Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Journey is an Adventure

This week we headed out to see the Museum of Natural History. We are becoming quite adept at using the metro and walking everywhere. I do hear some complaints, but overall we have adapted to our surroundings well. After exiting the metro station early, we were confronted with busy sidewalks and the smell of lunch wagons. The myriad flavors smelled delicious and caused a few bellies to rumble. As we walked through the lunch seekers, it became clear that a stop along the Mall would be required. We had our lunches, and I thought we could find a spot to eat and people watch.
Our destination quickly became apparent as we stumbled upon the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens. We wandered into the garden and marveled at the large sculptures. We saw one that resembled the sugar cube pyramids that the kiddos had crafted several years ago. Another was entitled Cheval Rouge (Red Horse) and prompted loads of discussion on why it was such named. Abstract art and artist interpretation led the discussion. With lunches in hand, we finally settled around the fountain.

With the sound of the traffic on Constitution buzzing along in the background, we observed people stopping, relaxing, walking past and having animated conversations. Tour groups paused at the fountain with shorts and sleeves rolled up to catch a bit of the sunshine. Many photos were taken. With the mist of the fountain cooling the air, the kiddos turned their attention to the trees. A trio of arborists clad in yellow hard hats and climbing gear was trimming the row of trees surrounding the area. Amid the falling branches, we spotted two men above in the trees. Suspended by ropes, they cut and sawed at the branches. The kiddos were enthralled. While munching sandwiches the sat and watched contentedly. The lush verdant area was awash in downed limbs. Immediately my children saw possibilities. During a break in the action, they asked the person on the ground if they could have a few sticks. Initially confused by the request, he quickly understood and grinned. He picked up the sticks they wanted among the branches. They were so pleased.

With sticks in hand, we set off again. More sculptures were studied and analyzed including the amazing illusionary three dimensional House I. Benton wanted to bang on Graft with his stick, but was dissuaded in time. He was right, though. It probably would have made a loud noise on the metal.
Directly beside the Sculpture Garden was a path full of plantings for butterflies. We didn't observe many butterflies, but we were delighted by the flowers. As we walked along the path, we read signs about butterflies and their habitats. We stopped to smell the fragrant rosemary bush and quickly identified some kale amidst the garden. Pausing to climb on rocks and boulders along Constitution Ave, we listened to the notes of a street musician. His rendition of My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music filled the air as we continued our walk to the museum.
Once inside, oceans, mammals and gems comprised the bulk of the time. We visited dinosaur bones while in California last year, so the kiddos were not as enthused this time. The three attributes of a mammal were reviewed while visiting that hall (fur/hair, mama's milk and special ear bones). Aine was surprised at the size of the walrus, while Benton was impressed by the giraffe. Eamon was just eager to get to the gem and mineral display.
We walked through amazing displays of gems, minerals and rocks. Eamon was delighted. We were able to catch a quick glimpse of the Hope Diamond. Much discussion ensued over value and price tag.
We left the museum after many hours exploring to head home. When relaying the adventures of the day to daddy, the trip to the museum topped the list of cool things to see and do. Attention then turned back to the museum, but the journey there was quite fun.


  1. What a great outing! I love the D.C. area for amazing things to do and see, and the Metro is a great and economical way to get around. It's so neat that you are able to live there for a while and experience all of the wonderful museums, monuments and historic sites with your family. Thanks for the post.

  2. Looks like another great and educational weekend. Amazing weather's a bit chilly here at the moment. Glad you are managed to get so much out of your relocation.

  3. I'm really enjoying getting to visit D.C. through your lens and words! Thanks for letting us share in your fun! Looks like you are really getting to explore the area and make memories. :)

  4. I remember going to those museums. I wish I had gone more when I lived in DC-what a great resource. You guys look like you had a blast!