Monday, July 2, 2012

Washington D.C., Road Trip With Nana 2012

Our time in Washington D.C. was so wonderful.  We did so much during our visit that I'm not sure that I will remember the order in which we did everything.


We walked the grounds of the US Capitol one afternoon.  It's such a beautiful building.  We had reservations to take a tour, however, we decided to cancel them.  It was going to be on our last day in the city and I thought the two younger kids were getting just a bit too tired to behave appropriately during the tour.  I never told Little J our plans, so fortunately he wasn't disappointed.  We'll try it in a few years.


Sassyfras was so excited to see the Smithsonian Castle.  There really isn't much to it, but she was thrilled to have been inside "a castle".


We visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (no charge) as soon as it opened one morning.  This is a wonderful museum for all ages.  My kids really enjoyed our visit.  Little J loved the gems and minerals exhibit, Sassyfras loved all the dinosaur exhibits (you could even observe real paleontologists working on fossils), and Juiciness loved Ocean Hall. I personally liked the architecture of the building the best, isn't the rotunda beautiful!

The two pictures on the lower right are from the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden.  It was a bit of a surprise to find this little garden situated in between the two museums on the mall.  It was a welcomed rest spot for us.  I have since found this website that tells of several gardens in the area.

Tips for visiting the Museum
  • Get there a bit before they open (we were in line by 9:45 for a 10:00 opening).  Some people were just sitting on the museum steps, but we decided to get into the line forming at the door.  
  • Security does bag checks, so travel lightly if you can.
  • From the security checkpoint, we made a beeline to the elevators on the right side of the museum and went to the 2nd floor, made a left and headed for the butterfly house ticket line.  We were about 10th in line to get tickets and were able to go right in the exhibit.  They have a limited number of tickets for every 15 minutes.  Also, it's free on Tuesdays.  It's not a very big exhibit, in fact our local science museum has a larger exhibit.  This one is very nice and has knowledgeable staff just the same.
  • There are a couple of places to get snacks or a meal.  Go eat early since it does get crowded.
  • We moved pretty quickly through the museum and were there until just after lunch.  I think we saw everything, but like I said, we moved through quickly.
  • It's a very popular museum and does get crowded.  One staff member thought they had as many as 20,000 visitors a day!  I made my kids hold hands most of the time as it was easy for them to get swept up in the crowds and separated.  It also didn't look easy for parent with strollers to navigate some of the busier exhibits.


Another morning, we visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (no charge).  There is a great hands-on kids' area that we spent quite a bit of time visiting, but really, this museum was another hit with all the kids.  We didn't stop to see any of the shows, but I understand from other moms that older kids enjoy many of the IMAX shows and the flight simulator.  

While we didn't tour the Hershhorn Museum, but we did stop to see the Circle of the Animals.  The exhibit encircles a large fountain outside the museum and contains heads of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac.  


A visit to the Lincoln Memorial was one of Little J's requests.  This is part of the National Park Service, so make sure to get your national park passport stamped if you are keeping one.  


We went out for a drive one afternoon and ended up at Arlington National Cemetery.  The lower right photo is from the Kennedy gravesite (the marker in the photo is Jacqueline Kennedy's).  You can barely see the eternal flame in the picture.  

So, what's missing from our photos that you would think we'd see while in DC...the White House!  We saw the White House...but someone forgot to charge the camera battery!  There were a few other stops that I didn't photograph for one reason or another, but we had a great time.  We mostly rode the Metro, but occasionally took a taxi, or ventured out on our own.

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Leslie said...

Looks like another great day!! I love DC ~ although I haven't been there in a while. We are planning a visit to the natural history museum to see the dinosaurs. It's been so hot that I've been slacking on my summer todo list.
Happy monday

Phyllis said...

Looks like you did a good job of fitting all the DC sights in!

Raising a Happy Child said...

You did amazing with little kids in tow! A lot of happy memories are made during trips like these!

Sarah said...

such great pictures! :) sounds like an awesome trip!

Sherri said...

This is a great trip!