Thursday, February 25, 2010
One of the true gifts of an unstructured day is the ability to follow a child's interest, wherever it might lead. Today was a day with no particular plan, no errands that had to be run, no preschool, no ballet class, no mountain of laundry looming (okay, there was that, but we successfully ignored it). Most of the time, I have an outing or activity planned before the day even starts, but today was a truly blank slate -- a rarity.
So as the morning unfolded, we moved from reading books about animals, to asking a lot of questions about classification ("is fur the only difference between mammals and reptiles?"), to hopping in the car and heading to the zoo. Once again, I give thanks for being within a day's outing distance of our nation's capital and its wonderful FREE enrichment opportunities for children. The National Zoo is a treasure. And on a windy, 40-degree February day, it's also deserted. We had the place to ourselves, which was amazing. We spent the majority of the time at the indoor exhibits, since, um, it was 40 degrees and windy. It was so lovely to be able to linger at each window, read the plaque explaining who it was we were meeting, and go back and forth between our favorite animals.
It was tough to pick a favorite. The sleepy armadillo?
The gracefully swimming turtles?
This massive, regal-looking snake?
The oh-so-casually-draped boa?
The frog that sleeps stuck to the underside of a leaf?
The Cuban crocodile who kept slowly opening and closing his mouth, like nature's equivalent of a neon sign saying, "DANGER"?
One of the lizards, capable of super-human stillness?
Nah. I think we all agreed. It was the prairie dogs. Dang, those guys are just too cute!
Gone on any impromptu adventures lately? I highly recommend it. The best part was, since we brought our own lunch and gave the gift shop a wide berth, the whole experience cost us just a couple of bucks in gas. Now that's my kind of adventure!