May 2015: Washington DC


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Rest stop on the way to DC!

They told us there were no good views from the hotel room.  This looks pretty good to us!

Testing out the beds

OK DC, here we come!

But first an early dinner!

Then we hop a train

That girl on the passing train looks just like Anya!

Crossing the Arlington Memorial Bridge

 

Air Force 2 flies by

 

Approaching the memorial

We made it!

Now what?

Time to check out Lincoln

A guy offered to get the whole family in the shot, but didn't think to include Lincoln!

 

Sasha approaches hesitantly.  "Night at the Museum 2" taught her that Lincoln might stand up at any moment and walk around.

Four feet and seven inches of kids read this inscription.

 

Now we gotta just hang out until the tour starts.

Sundown on The Mall

We decided the National Mall night walking tour would be fun

In retrospect it was not a great idea for the first thing we did for the weekend

It was fun and informative, but by the end we were exhausted and barely made the last train and shuttle back to the hotel.

And then we slept for 1/2 of the next day to recover

But at this point in the evening we had no idea.  So the tour begins in the steps of Dr. King.

Our ranger guide takes us around the backside of the monument

And tells us a story about how General Hooker was named so because he rousted a lot of hookers from around the capital.

The whole group insisted that Sasha get her picture with this giant penny

We learned that this statue was to appease the people who didn't like the Vietnam Wall Memorial.  And this second memorial is for the women and nurses in Vietnam.  We learned that because they were not enlisted, none of their names appear on the wall.

This is the Korean war memorial at night.  The photos here didn't turn out well but it did look neat at night.  This dome is the District of Columbia War Memorial.

It commemorates the citizens of the District of Columbia who served in World War I.

The Memorial was dedicated in 1931 on Armistice Day-the day that marked the official end of the war, also Holly tied her shoe there.

Our last stop was the World War II Memorial

I was taking a pic of this wreath and my camera exposure was wrong.  Looks neat though.

 

This memorial may have set the bar too high.  It's huge, impressive and super detailed.

Sasha was fascinated by the bas-relief depictions of the stages of the war.

Another exposure screw-up creates a cool effect at the Washington Monument.

Good Night DC.  See you in the morning.


Much later the next day.  After breakfast and post breakfast naps, we returned to the city.

And like most DC tourists, we make a beeline for the The Eisenhower Executive Office Building!
(We didn't know this at the time, but after watching "Veep" on HBO we learned that this is where the Vice President's office is!)

And right behind The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is this big white house.

It's probably where that Eisenhower fella lives

 

I was tired of carrying this sign around everywhere so I left it in front of the house.

Eventually we were the only family left on the street.

 

Guess where I'm standing grandma?  At the Andrew Jackson statue!  He's so cute!

They removed some barricades and we were able to inch closer to the other line of barricades that keep people away from the main barricade.

 

The Treasury Dept.  Where they hide all the treasure from Nicholas Cage we assume.

 

A Sikh Parade!

 

They say the grounds of this museum are haunted by a creepy little girl in a blue dress.

Heading over to the Nat Mu Am Hi

Wizard of Oz shoes, here we come!

And here they are!  2 Shoes...  One... Two!    Ha ha ha ha!

Archie and Edith's chairs. (There was a foreign couple who were really excited about these.  They must just be getting the broadcasts there !) 
The Champ's mitts.

One of Tony's first lids.  One of them new Mac's the kids are all excited about.

The Fire Brigade

Steampunk Sasha gravitates to the train

Julia's kitchen, before Dan Aykroyd got there.  (That joke is a deep cut!)

 

Lincoln's Last Ride

 

More Z-Boy gear

Sandra Bullock's Gravity suit and Michelle Obama's Inauguration dress.

Sasha takes the podium.

See speech video

Clinton's Sax-a-ma-phone

Walking over to The Museum of Natural History

 

Let's get a treat with Mommy and her dumb friend.

 

We learned beasts like this thing called an "El-e-phant" once roamed the planet

 

Giant Crab Vs. Whale... tonight on the Sci Fi Channel Friday Night Movie!

 

Sasha and Anya are obsessed with Narwhals.  So of course the first person we meet it the world's leading authority on Narwhals! 

Dr. Martin Nweeia, a Connecticut dentist and a clinical instructor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, has been traveling to the Arctic for fourteen years to study narwhals, and, in particular, their tusks.  He encouraged Sasha to enter a trivia raffle that he was hosting.

 

Wandering around looking at all the monsters of nature

 

Over at the insect museum

Holly loved the giant Cockroach. 
They said the only reason we couldn't hold this beetle was because the area where the head connects to the back could pinch you.  Not the actual giant pincers, those are harmless!

 

30 minutes later, hovering around the Narwhal Professor, Sasha (aka the luckiest kid in the world) is awarded the prize and get's an autographed and inscribed copy of his book!

 

Tri-sister-tops!

This Fossil revealed that he was a Capricorn and liked long walks at sunset.  weird.

"Hey you kids, it's my play on the Space Invaders!"

Sasha scores highest fossil

The place settings of India and an Easter Islander

Unlike the model one upstairs, this one is real!

Dinner in China Town

Subway ride home.  Anya sells maps to raise some money for tomorrow.

After many failed attempts we finally got some pool time!

Night night on the folding couch!


Mothers Day for Holly!

A card and a kiss from Anya

Happy Mothers Day Mommy!

Some original artwork from Sasha

And a double kiss to start the day!

First stop of the day - Smithsonian Castle

Admiring the hedges

More nice hanging baskets at the castle

Known as the Castle, this 1855 building serves as an information center for visitors to the Mall.

Joseph Henry, the statue guy here and first secretary of the Smithsonian lived in the Castle with his family.

The National Gallery

Construction at the Capital and re-sodding, so part of the mall was blocked off.

 

Heading back to the Natural History Museum to watch an IMAX

Meteorites always inspire Anya to get huggy

Moon rocks rock!

 

Sasha found the Tesseract.  Keep an eye out for Loki!

More weird rocks of nature

That's a big crystal!

And there's the Hope Diamond! 

 

Holly's lifelong fascination with Edentates continues.  Ask her about it next time you see her, if you have a few hours to chew up.

 

The giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck that most other mammals have (seven) so stop thinking they're so special!

Where's the mummy?  No.  seriously.  Where's the mummy?!!!!!!

Tusks

 

This display is called "Giraffe mocking shrub"

Hey Anya!  Come peek at this little elf in the back of my throat!

 

You can lead a giraffe to water, but then it get's funny.  Seriously though, their digestive system can obtain almost all the water they need from the plants they eat, so the adults only need water once a day. Young giraffes donít need to drink water at all, they get it all from plants!

We watched an huge screen IMAX film about all the teeny tiny monsters that live on your eyelashes!

On our way to the next museum we found this nice garden

Then, eventually, the White Tree of Gondor!

Then this weird thing

And this weird thing

Anya lives and walks on the ledge  

A very pretty courtyard

 

Look!  I'm a photographer!  I call this shot "tree"

We went to the National Gallery, but they wanted to keep our backpacks so we said "forget that!" and left immediately.

 

Cutting back across The Mall

 

Over to the National Air and Space Museum

Planes and other flying things

 

Sasha oversees the history of flight

Planets.  A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days.  So that would make Anya about 10 days old!

Kids....  in.... Space!!!!!!

 

Anya plants the flag.

 

Here's where they faked the moonlanding

Rockets so tall they had to dig a hole in the floor just to display them!

We saw a cool Neil deGrasse Tyson planetarium show about dark matter.  I think.  You can't really see dark matter.

Spying on the planet

Fantastical what-sa-ma-thingies

Anya doing some science!


Last day.  Someone told us it's all happening at the zoo.

So we went there.

In search of the panda.  Bamboo.  They must be nearby.

We found some otters

A Japanese Maple like the one in our yard!  And then...   Panda!

Our first time seeing a panda!

I took about 100 pictures of this bear

Look he's doing something cute!

And then something else cute!

And something else cute...

That was pretty neat.

Anya found a teeny tiny elephant

Look at how cute he is!

A pocket sized elephant you can hold in your hand!

 

There are actually 2 pandas!

Here's the other one (the ugly one!)  Just kidding, but this one didn't frolic as much.

 

An elephant fountain

 

A lousy stinking ant eater! (MST3K Episode 822: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank)

"Hey!  You guys sleeping over there?"

I should have taken some notes about what all these things are.

They were all fuzzy and small

 

"What?!  Huh?  What's that tapping sound?"

 

I waited for like 5 minutes but the watermelon never ran in the little wheel.  It was probably afraid of all those rats.

 

Primate staring contest.

Over at the reptile house

These guys just pretend to ignore each other but I think they're in love.

A whole lotta snake

A gharial.  Those are weird looking alligators.  Kinda prehistoric.

No joke, when Anya approached this snake exhibit the snake went crazy.  Sasha came over to see it too because he was so unusually aggressive.

Turtles everywhere!

Unfortunately we didn't have time for the whole zoo.  And even worse, the walk back was all uphill!

But we did see a zebra

So I guess it was all worth it!

Back at our hotel.  Look at the neat atrium. 

And finally... the flash brightens up the place, but Sasha and Anya agreed that the underground parking garage at the hotel was probably the scariest place they have ever been in their lives.

 

And that's the end of our Mother's Day weekend trip to Washington DC!  Hurray!

 

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