Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Break in DC - Part 2

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday offered plenty of steps, stops, and sights. We started on Monday at the Museum of Natural History (also called the "IYEvolution" museum - pictured below), which the boys were extremely excited to visit. And the dinosaurs, ocean creatures, mammals were much to see everywhere you turned. To see a real Giant Squid was pretty amazing!

Later that day we quickly toured the West Building of the Museum of Art (quickly because, well, Seth and Reed were with us, and no matter how hard I tried, they didn't want to imagine the story behind the painting or study the technique of the sculpture.) Our visit was long enough to find their DaVinci and works by Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and John Singer Sergeant - three of my favorites. That evening we walked toward Chinatown and enjoyed an amazing dinner at Legal Seafood. Seth was adventurous and tried the blackened salmon, which he loved.

On Tuesday our party of five split up as Ann and Tim went to the Holocaust Museum and the boys and I headed to the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. We arrived at the Supreme Court around 9:30 a.m. and joined a line of people waiting to enter (pictured below). Turns out the court was in session and visitors could sit in the courtroom to witness a trial in action. What luck!

Visitors had to make the decision to watch the entire hour-long proceeding or enter the gallery for only five minutes of the trial. We opted for the second, which I completely regret. Five minutes wasn't long enough for the boys to process what was happening, and it was an amazing opportunity to watch the Supreme Court Justices hear a case. But still, being in the courtroom while a case was being argued was a very cool experience.

Next, the boys and I went next door to the Library of Congress (pictured below). Of course, all of the government buildings in DC are something to see, but the LOC tops them all. It is stunning everywhere you look - the mosaics, carvings, stained glass, and statuary. Just breathtakingly beautiful. The boys and I took the guided tour, and it was excellent. I was so impressed with the boys' attention to our docent and their interest in what he was saying.

After reconnecting with Tim and Ann and grabbing a late lunch in Union Station, we took the Metro over to the Holocaust Museum, where the boys went through Daniel's Story - an age-appropriate telling of the Holocaust experience from a child's point of view. While they went through this area, I spent about an hour and a half in the Holocaust Museum. There are no words. It is a must for everyone, and it would take three or more hours to truly see and read and listen and contemplate everything it holds.

Finally, we ended our day at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (pictured below), or "The Money Factory" as they call it. We took a guided tour of the facility where our paper currency is made (the only other place is in Fort Worth, Texas).

The cold and windy weather broke on Wednesday to provide a lovely Spring day with blue skies. We started our day at the National Zoo (pictured below), which I have to say disappointed us. We are spoiled with a wonderful zoo right here in Knoxville! Afterward, we took the Metro into the city to visit the International Spy Museum. We easily spent three hours here, learning about the tricks of the spy trade and the history of espionage. If you have boys, then this stop in DC is a must!

We returned to our house around 10 p.m. each night after dark and fell into bed -- feet hurting, legs aching, and exhausted -- only to wake the next day re-energized and ready to do it all over again.

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