Thursday, October 08, 2015
Washington DC, the last days
The National Zoo was only two metro stops from our hotel, and is the home to four pandas, including a brand new baby, so it was top on our list of places to visit. We went there first thing one misty morning.
Look, a real life panda! My kids died.
We also stopped to see the flamingos for Stella, and the bird house, too. Honestly, the rest of the zoo isn't anything special (we have a particularly fantastic zoo here in Phoenix), but it was worth a trip just to see the pandas.
That afternoon we got to see Mike! He had been busy at his conference everyday. We toured Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial with his conference group.
The changing of the guard was really impressive. Arlington is a quiet, peaceful place. It left me with a heart full of gratitude for the sacrifice of so many.
The Washington Monument, as seen from the Lincoln Memorial.
Nearby are the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the WWII Memorial. All are worth a visit. We didn't have much time there, but I am glad I was able to see them, even briefly.
Not pictured: An early morning White House tour. My big camera wasn't allowed, so I left it at the hotel for the day. It was neat to be in the White House, and I felt very lucky to have the opportunity (the tour was arranged through Mike's conference). But it mostly felt like we were in some exterior rooms that aren't used anymore. I was sort of hoping for more. Alas.
We also toured the Capitol. I loved this one. It's currently under construction, so we couldn't see much of the cupola, but our tour guide was excellent. And thanks to a nice reader (Hello Julie!), we were able to get tickets to the House and the Senate galleries, so we could watch the lawmakers at work. It was super cool. I left the Capitol feeling really grateful to be an American. It made me realize how special this country is and how unique our beginning was. I know things can feel sort of mixed up in the government nowadays, but visiting the Capitol made me remember that America is pretty great.
There is an underground tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress, and since it was raining like crazy and we had just walked all the way from the White House, we took the tunnel. There isn't too much to do inside the Library of Congress besides peek into the main reading room, but it was worth it. It is stunning.
From there we walked to the Air and Space Museum. Of all the museums we visited, this was the most crowded. Due to time constraints, we mostly stayed in the "space" side of it. Even though it felt a little out-dated, it was still so neat. My kids totally loved it. There are huge rockets and planes and Apollo command modules on display. There are space suits and moon rocks and so many cool things. I think this museum made the biggest impression on my kids. And, it has a really great gift shop, which is always the highlight, of course.
posted by stephanie at 5:34 AM