Washington, DC Wonders

Our recent trip to DC was our longest trip in the car and the longest we’ve stayed in a hotel – 3 whole nights! If you don’t think that’s a big deal, you haven’t spent enough time with us 🙂
We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express that worked really well for us. Big enough room, fridge, pool and an hourly shuttle to Union Station, which is really important to access the Metro or any number of tour buses. We availed ourselves of one of the bus companys, and although it was expensive, it was like hand-holding for the first-time visitor. The top deck gave us a fantastic view and the tour is narrated by guides to point out the famous spots. You can ‘hop on and hop off’ anytime to go and see the sights closer. And we did.

Our first stop was the National Zoo. The zoo was landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead, who landscaped Central Park. It had a lot of animals that we had not seen before, but the most fascinating by far was the giant panda.

In the evening, we walked the Mall and visited the Washington Monument…

The World War II tribute…

The Lincoln Memorial….

Several sources mentioned that seeing these sights in the evening was particularly beautiful and I had to agree.

The view down to mall from the steps of the memorial.

Mr. Lincoln,

meet The Boyz.

 and The Vietnam War Memorial.

Everyone warned us that we would need to walk, and walk, and walk. And we did.
Ethan has been walking around with a Washington, DC guidebook for about a year. He kept it in his hand the entire time and matched up each of the pictures with places that we visited, usually recognizing where we were before we did. Of particularl help, was this little deck of cards we received as a gift.

We visited Arlington National Cemetary. It is really an emotional experience with impressive visual impact. Seeing the sea of graves of men & women who chose to serve our country with their very lives (and knowing that it was only a portion of them) was awe-inspiring. 

The most profound experience in Arlington is watching the guards at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The very solemn and ceremonious ‘Changing of the Guard’ is so mesmerizing that we never even needed to tell the boys that they were to remain silent.

Although they tell you that you are on hallowed ground, no one really has to remind you once you’re there.

We managed to get in visits to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. The kids did a lot of ‘ooohing’ and ‘ahhhhing’. We saw the Hope Diamond! Ethan got to see the monkey from Night in the Museum 2!

We watched money being printed at the Bureau for Engraving and Printing. We walked through gardens and parks and threw coins in several fountains.

Whew! Washington DC offers and endless array of things to do and see and I have a list 10 times longer than this post of things I still want to see!

You know, for us, you never know how a trip like this is going to go. There is a lot to consider. We are a quirky and needy family – we’ve got a lot going on that can make travelling difficult. But when something like this goes so well, it gives me confidence that we are off to seeing more great things as we continue to expand our repetoire.

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!