First Date at the Zoo: An Ideal Place to Test Animal Attraction

By Dispatch From The Dating Jungle
Monday, March 23, 2009

After reading this, we'll spend as much time watching the people as we do the animals on our next visit to the zoo. Who knew it was a hot spot in the local dating scene?

I've been going on first dates to the National Zoo since 1997, when my friend Ann set me up on a blind date in front of the Elephant House.

The date was great. Good enough to ensure that 10 years later I was still going to the zoo on all my first dates, knowing that if things got bad I could ditch my date in the simulated jungle of Amazonia.

At the zoo, you have ready-made conversation topics. There is none of that awkwardness about who is paying, because the zoo is free. And no matter what happens, there's always someone else in the crowd who appears to be having a nervous breakdown.

If you go to the zoo for every first date, you will never be nervous. You've been in this situation before, and you know exactly how to act. You can stand without a shred of anxiety at the front entrance. Buy popcorn by the panda souvenir stand and smile at all the right times. The Asia Trail is a newish attraction. In addition to the pandas and the elephants, there is the glum fishing cat -- a total conversation starter.

After a slice of greasy pizza and a watery Coke in front of the perfect picnic area -- the prairie dog exhibit -- you can wipe your hands off on your pants and escape down the Metro escalator without any promises.

-- Adele Levine, Wheaton

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