Sunday, December 06, 2009

DC Day 1: American and Natural History

Boy, are my feet killing me.

Today's expedition took us to the National Mall where we saw a large number of very important buildings at a distance, including the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. We also took in not one but two of the big Smithsonian museums.

The morning took us to the National Museum of Natural History where we saw exhibits on mammals, the history of Darwinian evolution, sea life (including a really giant real giant squid), the obligatory dinosaurs and Ice Age extinct creature skeletons, gems and gemstones (yes, we saw the Hope Diamond, and a lot of far more interesting gems), and a handful of other things. We lunched on overpriced sandwiches in the Fossil Café and bought sets of travertine dice (they didn't wonder out loud why we bought in sets of three instead of two) there before moving on.

The afternoon was spent at the National Museum of American History which is probably the single museum you'd think of first if you thought of the Smithsonian as a single museum. We saw Julia Child's kitchen, a variety of steam engines (ranging in size from a working steam engine less than an inch across to a single piston three stories high), various cultural treasures (the ruby slippers, the original Kermit the Frog, C3PO's costume, a scarf with Lincoln's blood on it, Edison's early light bulbs, the original Star Spangled Banner, Amy Carter's dollhouse, an Altair 8088, parts from the superconducting supercollider, and so on), and exhibits on American science, transportation, presidents, home life, money, inventions, and other subjects. All we bought in the gift shop there was a popout map of Washington DC we'd tried to buy back home before we left (but couldn't find).

Now we're trying to figure out how to get dinner and some groceries, ideally without leaving the living room or putting on shoes. We might skip on the groceries and get delivery (and have them bring some extra soda).

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