Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Smokey Bear Tangent

I remember the last time the federal government shut down. I happened to visit Washington DC in December '95, during the event. That was the last time I went to that city, in fact. The shutdown thwarted my desire to visit certain places, such as Mount Vernon and the National Zoo (because who wouldn't want to truthfully say, "I've been around the world, and I've been in the Washington Zoo"?).

I thought it a little odd that the federal government runs the zoo in DC, but then again it was created by Congress in 1889 and is part of the Smithsonian Institution, its full name being the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. It's also where Smokey Bear lived most of his life.

Re Smokey Bear, a blog produced by the Smithsonian, "The Bigger Picture," says that "Smokey was a popular attraction at the National Zoo, and received millions of visitors during his twenty-six year residency. He became so popular in fact that he received more than 13,000 letters a week and was granted his own zip code."

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