Friday, April 9, 2010

Tuesday in D.C.

This was the day for museums. Our first start for the morning was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We arrived via Metro just before they opened at 10 a.m. There was a small line waiting at the door. I had purchased IMax tickets before we left home to avoid waiting in lines for that. We grabbed our tickets from the will call and then looked through some exhibits until the movie start time. There were lots of things to look at, and to read each exhibit would take at least an entire day, so Chad and I just followed the kids around to what seemed to interest them. We saw most of the second floor exhibits before the movie, and by the time we were back out the crowds had increased two-fold. The kids had pretty much seen enough except for the gift shop of course. There was a Star Trek ship used in filming of the TV show hanging in the gift shop. The gift shop was three floors and Chad had to text my phone so we could find each other again.

The next museum stop was the Museum of Natural History. Here we saw dinosaurs, ocean animals, rocks, gems including the Hope Diamond, and walked through items from ancient ruins as we walked forever to a bathroom. Here is a picture of a dinosaur attacking Zack. Hungry by now and smelling the food from the cafe, we headed downstairs only to find a huge line. We left the museum and found a restaurant in the nearby Sculpture Garden. It was nice out, so we ate our meal at an outside table in the garden sharing the entire terrace space with one other group. I think the kids were done with museums for the day, so we headed on a hike to have another look at some other monuments. It was a very windy day but at least it wasn't raining. We walked to the Washington Monument and found a bunch of stamps for the boy's passports in the nearby Park bookstore. We then headed to the World War II Monument for a closer look since we missed the up close visit on Sunday night. It was a very moving and beautiful area. We saw more Wisconsinites at the Wisconsin tower and we took group pictures for one another. We also took pictures of some areas where Chad's grandfather was during the war.
The kids were done walking and so we headed to the nearest Metro station then back to the hotel. Since it was not raining we tried to go back out in the evening to revisit some monuments in the dark. The first one was the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial, on an island. After finding the park entrance we discovered that the foot bridge across to the island was unlit even though the area was open until 10 p.m. There was also no sight of the memorial on the other side, and we gave up on this one since we had no flashlights with us. This was on the George Washington Parkway, which I guess means no exits. We were headed the wrong direction for our next stop, Iwa Jima Memorial. After getting turned around there was no posted exit to get off going the other direction. After much turning around, we approached from a different direction. By that time, though, it was not only extremely windy but also raining now. We grabbed umbrellas and tried to take some pictures before scurrying back to the car. That was enough for the night and we gave up and headed back to the hotel.