Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

How about something a bit cheerier? I went to Washington DC for the long weekend, and while I don't normally put non-rescue-related stuff on this blog, I thought I'd share some of my favourite photos. It's a beautiful, friendly city, and it was a nice way to spend the weekend after a rather unfortunate week, what with Noelle and midterms.
It's such an interesting place, with so much history all squished together. I mean, the Lincoln, Washington, WWII, WWI, Vietnam and Korean War monuments are all within walking distance of each other, not to mention the museums.
And the best part of Washington - everything's free! Ok, not everything, but the museums and monuments are all free because they're funded by the government. It's pretty sweet to walk in and out of museums without worrying about getting your hand stamped.
I was super excited to go to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, for basically one reason:
Their ocean hall! I don't think I've ever mentioned this, but I'm in university to become a cetologist - in other words, to study whales and dolphins. Anything involving the ocean makes me act like a kid on a sugar high. The ocean hall was amazing, with giant squid specimens and a massive model of a right whale named Phoenix.
 What kind of nerd would I be if I didn't post this? That's the actual model of the Enterprise used in the original Star Trek series. Not going to lie - mom and I went to the Air & Space Museum for the sole reason of finding that model (we did look at other stuff!).
Another type of nerdiness - it's a photo of Richard Nixon's downfall. The Watergate Hotel! As a political science enthusiast, it was interesting to see - it's actually quite the odd-looking hotel, the balconies look like they're made out of teeth.
We spent an entire day at their National Zoo, it's absolutely gorgeous. The habitats are wonderfully designed. They have giant pandas! The panda actually put on a show for us, enjoying first a giant pile of bamboo and then that tasty treat up there.
They had an absolutely gorgeous reptile house. This eyelash viper seemed very comfortable. Like the museums, the zoo was free, and exceptionally clean.
I totally fell in love with these birds. They're called Kori Bustards, they're huge, and they were extremely curious - three of them came right up to the barrier to stare at us.
We managed to fit in a little bit of bird-watching before catching our bus, and lo and behold, we ran into a familiar site at a local park. A handsome Red-Tailed Hawk! No matter how many times I see these guys, they never fail to impress.
All in all, a pretty successful trip! Tomorrow, a return to the rescue world - lots to write about! A mystery mouse, some baby rabbits and a very full Room. Knew it was just a matter of time before it filled up!


Anonymous said...

Amazing photos! You are a great photographer. Sounds like a wonderful educational trip - appropriate for reading week. Thanks for sharing.

Caroline said...

Great photos Laura, only thing about the Smithsonian is that alot of their stuffed animals come from game farms and canned hunting.

Laura HP said...

Thanks Carolina, almost the entirety of the Smithsonian collection was collected in the 1800s or early 1900s. Historically, naturalists have been destructive in their studies and thought the only way to study animals was to collect dead specimens. It was foolish but they had a lot to learn. In the past, their collection came from hunting just like all other collections in zoos, but unless I'm very much mistaken, any new specimens they get now are from zoos or killed by accident (cars, etc.). As well, their collection has helped various studies and conservation efforts. Ultimately I think the Smithsonian is no better or worse than any other natural history museum, and with such a huge collection it has a lot to contribute to science.