California sea lions, gray seals and brown pelicans are just a few of an impressive list of animals on display in the nation's capital. The National Zoo in Washington on Saturday held its grand opening of the remodeled "American Trail" exhibit, which features only species from the United States and Canada.
"We tend to highlight a lot of pandas and African species and those kinds of exotics," said Rebecca Miller, an animal keeper at the National Zoo. "But we have some really great animals here (in this exhibit) that people can see ... American-born," she said.
Politics has been called a blood sport, so it's not too much of a stretch for Washington to be hosting its first Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday.
Still, mixed martial arts was once a sport that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, tried to get banned because of its violent nature.
Today, with safer guidelines in place, the sport is thriving and has a huge following in the U.S. and a growing audience globally.
Saturday's event is being held at Verizon Center with 10 bouts on the card.
UFC president Dana White tells CNN that Washington is ripe for the sport.
"Anytime we go into a new market, whether it's here in the United States or somewhere else around the world, it's always exciting... I expect D.C. to be very good for us," said White. "This is the most exciting live sporting event you will see in all of sports."
"I don't care what color you are, what country you come from, or what language you speak," White said, "We're all human beings. Fighting is in our DNA. We get it and we like it. This thing works everywhere."
When the state of the economy is discussed, it is sometimes analyzed solely from a macro level. But when it's broken down to the micro level, it can be seen how much the economic downturn has affected individual states, cities and small towns.
Manassas, Virginia, is one such town. But city officials say mindful budgeting and wise spending have allowed them to stay one step ahead.
"I would say that Manassas is in that lean and mean area," said Harry "Hal" Parrish, mayor of Manassas. "We made some (budget) decisions about three years ago when we saw the downturn starting."
Nevertheless, revenue is always welcome, and Manassas officials are taking advantage of a major Civil War anniversary of which they can take full ownership. They are commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run – the first major battle of the Civil War. The four-day event, which ends Sunday, offers everything from workshops and exhibits to parades and a re-enactment of the battle.
City officials are expecting up to 25,000 people to come to Manassas, and they are expecting them to be in a spending mood.
"Any time you have an influx of people, heritage and tourism – those kinds of people are going to spend money," said Parrish.
Manassas officials say those 25,000 tourists could result in a $25 million boost to their city's economy.
"I hope to bring in at least half of what I normally do for Christmas," said Christine Finnie, owner of Whimsical Galerie. "I have a lot of 150-year commemorative items. I have everything from T-shirts to the beautiful tapestry wall hangings exclusive to my shop, and I am hoping that will be a draw to bring people in for those items, but then also look around and see other things they might like."
The big draw this week is the battle re-enactment. Thousands of people are expected to attend despite record-setting heat.