Monday, December 17, 2012

Keep It Local: National Zoo's Bird House and NEW Carousel

OK, so mom has a little "thing" about birds. She's kind of terrified of them. She insists that her fear is the direct result of three things from her childhood: (1) no one knew how to care for her curls when she was little and some family members used to tell her her hair looked like a bird's nest and she believed that birds would actually nest there; (2) one time birds flew down her chimney and were attacking her dog when she got home from school; and (3) a too-early viewing of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." There may have also been a few "poop on the shoulder" incidents and some slightly exaggerated bird bombing attempts outdoors. In any event, we have NEVER been to the bird house at the National Zoo despite our almost weekly visits there.

But on a recent run through the zoo, mom needed to add a little mileage and decided to take a loop through there. And do you know what she found?! PINK BIRDS. Flamingos, to be exact. When she came home and told me, I went and picked out a PINK outfit and told her that we'd be going back there that very day. And we did. I walked right up to those birds and said "Hey, I'm Cami. I'm wearing pink, too." Then I showed them I could stand on one leg, so I didn't really think that their posture was a big deal.

In addition to the flamingos, there are several kinds of herons (whose cages are marked "aggressive herons," mom pointed out), emus, ducks, currasows, and vultures ("ughemm" pipes up mom) in the outdoor exhibits. Mom also pointed out to me the numerous signs at the bird house providing a staff telephone number "in the event of an emergency at the bird house" and would like to note that she hasn't seen that kind of sign anywhere else at the zoo, including by the wild cats. Just saying.

We didn't have that much time to check out the indoor bird house, which time limit I'm guessing was mom-manufactured. But I liked the burrowing owls and the toucan. Mom even let me go inside the small indoor exhibit that has birdies flying willy nilly. For about 5 seconds. There is a large outdoor "flight exhibit" in which you can walk among the hurtling death creatures, I mean birds, but you know there was no way we were going in that.

And, the real reason we were at the zoo (in mom's mind) was to check out the brand new carousel! Now, of course, just to be the little pistol that I am, I insisted on riding the hummingbird on the carousel. I claimed it was because it was purple, but really I just couldn't resist needling mom a little bit. And I've insisted on riding that one every time we've been back since. Mom keeps trying to get me to ride another cool animal (an armadillo! a cheetah! a giraffe! a turtle!). No dice. The carousel is pretty sweet, but every time we've gone, they've opened late (somewhere between 20 minutes to 35) - so if you're plan is to show up at opening time to beat the crowd, it hasn't worked out for us so far. Although, to be fair, we've never really had much of a wait once it actually opened.

The carousel is located near the bottom of the zoo -- across from the dinosaur statue and near the bathrooms and Mane Restaurant. The carousel (supposedly) begins to run at 10 a.m. and rides cost $3 per person. You can purchase tickets at the carousel or any of the zoo gift shops. Despite the avian seats available, we are all big fans.

"come on, mom!"

pink birds!

"hey, I'm wearing pink, too!"

"And I can stand on one foot!"

The flight exhibit - looks kind of like something from Lost.

cute little guy

The Conservation Carousel

picking out my ride

"yeah, he's cute."

"but LOOK! a bird!"

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