Mike had the day off today, so we decided to spend the morning at the National Zoo, which is only a few miles from our home. The crowds have thinned because of cool weather and school starting, and Sam and I have been talking all summer about going to see the "aminals".
Although we suggested to Sam that we start the morning by finding some monkeys, he was much more interested in the pizza playground. We stayed here for about 45 minutes, and he had a ball sliding down the cheese and jumping off the tomato. No problem, we thought; plenty of time to see the rest of the zoo.
From the playground we spent a brief time at the children's petting farm. Because of the lack of people, there wasn't much going on: a couple of resting cows and blank stares from a few donkeys and goats. The highlight for Sam, though, was the little sink for kids to wash their hands after petting the animals (which he didn't do!). This sink was so exciting we had a hard time getting him to leave.
Narrowly avoiding a meltdown, we finessed the situation and convinced him to walk into the main part of the zoo. We approached the lemur exhibit, complete with a huge waterfall. The lemurs were resting together on the far side of the exhibit, but that didn't matter because -- there was a waterfall!!
After spending several minutes watching the water fall, we proceeded to several other exhibits: the anteaters, maras, alligators, prairie dogs... Some of them mildly amusing to Sam, some of them boring him. But there were several things that did catch his attention: the drinking fountain, a row of benches, a pallet, a curb, a soda machine. It became obvious that the "aminals" were not the point of the zoo!
We did eventually make friends with an ape and a gibbon monkey, which Sam enjoyed. But the point is that he had fun in the process.