MGN Online

Published: Oct 01, 2013 11:35 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Traffic has been lighter and the subways less crowded today in Washington, on the first day of a partial government shutdown.
The White House is operating with a skeletal staff, including household workers taking care of the first family's residence, and presidential aides working in the West Wing. A groundskeeper working outside at daybreak said he was doing a job normally handled by four workers.
Outside the Capitol and its adjacent visitor center early today, there were no signs warning tourists they wouldn't be admitted for the usual tours. A Capitol Police officer standing outside an entrance said he'd be breaking the bad news to the visitors.
The Smithsonian museums website displayed a red banner noting that "all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed." On the zoo's website, panda mom Mei Xiang (may shahng) could be seen snuggling with her weeks-old cub through the morning, until the feed was abruptly cut off around 8 a.m. Care of the animals will continue.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)