Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Adventure Nickel goes to Washington - Day 1

We chose this contract in Richmond largely for the history of the area.  A huge part of that was the proximity to the nation's capital.  Since we only had my mom in town for a little bit longer and the government finally decided to get its act together, we made the trip up to D.C.

Being the big old nerds that we are, our first stop had to be...

Mr. Smithson?  You would think, and you would be wrong.  Mr. Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian.
Yup, the Smithsonian.  Oddly enough, we never made it inside the old building pictured above. It is now the visitor's center and we just went straight to the first place on the bucket list: The Natural History Museum

The kids below a full model of a Right Whale.  Damn they grow conservatives big here.

Danny loved dinosaurs.  He wished he could play with one.

Zombie T-Rex wants your brains!

We looked and looked and looked around at everything, there is just so much interesting stuff there to see.  We checked out the oceans exhibit, dinosaurs and then made our way upstairs to see some more spectacular exhibits.

The Hope diamond.

Of course, all the gems and minerals bored the kids to tears.  We drug them through the geology areas and then succumbed to the calls for a potty break.  I'm pretty sure the potty break was a ruse to get us to go somewhere more interesting to the grade school set.

The Hall of Mammals.  I usually don't like taxidermy, but I know good work when I see it.

Saving it for a midnight snack.

Always reading.

The Hall of Mammals was a big hit and ended in a little movie theater where I got to snuggle up with a distant relative.

Why are you always so cold to me?

This ancestral snuggle led us into the display on evolution, which was great.  The fossil record depicted here is awesome and it also explores some of the other evolutionary offshoots that weren't as successful.  Interesting things for the kids.

After all of this, it was finally time for lunch...way past time actually.  We had been up and running since 0600 and it was near 2 in the afternoon.  We left the museum and started tracking down reasonably priced food in the DC downtown.  We ended up in the basement food court of the Ronald Reagan International Trade building.  If in town on a budget, I do recommend it.  The walk let me take some scenery pictures. 

Still in the museum, neat stairs

Dum dum gimme gum gum.

Those halls of power you always hear about.

Then we went back to the bucket list and went to the American History Museum.  Michael wanted to see one last thing in the Natural History Museum, but we convinced him we would probably be back. 

The American History Museum was cool, even if half of the building was closed.  They were renovating the West half of the building with an expected completion of 2015.  There was plenty to see on the East side though and we didn't really have enough time to see it all anyway. 

Harry Potter's robes, they stole them while he was in the shower after Quidditch.

Old school RV'ing

Not a great picture, but I love this clock

This was made in time before electricity and indoor plumbing.  It is amazing.  Google it and be amazed.

Lincoln's life mask, watch and a medal.

Hi Ho, the original Kermit the Frog.
Archie Bunker's chair. 

Dorothy's ruby slippers.

There is just soooo much cool stuff there.  The coolest thing though, was something they wouldn't let us photograph. 

It was the Stars and Stripes.  Yes, THE Stars and Stripes.  They have the actual flag that was hanging over Ft. McHenry during the bombardment that inspired the national anthem.  It was much larger than I thought and just took my breath away for a moment. 

Progressing through, we got to yet more historical artifacts.  The gunboat Philadelphia that was built and launched and then sunk in 1776.  They raised it in the 1930's. 

 You know, this town was named after someone.  Turns out they kind of admire the guy and saved a lot of his stuff. 

He wore this outfit for ceremonies, paintings and special occasions.

So they saved it.

Notice the sword he is wearing in the painting.  So freaking cool they have this stuff.

Eventually they kicked us out.  Yup, we closed down the Smithsonian.  Don't care where you go, you just can't stay here.  That was the end of day 1.  We walked back to the train station and rode the train back to the car where Max promptly fell asleep and missed our IHOP dinner.  That was OK though because the next day was an early wake up to head back and do it all over again. 

We were tired, but happy to have seen all this stuff.  


  1. I love the American History museum! My Dad's company is based out of DC so I did a lot of traveling there as a kid. It was my favorite of the museums. I'm positive your kids would enjoy the Air and Space too. Are you going to make a trip out to Mount Vernon?

    1. Air and space was given a brief visit on day 2. We are planning Monticello soon and I suspect we will get Mt. Vernon in too. American History museum was pretty cool, even only half of it.