Friday, March 24, 2006

Taking in the Sights

Our daughter has been learning about museums in her kindergarten class. So, last weekend we decided to take the kids downtown to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We drove down, rather than take Metro, since there were train delays due to track work and we figured our youngest might take a short nap during the 40 minute trek.

Unfortunately, parking is not the easiest in DC and we couldn't find a space reasonably close to our destination. I dropped my wife and kids off in front of the museum and took off in search of the elusive parking space. I did a quick loop around Constitution and Independence Avenues to no avail. I finally found a spot over beyond the FDR Memorial. It took me 35 minutes to walk/jog back to the museum.

While I was playing valet, the rest of the family made their first stop: the dinosaurs! I was really into dinosaurs when I was a kid, so it's kind of cool to see them doing the same. It was time for lunch by the time I got there. We ate at the museum's Atrium Cafe (a very overpriced cafeteria) and then were off to see more of the natural history wonders. The kids were most interested, after the dinosaurs, in the gems and minerals (Look! Big shiny rocks!) and the bugs (there was a display of butterflies and moths just outside the restrooms one moth was bigger than my outstretched hand).

Finally the children were getting tired, so we decided to call it a day. My thoughtful wife had brought the stroller along (which is really too small for the kids now but works in a pinch) and they climbed in for the haul back to the van. Along the way we got the kids some ice cream from a street vendor and continued the long walk back past the Washington Monument (where my wife snapped the above picture - she actually laid flat on her back, on the ground, to get the shot) and across the Mall. We passed the World War II Memorial (first time my wife and I had seen it) and then walked through the FDR site before finally arriving at the van.

It was a lot of walking but, all-in-all, a nice way to spend a spring Saturday. And, we all slept well that night!

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