Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on DC

We are really pleased with our DC trip.  We got to see lots of interesting things.  We enjoyed the Holocaust museum; sure wish I could have taken pictures.  If you come to DC, be sure to put this museum on your list, the videos are graphic and makes me wonder how one human can do those thing to other humans, especially children.  Most of the museums do not open until 10:00.

We also go to go the the archives and see the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights.  Lots of hands on things to do there, again no pictures.

We became pros at ridding the metro system.  Easy to do once you understand the different lines and have a great map to follow.  We found that most people were welling to help us out if we did not know where to go to catch the next train.  Be sure to hold on to your phone and do not, repeat, do not, lean against the escalator while talking or looking at your phone; we witnessed a man lose his phone this way.  A couple of kids reached down and took it out of his hand and took off running.  Most of the people getting on the trains are listening to their ipods or phones.  Earphones everywhere, heads bobbing up and down.

Food is expensive at the cafĂ©’s inside the museums.  The Air and Space Museum has a McDonalds and it is usually very busy around lunch time.  There are small kiosks on the mall which offer hotdogs, salads, and sandwiches at a more reasonable price.

People use the area on the mall to play softball, frisbee, and run.  Lots of people like to run on the grassy mall.

It got hot and muggy in the week we were here.  Bottled water is $2.50.

The IMAX shows were wonderful.  Especially liked Born to Be Wild, the Hubble, and the dinosaurs.

We were here during the school trips, lots of 5th through 12th graders running around.  Some are well-behaved, others,  well----

Some of the museums let people in according to times so you have to have tickets for Ford’s theater, White House tours, Capitol tours, and elevator to the top of the Washington Monument.

The first night we arrived, we took the night tour of DC and really enjoyed that.  It gave us an idea of how the mall is laid out.  I personally think the night view of the Lincoln Monument is better than the day.

We are now really good at walking.   The museums are not very close together, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  Lots of stairs but there are ramps, escalators and elevators, that is, when they are in working order.

It rained a couple of the days we were here, but we just bought cheap parkas and kept on going.

We were on the go most days from 8:30 till 6:00 and are now taking the next 3 days to reenergize.

Cherry Hill is a great campground.  Really very helpful in giving directions.

National Aquarium Washington DC

Final day of sight-seeing in DC.  We went to the National Aquarium.  We had to pay to see the exhibits.  Did see things we had not seen in other aquariums.  Very small aquarium.





Friday, May 27, 2011

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Day 2

That’s correct, it took Gary and I two days to see all of this museum.  We also saw all of the IMAX shows, so maybe that is why it took so long.  But who could resist seeing the Hubble photos in 3D?


Amelia Earheart’s plane


first nonstop transcontinental flight


John Glenn’s space suit


worn on the moon on Apollo 15


Russian moon suit

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crime and Punishment Museum, Washington DC

This museum is not part of the national park system, so you have to fork over some dough to get in.   However, Gary really enjoyed this museum.  First thing you see is the volks wagon used by Ted Bundy.  Museum has lots of artifacts and some replicas of items used to commit murder and items used for punishment.




flag carried by Jesse James


Bonnie and Clyde

Ford’s Theater, Washington DC

Ford’s Theater is part of the National Park system, so there is no cost to visit the Theater and Museum.  However, you will need to stand in line to get a ticket because there are so many people.  The basement is a museum that depicts the Lincoln’s presidency.  A few short videos are available for viewing.  After the museum, you can go up to the theater to see the box where Lincoln was sitting when Booth shot him.  Across the street is the place where Lincoln died.




gun used to shoot Lincoln

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Arlington, changing of the guard

Finally got to see Arlington.  We went to Kennedy’s grave and got to see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  There is also a tour of the home that Robert E. Lee lived in before the civil war.  There are no food facilities at Arlington, so if you go, make sure you eat lunch.



tomb of unknown soldier



Manassas Battlefield

First battle of the Civil War.  In fact, two battles took place here.  Citizens of Manassas woke up one morning a found federal and confederates on there farms getting ready to do battle. Can you imagine cannons going off in your front yard or at your back door?  It’s always amazing to see how much ground the battles occupy.



Andrew Jackson got the nickname of Stonewall at this battle.


This stone house was used as a hospital.


no doubt who won this battle.


Mount Vernon

Took a drive to Mount Vernon.  Must say that we do not like Washington DC traffic.  Lots of things to do at Mount Vernon.  Lots of movies to see also.  We toured Washington’s home.  There are people in each room to tell you what happened in each room.  Worked good when the other people in your group were quiet.  Have to pay to tour Mt. Vernon, $15 each.  If you go, be sure to watch all the movies.


Washington grew all kinds of flowers and plants on his farm.



Necessity house

Smithsonian Natural History relics

This section contained a few relics from the early settlers that came to American.  Very small section.




Egyptian artifacts at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

I was hoping there would be lots of Egyptian artifacts, but there were only 2 small displays, still enjoyed them though. 




Insects at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Walking toward the exhibit of the insects, we could hear a young boy say, “Did you see those big spiders?”  Sure perked up our interest.  We looked, and sure enough, there were some big spiders.  Not that many insects to be seen, but those we did see were some we had never seen before, and sure wouldn’t want to see them out of their little glass boxes.




Can you see the katydid?


Dinosaurs at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Some of those dinosaurs were really big.  We really enjoyed seeing all the bones of dinosaurs and other rare animals.  Must say we spent a lot of time looking at bones.








Gems at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Can you say beautiful, gorgeous, priceless, shinny?  If you can, you just said quite a few adjectives to describe the gem collection at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  Pictures do not do justice to how pretty these gems are.


Hope diamond



Mammals at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

So many mammals I had never heard of.  The displays in this section of the museum are wonderful.  Displays show the mammals doing something they would do in the wild.