Friday, October 22, 2010

Washington, DC

We just returned from a wonderful educational vacation of DC. A friend in our home school group planned a week-long camping tour - Thank you for getting us organized!!

On the first day we tried to visit all the major monuments and started the Smithsonian museums. Here are my munchkins at the Lincoln Memorial -this was Fizz's (6) favorite site on our tour. She is still talking about it! The ducks in the reflecting pool are very friendly (even some of the squirrels will eat out of your hand!). We did a lot of walking, but it was worth it to see these amazing sculptures in person.

(*day1: looped the monuments from Washington Monument to Abe Lincoln, around to Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson seeing the war memorials along the way. Stopped at the Holocaust Museum where we took the youth tour, then Aj (13) and Jewel (12) started the "adult" tour. (Unfortunately, they did not have a chance to finish and both want to return to complete this museum.) We then met up with our group at the Natural History Museum and Museum of American History. Aj and Jewel were fascinated by Julia Child's kitchen, and Bee (3) couldn't wait to see Dorothy's ruby slippers. The Prehistoric and Gemstone exhibits were a hit, too. Can you believe we fit all that into one day???? Me either!!

The second day included the White House Visitors Center (which was surprisingly educational) and some photos in front of the real thing. Then we moved on to the Air and Space Museum. We spent a lot of time here since everyone was really enjoying it. We also started the West Art Museum, but didn't get far before a Preschooler meltdown let me know that we had done enough for the day. :)

By the third day the younger ones were tired of the museums, so some of us went kayaking at Mason Head State Park. I stayed on shore with Jewel (12) who does not really like the water that much, and Bee who was not old enough to be allowed on the boats. We walked the nature paths and found tons of shells along the shoreline. This was a great way to break up the walking tours.

Here are the two land-lovers watching out for the return of the kayak/canoes.

Then, day four, back into the city for another day of touring. The library of Congress was amazing; the tour guide was a wealth of knowledge. The library has these little passport kiosks throughout the building which kept the younger ones occupied while we looked at the exhibits. If you get a chance, go -just for the jaw-dropping architecture. Wow! The Museum of the American Indian was our last scheduled stop. It was very nice and informative, but I was disappointed not to find any reference to the Abenaki (part of my blood line) or much about the northeast tribes in general. The museum's focus seemed to be on the more popular/well known nations. Not sure why that is, but I can speculate.....Never the less the building is very impressive and the exhibit of modern Native American art was enjoyable. We were able to return to the Art Museum and stall the baby blues long enough that I could scoot around and visit some of my favorite artists. I kept Bee busy looking for pictures of "princesses" in gowns, ....and puppies, ....and ships ...anything really, just so I could keep going through the exhibits.... someday I will have to go back and really take the time to appreciate the amazing artwork. The Degas sculptures were amazing and the light on the just can't capture that through a photo in a book-almost made me want to cry. It takes your appreciation for these master artists to a whole new level.

There are still many things that I would like to go back an see and do. But after a week away from home and husband, I was ready to go home Perhaps we will return as a family in the future.


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