National Zoo Bookstore-Gallery. 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. Daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 232-4047.
The zoo will always be there to entertain you with animal antics and inform you with zoological data. But since you can't always be at the zoo, you can at least remember your visit with something from the zoo's new Bookstore-Gallery. Of course there are animal books, such as pocket-size reference guides, full-color hard-cover volumes on everything from insects to the spotted hyena, and a selection of animal stories for children. Washington artist Missy McBryde supplies the shop with hand-batiked animal T-shirts ($7 to $16) and local artist Mary Ann Sebring's handcolored etchings of animal scenes ($15) decorate one wall of the store. For model-kit fans there are assemble-your-own wooden models ($2.95 to $40) of a brontosaurus, trilophodon, several other formidable-sounding extinct creatures, as well as lions and giraffes. You can have an animal kingdom grace your table, too, in the form of mugs, plates, napkins, trays or an ice bucket imprinted with animal designs, clever hand-carved wooden animal napkin rings ($2.50 each), and wonderful orangewood bowls that look like ducks - complete with neck, head and beak ($4 to $20). The animal theme continues with jewelry, ranging from stickpins and earrings to exquisite necklaces of handmolded stone animals ($15 and $24). There are also ceramic and wooden animal sculptures, panda stationery, bird-houses and delicate paper animal cutouts from China.