Our last day in DC and while I would love to head back to the mall (and spend a couple of weeks) it's off to the DC Zoo today. We took the boys to the the Reptile Park last time we were in Australia, and mum and I have taken them to the NC Zoo in Asheboro, so technically this is their 3rd zoo trip. But they were into it.
We got there fairly early, and met up with Chase, who spent a few hours with us. We wandered from cage to cage. The pandas were the big draw card, and when we eventually found them (they weren't in their enclosure, but an air conditioned room) they played up to the crowds and entertained everyone. The elephant enclosure was a stand out, as were the seals. In all a great place. Again I really enjoyed doing this as a family and seeing the boys' reactions to the day. They loved it by the way.
Smithsonian Zoo, DC
Because we had the car, we thought we'd try to get to a couple more monuments, so we tried Arlington Cemetery first. Boys did a fantastic job adhering to the quietness (not easy for 6 year olds), actually they did a lot better than others who should've known better. I know it sounds weird to say, but I like being at these war cemeteries. It reminds me of the unnecessary loss of life and how fortunate I (and my generation) have been not to have to such an horrific fate. White gravestones mark the field as far as the eye can see in every direction - so much needless loss. I would have liked to get to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but it had already been a long day and the boys were fading. We made it to the eternal flame at JFK's grave, which was again a special (right word?) moment. It's funny how the grave of someone who died before you were born and has no connection to you can affect you in such a way.
Arlington Cemetery, VA
We battled peak hour traffic to get back to the house. Again dinner was from H Street. This time we sat outside at Impala for a Mexican meal. After walking another 7.5 miles (15638 steps) today - a couple of Corona's and margaritas were just what the doctor ordered. A great way to spend our last night in DC.
I'm so glad we came to DC, despite the relentless heat. This was an active vacation for us - usually it's just a week at the beach in summer when we take the opportunity. A good test for what the boys are capable of. And I'm glad mum got to come somewhere she'd never been before, and did so with her grandsons. Does put some pressure on us to find another great spot next year, though.