VA Summer Trip: The National Zoo!

By Kathy Jiang, VA HS Program Coordinator

Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

VA Summer Programs wrapped up at the end of last month with our first field trip since pre-pandemic times: to the Smithsonian Zoo. It was a fun, if humid, day filled with animal friends and bonding.

The zoo trip was a first for a number of the youth––some of whom had never been to the National Zoo before––so anticipation was running high. Luckily, we were able to hit up most of the must-sees, from the famous pandas to the much-loved elephants, as well as some big cats, smaller mammals, dinosaur-looking reptiles, and more!!

Caption: Just a glimpse of some of the animals we saw… including the fluffy butt of one National Treasure panda.

We even got to take a spin on the much-lauded zoo carousel, which had every animal you could ever hope to ride: a squid, a flamingo, a camel, a tuna fish, a seal… shall I go on?

All in all, it was quite the experience trudging through the heat together, racing one another to be the first to catch a glimpse of the next animal, and spinning in circles to cool down under the ingenious kick-to-start sprinklers.

It’s been a while since we have been able to gather so many of us together like this, and we were reminded of how irreplaceable in-person community gatherings are. Youth who may not have seen each other in a while were able to catch up. Brand new connections and friendships were made too: I myself finally got to meet several youth––whom I had zoomed plenty of times––in person.

We’re already looking forward to our next excursion… stay tuned for AALEAD VA fall events~

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