The fine weather continued, so I took myself to the zoo.
Surprisingly, I wasn't too impressed. I think the Denver Zoo holds its own against this one. Plus, the planners of Denver had the foresight to not build the zoo on a hill. I passed so many exhausted-looking parents who were straining to push a stroller-full up the hill!
I did get to see the famous pandas, albeit from a distance. One of them might be pregnant, so both were indoors and the crowds were only let into the display area in small numbers. I read a book while I waited in line, eavesdropping on the families around me (I'm on an Ann Patchett kick at the moment - I've read three of her books since Monday).
I also cooed over the tiny fluffy animals in the small mammals exhibit, discovered a huge crowd of snickering adults and restless kids who were watching two giant turtles (tortoises?) mating, and watched the lions for a while. It was about 4:00 in the afternoon by then, and they were quite active. The seven females chased and wrestled each other all over their "mountain," while the male sat regally at the peak, watching them. He stood up, shook himself off, and then roared for about five minutes straight, his ribs heaving with each breath, while the tigers next door called back in response. Then he sat back down placidly, and the females went back to playing.
I decided to leave the zoo on a different path and found the Rock Creek Park Trail by accident. I walked along that for about a mile, enjoying the greenery and the stream next to me, in what felt suspiciously like a hike. It took a little longer than I had anticipated, since my GPS failed to tell me that the streets I was planning on connecting with to get back to the metro were actually about a hundred feet above me on bridges over my path. Hmm.
I eventually found the way to get back up to street level, helped an out-of-towner there for a conference find her way to the metro, and rode back downtown to meet Jason for dinner near his office.