My Adult Trip to the Zoo

A new beginning in my life was beginning. Technically, I have been an adult for over eight months, but I don’t do adult things. Sure, I am a college student. However, I live in the same room I did a year ago, don’t pay bills, and didn’t travel without an older adult (my parents) with me.

I was going to go to the National Zoo, and I was going to go with my boyfriend of several years. My mind was made up two days before the event, and I spent all 48 hours planning it out. My plan was so specific, that I even pre-folded the tin foil I was going to use to conceal my credit cards.

Sure enough, on Sunday my alarm rang at 5:00am. I made my way to pick up my boyfriend, Alfredo, and we went to IHOP with my $25 gift card. I drove us to Springfield, and then we took the metro the rest of the way. By 10:00, we were at the zoo.

Everyone loves the zoo, right? Wrong. It was a mile walk from the metro station to the zoo, and after the Asia Trail, our feet ached. We had spent several hours going to the zoo and knew it would be a lot of walking, but our feet apparently did not receive the message. Already, Alfredo was asking how many more animals there were. I was somehow exhausted too, but I was determined to see every animal and not complain.

In my preparation for the trip, I downloaded a map of the entire zoo, and knew exactly where to go. Even though our feet ached, we trudged on. I took a picture of every single animal I saw to capture the moments of the “first” adult thing I was doing. After two hours of walking and $25 worth of zoo food for two people, I was silently trying to decide how much of the zoo someone really needs to see.

I wanted nothing more than to sit quietly on the metro for an hour and rest, but still, we continued on. It wasn’t until after lunch, when we arrived at Amazonia, that I was glad we didn’t leave early. I walked into the building, and there was a sign stating that animals had free roam of the building. I had no idea what kinds of animals would be inside, but I in no way expected them to be walking on the carpet. That is exactly what happened. I took a picture of a beautiful pink bird, and turned around to take another picture. Alfredo told me to turn around, and that was when I saw the bird walking on the carpet as if it that was an everyday thing. Of course, everyone in the building followed it, but to my surprise, none of the children attempted to touch the bird. It peacefully walked around, defecated on the carpet, and walked back to the water it was previously in.

To say that was the highlight of my day would be an understatement. By the time we did return to the metro around 2:00pm, my feet absolutely ached after going back up the hill once we reached the end of the zoo, and walking another mile to the train station, but all I could think about was the bird. I saw dozens of animals, including a snapping turtle with its mouth wide open and an orangutan on the wires above the path, but that wasn’t why I woke up at five o’clock in the morning.

I was so determined to be an “adult” by traveling past Fredericksburg city lines that I almost forgot to enjoy it. That bird, regardless of how gross it may have been, reminded me that the best accomplishments in life may take some effort to achieve, but there should always be some kind of intrinsic reward once goals are met. For the first time in my life, I drove an hour away, navigated the metro, went to DC, and decided what I would do with my day without asking for permission. That was what I expected out of going to the zoo; but instead I left with a video, and a good story, about a bird walking on carpet and pooping; and I wouldn’t change that.

About the author: Samara

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