Day 21: Holy Brachiosaurus, Batman!

Brachiosaurus, with T. Rex looking on. Photo: Jenny Williams

For today, we had a major change of plans. Much of what we were going to do was outside. But the 93 degree forecast scared me away from that. I also decided that I needed to trim our list of destinations, so I’ve begun to prioritize. Some museums are more important to me to visit than others. So instead of checking out the outside of the White House, seeing Lafayette Square, going to the Hirschhorn, and seeing the Smithsonian Castle, we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and then peeked in the Castle a bit. (This also took the burden off another one of our days, when I’d planned to do too much.)

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Photo: Jenny Williams

We rode the Metro downtown again, this time getting off at the Smithsonian station. We got to enjoy a 6 stop ride instead of a 1 stop ride, which we had yesterday. The boy liked that. Somewhere along the ride, he said, “I love the subway!” He also said it was like going through the Time Tunnel on Dinosaur Train.

When we got onto The Mall from the Metro station, I was instantly disappointed. I remember The Mall mostly as a fairly open stretch of grass, with good views of the oversized buildings on all sides. Instead, it was filled with giant white tents for some kind of folk festival. Never before have I been angry with a folk festival. I really hope the tents are gone for the next time we go downtown (Tuesday).

Gneiss changed by pressure. Photo: Jenny Williams

We got through the museum in just a few hours. I let the girl decide our pace and direction, since this is more her thing than mine and the boy’s. I enjoyed seeing the fossils and animal skeletons. I especially enjoyed the plant fossils.

The girl liked most things, but liked the fossils, skeletons, and gems the most. The boy liked touching things. (In fact, when I asked him what he liked in the museum, he said, “Touching things!”) The museum had several things that people were encouraged to touch including meteorites, jawbones, and gemstones. There were also buttons to press, windows to look in, and panels to slide. He liked messing with those. If we could find a mechanical engineering museum, he’d probably like that.

The cross-section of a meteorite. Photo: Jenny Williams

The museum was filled with families, with the occasional couple or older person. We got to see areas on the ancient seas, geology and the rock cycle, gemstones, insects, mammals, bones, the evolution of man, Africa, and a few other spots.

After we were done, we headed back toward the Metro stop, going into the Smithsonian Castle along the way. I keep mixing up the Castle and the Arts and Industries building in my head. There really isn’t too much to see at the Castle, so we didn’t even go through the bag check area. We just saw James Smithson‘s tomb and read some information about him (he left his fortune “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”). Apparently he’d never even been to the United States, but that didn’t stop him from leaving us all his money. And the Smithsonian is quite a worthy legacy.

Skeletons! Photo: Jenny Williams

Another decent Metro ride home, and we were making plans to catch dinner with GeekDad Matt Blum and family. Unfortunately, he came down with a migraine and we had to cancel. So instead we had dinner with Jess and I got some work done! But less work than I had hoped. Isn’t that always the case?

Drove: None.

States (and a District): Virginia, District of Columbia.

The Castle. Photo: Jenny Williams

Weather: Hot and miserable.

Kids: Pretty good!

Best Parts of the Day: Fossils.

Worst Part of the Day: The blocked view on The Mall.

Quote of the day from my daughter: “This museum makes honey!” when she saw the bees making honey in the insect section of the museum.

Total GeekDads and GeekMoms Visited: 8.


About Jenny Bristol

Jenny Bristol is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, playing board games, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.
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One Response to Day 21: Holy Brachiosaurus, Batman!

  1. Jeff says:

    The National Building Museum is kind of a mechanical engineering museum. They had a neat audience participation talk when I went about different kinds of bridges.

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