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11

FRIDAY

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Pity the spectacled bear. He’s miles from the glorious, tyke-friendly fanfare of those Chinese showboats, not to mention forced to live in a weed-ravaged dump one-third the size of their luxurious panda condo. He’s been separated from his less-cocky ursine pals, as well, and instead has a numbskull sea lion on his left and a spooky forest on his right. Most of the time, the lonely bear just sticks his old gray snout in a rotted stump and waits patiently for the random visitor—maybe a smile? maybe a wave?—to get lost on the way to the gift shop. Closer to Adams Morgan than the Elephant House, the spectacled bear is hardly part of the National Zoo at all. So, kids, when buzzing around today’s “Guppy Gala,” take a stroll down the winding Valley Trail. When you get to the shadowy end, make sure to say hello to a friend of mine. He likes to be called Specs. At 6 p.m. at the National Zoological Park, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. $25. (202) 673-4613. (Sean Daly)