Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration: Monday

Monday was Martin Luther King Day, and we had tried for several weeks to find a service project that could accommodate all of us. That turned out to be a tall order, and in the end, we decided to take the kids to the National Zoo.

We took the Metro up to Cleveland Park:

Maria and Anna on the Metro

On our way into the zoo, we stopped at an Irish pub called Nanny O'Brien's for some lunch. The kids decided to sit at the bar:

Kids at Nanny O'Brien's

We walked down the street and found the Zoo:

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We made a beeline for the panda exhibit - Maria has been studying pandas in school this year, and we don't have any at the zoo in Philadelphia:

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The pandas were a big hit all around. We also visited with the elephants, hippos, gorillas, orangutans, and the big cats.

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The kids enjoyed themselves, and as always, they tolerated photography to varying degrees:

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When we'd had our fill of the Zoo, we headed out to dinner. We had learned of a pizza and ping-pong place called Comet that was a quick hop up Connecticut Avenue from the Zoo. We tried to take the bus using our Metrocards, and discovered that you have to have either cash or an EZ-Pass style card. The bus driver was kind enough to let us ride for free.

The kids greatly enjoyed the ping-pong scene at Comet, while Chelsea and I enjoyed having a rare chance during the trip to sit together and chat without little ears tuning in.

Maria and Anna play ping-pong at Comet

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After dinner we decided to head down to the Mall to scope out a spot for Tuesday morning. In the end we didn't do all that much scoping, but we did walk most of the parade route in reverse, down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol. It was awe-inspiring to be out there among the police and the guys setting up barriers, thinking of what was to come the next day:

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We managed to get very close to the Capitol, and just enjoyed taking in the scene, even though it was getting very cold out after sunset. We shuffled down Independence Avenue to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station and made our way back to the hotel for the night.

(Continue on to Tuesday.)