Washington, D.C. Journals

Entomological Excursions

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A July 2004 trip to Washington, D.C. by Idler

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo) Photo, Washington, D.C., United States More Photos
Quote: You can spend thousands of dollars to catch glimpses of exotic wildlife on safari. Yet, you’ll spend next to nothing if you open your eyes to the equally exotic but less understood nearby world of insects. Join me as I go on a 'bug-hunting' safari.

Teaism Penn Quarter

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Restaurant | "Teaism"

Teaism Penn Quarter Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
Traditionally, the Japanese have always appreciated insects, as reflected in their literature, art, and music. After all, the finest silk kimono starts with the humble silkworm. While Teaism is not a Japanese restaurant in the strictest sense, it is inspired by the Japanese philosophy gracefully revealed in Kakuzo Okakura's Book of Tea, which defines Teaism as "a religion of aestheticism…founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence." There...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Teaism Penn Quarter
400 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 638-7740

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo)

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Attraction | "Invertebrates At The National Zoo"

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo) Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
We vertebrates constitute only a small, specialized portion of life on the planet. When most people say ‘animals’ they mean ‘vertebrates,’ a rather narrow definition of the word. We teach children that ‘animals’ are tigers, monkeys, bears, and suchlike, and a trip to the zoo for many involves viewing only vertebrates. But, as you might guess, the area of the National Zoo I find most interesting is devoted to invertebrates. Although ninety-nine percent of all species lack backbones, the zoo’s invertebrate display is modest. However, I enjoy it for several reasons. First, there is the pollinarium, filled with fluttering butterflies. I also can’t resist the immense spiny lobsters, ghostly col...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Smithsonian National Zoological Park (The National Zoo)
3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 673-4800

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Attraction | "The Orkin Insect Zoo at the Natural History Museum"

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
No trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is complete in my book without stopping by the Orkin Insect Zoo. This section of the museum is a real crowd pleaser, believe it or not, and children especially enjoy clambering through a huge ‘termite mound,’ examining beehives and anthills under glass, and spotting the cleverly camouflaged stick and leaf insects in a variety of kids’s-eye-level terrariums. Oh yeah, and then there’s tarantula feeding time. That’s always a hit. It might seem odd that a company dedicated to exterminating insects does so much to help us understand them, but as the displays poin...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
(202) 633-1000

United States Botanic Garden

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Attraction | "Insect Ecology: The National Botanic Garden"

United States Botanic Garden Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
Just steps from the Capitol Building, the National Botanic Garden has long been a favorite retreat on the Mall. One year, I recall, a section of the Conservatory was given over to an astounding display of orchids, while another exhibit was devoted carnivorous plants. Near the entryway, the Garden Court’s fountains and changing floral displays are an irresistible photo opportunity. The winter holidays are heralded with a riot of poinsettias, while red...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 31, 2004

United States Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC

Butterflies on the Mall

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Story/Tip

Mockingbird on the Mall Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
There was a time, not terribly long ago, really, when Washington’s Mall amounted to a vast expanse of lawn, acres of concrete, a set of enormous museums, a few noble but far-off monuments, and that long vista toward the Capitol Building. I can remember not twenty years ago feeling that the Mall lacked intimacy and seemed all too impersonal. There were few quiet nooks or places to withdraw. Above all, there was nowhere to escape the press of a large city, the sense of being surrounded by large buildings and thousands of people. What it the Mall lacked, in short, was gardens. Now, I know perfectly well that most visitors don’t come to the Mall to visit gardens. I’m not suggesting that ...Read More

Bareback Bughunting

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Story/Tip

The equitable equine companion Photo, Washington, D.C., United States
Quote:
Most children go through a ‘bug’ phase, I suppose. I never seem to have gotten over mine. I can remember the contentment of summer evenings spent watching fireflies dancing over cornfields, the thrill of capturing a luminous luna moth, and the fascination of huge, yellow-backed garden spiders. For years as an adult I lived in cities, where the bug-hunting opportunities were few, but when I moved to rural Maryland, my appreciation for insects returned. Now, regardless of where I go or what I do, I take time to check out the bugs. This is primarily an outdoor pursuit, although I find sometimes there is scope indoors as well. There’s a ‘no kill’ rule for spiders in our house, though t...Read More