Honey! Look Down There! More Clinically Depressed Animals!

This has got to be the dumbest idea ever. A "sky tram" for the National Zoo...

Via DCist:

The Examiner and AP are reporting that massive, 20-year long $1 billion master plan to renovate the Zoo has been approved, and it includes installing the aerial tram.

The DCist goes on to say:
“the aerial tram sounds pretty awesome.”

What?! No. No, no, no, no. Sweet baby Jesus, I hate the DCist (not really). If only they weren't so damn informative. It doesn't sound "pretty awesome." It sounds fucking ridiculous.

More silliness from the Washington Times:
"The aerial tram, a central feature, would provide grandpa visitors an alternative means of traversing the zoo’s steep terrain, which [Zoo Director John Berry] compared to walking the stairs of a 16-story office building which it isn't".

Now I’m all for revamping the National Zoo. The first problem with it is that it's shitty as far as zoos go. The second is that its cramped. God only knows the last time that place saw substantive improvements. I sincerely hope the renovation plan does something—anything-- to improve the lives of our animal friends jailed in that gulag. How they all don't eat each other is beyond me.

The funny thing is the zoo promoted the hell out of those panda bears, Ming Li and Lucy Liu or whatever their names are. Well, I’ve been to the zoo three times and the pandas always look depressed. What kind of sick place makes panda bears look sad??? FREE OF CHARGE! You just know they're aching for a way back to China. Unfortunately, as the Zoo's only big attraction , they're forever doomed to rot in panda hell, Washington, DC.

I don't think the air tram as a "central feature" will distract anyone from the crappy living spaces for the animals there. The only thing its going to do is allow visitors to view animal kingdom misery from a slightly higher altitude.


  1. You may have a team of six blogging here, but it looks like you're still doing the heavy lifting, HRH. Thanks for the new post.

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  3. Elizabeth,

    I'm nearly done with a post, so don't fret.

  4. You would be astounded at how much WORSE the pandas looked back in the 80’s. But its basically splitting hairs....pandas are lazy bastards no matter where you find them.

    As for the tram, my big issue here is that the National Zoo is ground zero for America’s obesity epidemic. Every Saturday all summer long it is one long swath of sweaty, exhausted Type 2 diabetes-addled tourists. That hike up the Olmstead trail is arguably the most exercise their family is getting all year, and the spectacle is easily as entertaining as anything the sea lions do. I, for one, will be very sorry to see it end with the arrival of the tram.

  5. Agreed. If you're that handicapable you should get a Rascal, like George Kastanza.

  6. I don't think this tram is intended to replace walking around the zoo, it's just an opportunity to see the zoo from above. Obviously people will still want to see animals more closely, and therefore will be on the ground. This tram is expected to coincide with other improvements to the zoo as well (like expanding it to areas where there are currently parking lots). I don't really understand the hate for this idea.

  7. The only improvement that you can make to the National Zoo or any zoo is to release those poor animaals back into their natural enviroment. Oh rignt, they don't know how to survive in the wild.

    Anyway, zoo's are crappy period. Be they in D.C. or any other city.

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  10. I haven't gone to the DC Zoo in years. It's in DC, and I loath DC. If you're going to spend 1 billion and put in a tram as a major feature, redesign the entire zoo from scratch instead.

  11. I don't hate for the sake of hating. And I don't really hate the zoo.

    But I hate this idea because the National Zoo has a never-ending laundry list of improvements to need to be made. Unless this tram is a guaranteed revenue generator, I have a huge problem with allocating the severely stretched Smithsonian budget to this kind of nonsense, rather than to a great ape house that looks a little less like Abu Ghraib. Or an indoor pen that's appropriately sized for a hippo.

    Its a shame. The zoo has a lot of work to do, but up until this decision, it seemed as though they had finally stopped screwing up.

    And it's TOTALLY about hauling obese tourists up the hill. Mark my words: there will be no fewer than five vending machines next to the tram queue.

  12. I'm thinking of coming to visit again, I missed the zoo the first time round.

  13. Well, they haven't killed any of the animals in awhile, so that's an "improvement".

  14. "God only knows the last time that place saw substantive improvements."

    Um, didn't they just finish the new Asia trail, which revamped the whole area around the panda house all the way up to Connecticut Ave? And aren't they in the process of completely redoing the elephant house, making it much larger and more livable for the elephants?

    I agree that the zoo could use some more improvements--and I'm not sure how i feel about the aerial tram either--but it's not fair to say that the zoo hasn't been working on any improvements.

  15. Good Lord, has the attention deficit in this nation gotten so bad that people can't remember what they've read five seconds after they've read it??? AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF MY POST I CITED THREE SOURCES SAYING IMPROVEMENTS WERE SCHEDULED FOR THE ZOO. I also noted that I hadn't reviewed the improvement plan, but that I HOPE they do something to improve living conditions for the animals. THEY ARE NOT IN IDEAL CONDITIONS CURRENTLY and anyone who thinks they are, well, they're same kind of people who think an air tram is "pretty awesome." Christ!

    I appreciate the comments, I really do, but guys, use some critical thinking/reading skills. PLEASE.

  16. God Bless You, HRH! The animals at the National Zoo look like they're in need of daily life support. They are suffering with dirty undersized cages, and fat tourists feeding them so that they become more obese. It's just not the way a zoo should be. Check out the San Diego Zoo... magnificent! Tons of space, well kept animals, and a great way to see Koala bears, animals that the National Zoo doesn't even have... so sad... San Diego Zoo rocks!

  17. Wow, is that my shit you're jumping into, Friday? for mentioning the Asia Trail? If it is, you're the one who needs to check your attention span. As I mentioned, the Asia Trail is DONE. It's not something that is SCHEDULED, it's fucking done. And anyway, I don't think I was attacking you... I agree with you about the tram. I agree with you about most things. I was just saying it's silly to blast the zoo right now. Five years ago it was spot on to lay into them (they were killing animals left and right) but now? It's gotten so much nicer. If you think this zoo is shitty, I would recommend you visit almost any other zoo in the country (save the San Diego zoo)... trust me, there are WAY worse zoos out there.

    I enjoy most of your posts, but Jesus Christ... you need to lay off the coffee.