This is one ambitious short trip to the capital of the United States. We squeeze in a walk around the Tidal Basin and to the Jefferson Memorial to enjoy the scenery of the Cherry Blossoms. From there, we walked towards the Smithsonian and spent the rest of our days in 3 different museums. We pick and choose the sections we wanted to see most in the museums spent more time in one section and less or none in some others.
Smithsonian Institution (according to Wikipedia) is an educational and research institute and associated museum complexes, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities and magazines. Most of its facilities are located in Washington, D.C., but its 19 museums, zoo, and nine research centers include sites in New York City, Virginia, Panama, and elsewhere. The museum is perfect for family fun and definitely every educational. Best part..FREE! No entrance fee! Eating at the museum does however cost you, i.e, we spent about $70 for lunch for 4.
Here are the pictures from our maiden tour into the Smithsonian. First stop was the American History Musuem. I wasn’t too keen to go to this one, but I was glad I did at the end of it!
Something old and something new. Top Hat from Abraham Lincoln (Bottom Left) which is at least 140 years old and Michele Obama’s Inaugural Ball evening dress (Bottom Right). The first lady had just recently donated this dress to the museum. See Michele Obama in the dress HERE.
And the renown Julia Child’s kitchen (bottom), donated by the chef herself in 2001. I don’t need to own 20 frying pans, I nor do I want her kitchen…I just want to be able to cook like her. Boeuf bourguignon, perhaps? Or the duck dish, Pate de canard en croute?
After spending a couple hours at the American History museum, we walked to the Natural History museum. I did not see much that captured my attention, perhaps the exhibition was almost like the Field Museum in Chicago?
We were greeted by this huge 14 foot tall African elephant (Bottom Left) in the lobby area. Don’t worry, it wasn’t live and kicking. It was just a statue. (I think) that comes alive at night. =)
We walked around and stumbled the evolution of man area. I found one of the display interesting (Bottom Right). Click to see more clearly. Are we seriously 60% genetically similar to banana trees??
We were eager to catch a glimpse of the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Musuem (Bottom Left). There were many people surrounding all those precious stones on display taking pictures and wishing they could own just one. I was one of them =) The Hope Diamond weighs at 42.52 carat and is believed to be cursed. The Smithsonian houses this huge rock which is removed from its original setting as it is apparently getting a new upgraded setting in the future.
There were also some other interesting natural minerals (Bottom Left) that were so colorful and pretty.
After the Natural History Museum, we walked towards the Smithsonian Castle (Bottom Left) which is mainly an information center and perhaps an event hall. The garden (Bottom Right) at the back was nice with nicely trimmed plants and rows of tulips.
Our final stop was the Air & Space Museum. Just tons of air craft and the history of it. I spotted Amelia Earheart’s airplane (Bottom Left). She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. We then realized, this wasn’t the air and space museum we wanted to see. We wanted to see the Air and Space Museum @ Udvar-Hazy Center which was a couple minutes’ drive away and not in the National Mall area.
Overall, the visit to the museums were quite educational. it would have been better if they had better air conditioning inside. It was hot and stuffy sometimes and I’m not sure if it was because of the large crowd on a Easter weekend? Or was it always like that. Well, can’t complain much since did not pay the entrance fees…but I think part of our tax dollar probably made its way here…right?