was not expecting.
Remember my ill-fated Pelikan Hub?
On top of all the other cool things Pelikan did he wonderful folks at Pelikan sent their hub masters a thank you gift.
I’d admired these ceramic pelicans for a long time, having seen them at pen shows and online. It’s about six inches tall, and has a hole to hold a pen (in this case, my Souverän 600). I was extremely excited as I unwrapped it.
“How do you hold that pen?”
So, a “thank you” goes out to the fine folks at Pelikan for a very nice, and very unnecessary, present. Even though the Cincinnati Hub had an extremely low turn-out, the pleasure was all mine.
Our last stop during our Romantic Weekend in Akron was a drive-by of the Airdock, the construction hanger of Goodyear Areospace, now owned by Lockheed Martin.
The Airdock was used during World War II for the construction of military blimps. It is 55 million cubic feet of empty space–it’s large enough to have its own weather inside. Lockheed is looking at building new airships inside this large building.
The other thing we did on our Romantic Weekend in Akron was ride on the Towpath, a bike trail that parallels the Ohio and Erie Canal. However, instead of a simple out-and-back, we only biked back to our car–we took a train south.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The train goes between a northern suburb of Akron, to Independence, a southern suburb of Cleveland. It runs through The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a national forest. Lots of people buy tickets to ride the train round trip, and enjoy the sights and activities. During the summer, however, they offer the Bike Aboard program. Partnering with a local hospital, they offer a one-way rate that is a sixth the cost of the round trip fair for cyclists. The goal is to encourage people to ride on the trail for health an exercise.
It sounded like fun, so, after going to the zoo, my wife and I drove to Independence, and caught the last southbound train at Rockside station.
Once the train arrived, they unloaded the bikes that were heading north.
Our bikes were stowed in the car behind where we sat.
We took our seats, and enjoyed the sites out the window.
Including traffic stopping for our train.
And had a lot of fun.
At Akron Northside, our train bikes were unloaded, and we started heading north. We wanted to make sure we covered the distance before sunset, so we didn’t stop too much, and I didn’t get many photos. One stop we did make was at Szaay’s a farmer’s market. They were closing, but it smelled wonderful walking around.
We got to our car just as dusk was setting in. It was a great time, and a wonderful program. We’re already discussing taking our daughter for a ride on the train.
Hat tip to the DiscoveringOhio blog, who posted an artical that clued me in to this. Their timely tweet is a great source of fun things to do in our wonderful state.