I’ll be heading off to Washington DC on Tuesday, and I’m told that most of the museums and zoos there have free entry. Considering that I managed to spend about $35 just going to one (small) museum and one (big) zoo for an afternoon in San Diego, I’m pretty pleased.

My experience of San Diego Zoo was varied. After getting in, I was immediately immersed in a queue of indeterminate length, seeing indeterminate animals. I haven’t been to many zoos recently, but I only expect to have to queue in places with rollercoasters, not animals. Anyway, after the first queue things easied up significantly such that the further away I got from the entrance of the zoo, the fewer people there were, with the exception of the famous pandas, which I suspect I could have spent the entire day queuing to see.

Animals like the elephants, giraffes, koala bears and polar bears all had surprisingly few people watching, whereas the snake house was so packed that I just gave up (my reasoning: seen one snake, seen them all). But overall, there was a hell of a lot of people there, and I was fairly sure that most of them weren’t locals. Hmm, I thought to myself.

On getting back to the lab, people let me into the secret that in fact, no San Diego locals went to the zoo. Certainly not on weekends, anyway. I nodded my head sagely. These San Diego people are a wily bunch, what with their perfect weather and beaches.