Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Day 5: Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Cramming in as much of Washington, D.C., as we possibly can!  This is our fifth foray into the city!
We took a leisurely day trip into D.C. by visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  We spent several hours exploring the museum's different areas.  While the older boys paired off and explored on their own, Steve and I took the younger two boys through the museum.
We started off in the dinosaur bones area, which really impressed the younger boys!  We saw full skeletons for many different kinds of dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Then we moved into the Deep Ocean area, where we saw a baleen whale hanging from the ceiling, as well as a preserved giant squid!
We also walked through a very large display of stuffed mammals, bringing to "life" what we usually only see in books.
On the second floor of the museum we spent a long time in the geology and gem stone section.  We saw the famous "Hope Diamond" as well as some jewels that were gifts from Napoleon to his wife (although I don't understand why they are in the Smithsonian and not in a French museum!).
Something that caught our eyes while in this section of the museum was a large display in the middle of the aisle showing a large geode of --- Herkimer Diamonds!
Also in the second floor of the museum we saw an "insect zoo" (yuck!), real mummies, and a display about forensic science and how it has helped identify the skeletal remains found in Jamestown, the first American settlement.  (We will be going to visit Jamestown within a month.)
By the end of our hours in the Natural History Museum, the kids were done.  Although Steve and I could have spent many more hours there, we headed back home again to prevent the kids from getting too worn out again. 
Even though there are nearly twenty Smithsonian museums, we will likely be seeing only a couple of them, three if we are lucky.  One down!