Thursday, May 17, 2012

Visiting the Smithsonians and the White House

A Metro Station
One morning before the conference, we drove to a Metro station and took the Metro (train/subway) into Washington.  You can buy an all day Metrorail pass for only $9.

The Capitol
We wanted to see some of the great museums in DC.  While walking to the Smithsonians we had a great view of the Capitol.

A replica of an African Elephant in the rotunda
First we went to the Museum of Natural History.  The day we were there this museum was packed!

Hunter looking down on the elephant
There were a lot of fossils of dinosaurs and marine animals and everything in between.  The T-Rex was huge!

T-Rex close up
There was also a huge exhibit of rocks, gems, and minerals including the Hope Diamond, which is a rare blue diamond that is just over 45 carats.

The Hope Diamond (blurry-it was in a glass case and on a turntable)
Next we went to the Museum of American History.  One of my favorite things I saw was The Star Spangled Banner- the actual flag that inspired the National Anthem!  It was a very dark exhibit and they didn't allow pictures there.

The Flag (image courtesy National Museum of American History via Flickr)
Mitchell loved The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit.  He is into the military and guns. 

Mitchell looking at military memorabilia
Another cool thing we saw was the Gunboat Philadelphia.  It was sank in 1776 during the war and sat at the bottom of a river for over 150 years.  It's amazing how well the water preserved it!

The Gunboat Philadelphia
I also liked the pieces of the Berlin wall that were on display.  I guess it's cause I remember when the wall was still there and when it came down.

Part of the Berlin Wall
Finally we went to see the White House.  We saw the back first, that's where the vegetable garden is.  It was interesting because there were police on the top of the White House.  You can get tickets to go inside, but it takes months and background checks, so we didn't do that.

The back of the White House
Then we walked around to the front of the White House.  I was surprised at how close to the road it is. 

The front of the White House
Of course that road has been blocked off for a long time to traffic. 

A Secret Service vehicle on the blocked off road


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