My mom, niece, and me woke up early this morning because that's the best time to visit the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. If you're not there before 8am you miss the freedom of walking through the zoo with only morning joggers to compete with for a view. I took them to my favorite group of friends in the center of the zoo ... the Pandas, giraffes, and elephants. The zoo keepers suspect the female Panda is pregnant. We started some friendly conversation with one of the keepers and we were invited into the Panda House hours before it opened to get an up-close view of the male Chin. The elephants are very close to the Pandas. The nearly-3-year-old baby elephant Kandula might be more affectionate than a Panda. I took this picture while he was under behavioral observation by a zoo volunteer. Kandala is so special they even record how many times he poops.