There are 19 museums in the Smithsonian complex, and with only one day left we were forced to choose just one, so day three found us down at the Air and Space Museum.
There is no way anyone can get through the entire museum in one day, but we gave it our best shot. Basically Rob and I spent the day following the kids around as they ran from exhibit to exhibit, touching everything in their path. There were so many hands-on experiments to keep them busy. There was so much to read about, too, there just wasn’t enough time to do it all.
By late afternoon we were all ready to leave. It had been an informative day, but we were ready for some fresh air and sunshine. We walked over to the U.S. Capitol building and then continued on down the road to Chinatown. It wasn’t as big as we were expecting, but it is not every day you get to see the McDonald’s sign in chinese.
We found ourselves drawn to a window where a man was making noodles by hand. As we stood there watching, people kept walking into the little restaurant. We decided to follow them and enjoyed a nice dinner of fresh homemade noodles.
Even after an entire day of walking, the kids still managed to skip all the way back to the car. Where they get all the energy, I will never know. We made it back to our parking garage just before sunset and drove back to Waldo for our last night in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Our time in D.C. went by so fast, as always seems to happen, and the cherry trees never did bloom, but we had such a wonderful time exploring our Nation’s Capital. Rob has even mentioned the possibility of visiting again for the 4th of July. What a spectacular show that would be…
There are so many things to see and do in Washington D.C., but we all agreed that visiting the National Zoo was a must. We weren’t sure what to expect, but I can safely say that we were all pleasantly surprised. Rob and I had no idea just how big it was, and the variety of animals was incredible.
We went to see the pandas first, hoping to catch a glimpse of baby Bao Bao. She was sleeping in the window while her mama, Mei Xiang, munched on bamboo. She was hard to see, and with the reflection of the glass was even harder to get pictures of, but she moved just often enough to make her presence known.
We had such a wonderful day laughing at the tigers as they hissed at ducks in their pond, listening to the lion roar at anyone who would listen, watching the orangutans cross from exhibit to exhibit using their O-line, admiring a handsome male peacock strut his stuff in front of an attractive female (who didn’t seem care one way or another) and being absolutely amazed at just how much noise a stand of flamingos can make.
The animals all had such beautiful habitats and it was very apparent that a lot of time and effort went into making sure they were happy.
For the second day in a row, we had absolutely beautiful weather. The crowds were minimal again, making for an enjoyable day wandering around the park. We spent the entire day there, leaving only as the zoo was closing for the night. As we were walking back to the parking garage, the kids kept asking us what our favorite animal was, but it was really hard to pick just one. They were all so amazing in their own ways.
If there weren’t so many things yet to see in D.C., I would have voted for revisiting the zoo on day three. And I have decided that I would like an elephant for my birthday…
Except for the strong head wind, our drive out of North Carolina was pretty uneventful. We had planned on driving through Washington D.C. and into Maryland that first day, but we ended up spending the night in Ruther Glen, Virginia instead. We filled up with fuel and propane at the Flying J, and figured it was a good place to stay. The problem was that we were used to the darkness and the gentle roar of the ocean, and the parking lot was bright and loud as trucks came and went all night. It didn’t make for the best night sleep, but it was free, so we didn’t complain.
We got up in the morning and went the remaining 90 miles to Greenbelt, Maryland where we set up Waldo for a few night’s stay. We arrived early enough that we had plenty of time to drive into D.C. for a little exploration. Our first day was spent walking through all the monuments and memorials. By the end of the day, the Capital Region of our National Parks Passport was almost full.
The Cherry Festival was going on so we had hoped the blossoms would be in bloom, but it had been such a cold winter that they were about a week late. I was hoping they would burst open while we were there, but it was simply not meant to be. I read that there are over 2,000 trees, and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when they are all in bloom.
It was an absolutely beautiful day and we could not have asked for more perfect weather. There were a lot of tour buses and school field trips, but it was actually very quiet compared to the summer months, allowing us to enjoy the monuments and memorials at our own pace. Washington D.C. is one of those special places that you can see a million times in pictures and films, but none of it compares with seeing it in person.
After almost 10 miles of strolling around downtown, we were ready to go home. The traffic was insane and it took us much longer to get home than we would have thought. We quickly learned that it does no matter what time of day you are cruising the streets of D.C., the traffic never goes away. Luckily Rob was driving so I just kept my foot pressed down on my imaginary brake pedal and tried not to look as people wove in and out and dodged oncoming cars as they tried to get around people. I felt bad for the semi’s, but apparently they are used to it because they were not a whole lot better than the cars. I think most people drive with one hand on the wheel, and the other on the horn, because there was a lot of honking going on…