starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
[personal profile] starlady
The day after I got in to D.C., I actually went back to the National Gallery to see the Degas & Cassat and Wyeth exhibitions before they closed again, because I liked them so much. I also popped in to see Van Gogh's wheat fields again--still enchanting--and spent some time alone with the North American Da Vinci. You can't do that with the Mona Lisa, IJS.

A few days later I went to the National Zoo, which is also part of the Smithsonian and thus also free, for the first time, and probably the first time in 15 or 20 years that I've been to a zoo. I'm not a big fan of zoos for a lot of reasons, and on the heels of the WWF report that wildlife worldwide has declined by 52% since 1970, it was particularly depressing, although the zoo is quite nice, if showing its age in parts. We wandered around the bird house, and the birds certainly noticed my purple fedora--the red fan parrot fanned his feathers at us as we left, and the macaws bounced up and down on their rope when I bobbed my head up and down. I'm not sure if it scared them or if they liked it. There were eclectus parrots in the central "fly free" portion, too, but they were in their nest box and making quite a lot of noise! Outside there were bustards (!) and I took some pictures of the aggressive cranes and their signs. Sadly the cassowary and the emu were nowhere to be seen, but given that it's literally a five minute walk from my friend's house, I'm sure I'll be back. We also saw the anteaters! I had just packed up my copy of Aunt Eater Loves a Mystery, so I was especially happy about that. We also saw the lion and tiger cubs, and all in all, had a great time.

My last full day in D.C. I flipped a mental coin and headed for Natural History instead of Air & Space, which…was kind of not really that great a decision. Natural History is small, and to be quite frank, most if not all of its galleries could use some serious freshening up; I haven't been there in about 15 years, which is as recent as their newest displays. I think some of the rocks displays might have been slightly newer. I do like rocks, so I paid pretty close attention in that section. It was also quite crowded, which I guess I should have expected; I skipped the dinosaurs, much as I love them, because Tuesday is free butterfly day and so I got a free ticket to go wander around in the butterfly enclosure. There were a lot of butterflies, and since I was wearing my customary bright colors, quite a few of them also landed on me. It was fun, and at the end I wandered into an exhibition of photos celebrating 50 years of the Wilderness Act, all of which were lovely. Not everything is lost, but after I left the museum I actually crossed back through it to Constitution Avenue and went through a small gallery of North American birds that have gone extinct during the history of the Republic, including the passenger pigeon and the Carolina parakeet. Birdies. Not everything is lost, but many things are, and more will be. 
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