Over the holiday break, my daughter and I accompanied my husband back to DC, where he works. He spent the weekdays working, and we played the tourists.
First, I would like to say how awesome DC is for tourists. The Metro is well-labeled, and getting off at the stops there are signs directing you to where you need to go. And the fact that all the Smithsonian museums have no admission is great as well. (And that counts for the zoo, too, since that is a Smithsonian institution)
The first day we were there we made our way to the American History museum. I have to confess I was a bit disappointed. At least half the museum was under construction, and we got to see very little. Of the things we did see, though, I enjoyed seeing Kermit the Frog, Dorothy’s shoes, and the Stradivarius cello. My daughter was not feeling well, and I wasn’t sorry to cut that day short.
The second tourist day was the Zoo. Although it was cold, the air was not damp, and it was pleasant to be outside.
I have to say that the pandas were amazing. They were both eating when we went through the first time, and they were close enough that you could see the texture of their fur. They are large and soft creatures, but watching them devour the bamboo left me no doubts as to the strength of their jaws and claws.
We went through the bird enclosure, more as a way to get warm, but the birds were awesome. And we saw otters and seals and sea lions. A bald eagle. Lions, tigers and cheetahs. Zebras (who acted up when the cheetah wandered over to the fence to check them out). And elephants, tossing their hay around. And back up the hill to see the pandas again.
The last day of our visit we headed to the National Gallery. It has been on my list for two years to see the Vogel Collection, but I geeked out over something unexpected…the Gilbert Stuart portraits of the first presidents. To see the originals of paintings that I have only seen on money, or the covers of books…it was impressive. Even more impressive than seeing the only Da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere…
We met my husband’s co-worker and his family for dinner, and I was surprised that though they have lived in DC their adult lives, they don’t take advantage of these opportunities.
But then, I don’t visit the tourist things in my area either.
Photo by cliff1066