A few weeks ago a woman posted an idea for a Northern VA single paret group on the AdoptVA list. She suggested that we meet at the National Zoo and get it started. The date was 7/25. So, since I was going on service on the 27th it was a good time for us to try and go up to DC. Plus it was on Saturday and would give me some time on Sunday to get a few things going on…cooking and meal planning for the weeks ahead.
Unfortunately, I forgot that the Brad Paisley concert was on the Friday before. Yup…got in around 1:30 pm and then was awake until 2:30 and then got up at 7:30 (well…6:30 but sent the kids downstairs to get a few more minutes).
Once we were up, I got the kids breakfast and then I packed lunch for us. The zoo is free but I didn’t want to spend too much on snacks and so we got two small coolers ready and finally got in the car at 9:00.
The traffic was good…until Fredericksburg. Then there were several accidents and I was making good time in between the accidents. I was debating how to make it to the zoo. The website said there was parking but I get lost every time I drive to DC and I thought …well, maybe the kids would like to ride the metro. The problem is that the stop is 1/3 of a mile from the zoo – – uphill and I was unsure of carrying the bag and the two coolers. So…I went for driving in…
Let me count the ways.
1) the kids were fighting right as I was getting into DC…missed the Arlington Bridge
2) As I was turning around, I missed the exit onto the thruway. So, instead we ended up in Reagan Airport
3) I finally got turned around and 25 minutes later, found the Arlington Bridge…after a lot of anxiety, we finally found the zoo…It was 11:30…30 minute after we were supposed to meet the other people there.
4) Get to the zoo entrance and the sign says…PARKING LOTS FULL
5) what!!!!! I drove past it and went about 2 miles and there were no parking spaces and no parking lots so we turned around. this time I went into the road for the parking lots but …indeed…there were no openings…so then they let us out at the other side of the zoo…Guess what? I don’t know how to get out of there from that side….UGH…driving on one way streets…there may have been some swearing…finally found someone walking their dog and she directed us back to the entrance to the zoo and at least we could get back to the side we entered on. We did the circuit about 3 times and then I gave up and started going home. The kids were good and said they were okay with us going home. then Riley said the words that turned me around…”I guess Matthew will be the first one in our family who gets to go to the National Zoo (because his class is going on a field trip in 2 weeks and Riley is jealous!)
6) so, we stop at the Springfield Exit where there is a metro station and we go in. I go through the coolers and pull out some of the pizza, the yogurt sticks and the water bottles and we hustle to the entrance. Luckily we made it in one piece onto the train. The kids ate while we were riding and we entertained the few people who were also on the train. There were a lot of questions about where the conductor was? why does the train go backward? What’s outside the train? Are we really underground? Will we come up above ground? (you get the drift).
7) we arrived at the zoo Metro station at 1:30pm. It took 20 minutes to walk to the entrance (and much crying and fussing)…we finally found our way to the rental strollers. The kids were pretty done but we went through several of the houses. Matthew actually was the one who had the best time. He especially liked the small mammal house and ran from display to display pointing out the animals and being excited. The girls were mostly in the stroller but since they were fighting had to walk some. At the end of the day, I had all of them walking and I was pushing the stroller with the water and the backpack on it.
8) we finished around 5 and made our way back to the metro station. Matthew almost got taken out by a crazy woman riding a bike on the sidewalk …yelling coming through and clinking her bell. But we made it.
9) the ride back to Springfield was packed. On the first train I must have looked like I was losing it because a guy got up and let the 2 girls and I have a seat and then the boys had the bench in front of us. On the next train, the boys wanted to stand and all of us stood for one stop but then someone got up for the girls and I to sit down and we glided into Springfield. Matthew was very happy when we finally came above ground again.
10) we headed out. I wasn’t going to stop for dinner because we had already spent so much more than I was planning but…at about 7:30, the kids were starving and so was I so we stopped at a Pizza place and for $16 we all go soda and cheese pizza that was soooo good. We got home right around 8:45 and since Addison was crying the previous 15 minutes, she went right to bed. The other kids (and mom) stayed up until 10 and then we all went to bed.
Next time, I will definitely just stop in Springfield on the way up.