Places to Go - American Trail at the National Zoo (Washington DC)


A few weeks ago, when my mom visited, we took the kids to the NEW American Trail exhibit at the National Zoo. The exhibit begins right at the end of the Elephant Trail walkway (though there are various other points of entry throughout the bottom of the hill), which means that you now have a reason for following the footprints down to the elephant yard, even when no tusks or trunks are there to greet you.

On the American Trail, first along the path come the river otters and beavers (I think beavers are nocturnal, so they're not the best at making themselves known throughout the day), the bald eagle and grey wolves soon follow - the poor bald eagle can't really fly that well, so visiting him seems a little depressing, and grey wolves are also nocturnal, which made wildlife siting somewhat scarce during our first few stops.

Luckily, life became pretty exciting when we came across the incredibly social seals and sea lions. The seals couldn't stop swimming next to the large glass enclosure, which proved better than any movie. Large groups of children squealed in delight each time they circled past. When you couple the seals with the zoo's new small spray park happy children are almost guaranteed. Further, the plants and fauna among the trail are gorgeous, lots of brilliant yellow flowers fill the spaces in between the animal enclosures. And if you look up you may see a gibbon or two, hanging on the fence overhead.

Best of all the exhibit ends at one of my favorite places at the National Zoo - Amazonia - full of big fish, stingrays, and a real imitation rain forest. When we visited a small black monkey jumped on the bannister in front of a crowd of people - most of us all hopped back a few feet, but some of the braver patrons tried to lure him/her closer (it didn't work, he soon returned to the trees).

Anyways, a great way to spend a morning, especially on a crisp fall day.

Happy Monday everyone!!


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