Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Day at The Smithsonian

This year, we did something new & spent the second half of our Christmas Break in Virginia with my parents! They live outside of Washington D.C., so we had the opportunity to do some exploring around the city & I thought I'd share our adventures with you all today! 

In front of one of the many gorgeous trees inside The Smithsonian Museum of American History

Thursday morning we woke up & decided to go into Washington for the day. It was very cold, but since we planned to spend our time at the Smithsonian, we figured as long as we all bundled up, we'd be fine! And honestly, we were. Eric likes to act like we were in Antarctica, but I was fine with all my layers on and the kids didn't complain once. #stopactinglikeasoutherner

We started at The Smithsonian Museum of American History & it was fantastic! Whenever you ask Ella what her favorite part of our trip was - this museum is her answer! 

The ground floor has a Wegmans Wonderlab that is filled with interactive toys for kids to explore. It reminded me of a very small version of The Strong National Museum of Play here in Rochester (Rochester is also the home of Wegmans, so I'm pretty sure that was the inspiration). My girls liked the blocks & kitchen best. 

Once we played a bit, we explored some inventions. Ella thought it was so funny to look at the old computers, washing machines & telephones! Livy thought this model of a unicycle was pretty cool too :) 

Next, we headed upstairs to find The First Ladies Exhibit! Ella loved looking at all of the gowns on display & acutally asked some really good questions. The lady behind us in the line was really impressed with her :) 

While we were upstairs, we also went to The American President exhibit. I really wish I could have spent more time here myself, but it wasn't as flashy as the First Ladies exhibit & Livy was starting to get hungry, so we headed downstairs to eat at the Stars & Stripes Cafe. 

Now... do I recommend eating overpriced cafeteria food? Nope. We actually wanted to go to a restaurant about half a mile away. But... we weren't finished at the museum & the feels like temperature was 12. So, we sucked it up & ate overpriced chicken fingers for lunch. 

After lunch, we went back up to the main floor & Livy ran into some she knew!

She was so excited to see Oscar the Grouch! This was just a random exhibit in the hallway & she absolutely loved it. They had Mickey Mouse memorabilia too that she was very into. 

Next, we headed to the History of Transportation exhibit & I actually have to say, I thought that was the best part of the day. There are full size trains everywhere, full size cars, street trolleys, and carriages. A little bit of everything from our past & it was extremely interactive. The kids loved it & we spent over an hour of our day here. I didn't take any pictures because I was chasing Olivia at this point, but it was excellent! 

Once we finished up in the transportation exhibit, we bundled back up & headed next door to The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Now, I'm going to be honest. I didn't love this museum. I thought that Ella would love the butterfly exhibit, but you have to pay $8 per person to go through a very small butterfly habitat. We have a much larger version of this in Rochester for only $3 per person, so we skipped that & I promised to take Ella another time instead. I also thought there were dinosaur fossils here (like Papa Pope style) but I was mistaken. There were lots of skeletons of animals to look at, but Ella just found it creepy. 

Ella & Gigi exploring the Mammals Exhibit together
Livy on the other hand LOVED the mammals exhibit here! She was pointing at all the different animals & having quite an animated conversation with my dad about them! 

After we finished the mammals exhibit, we took a stroll to see the National Christmas tree & took a quick picture in front of the National Monument.

Their expressions in this picture crack me up. Livy was passed out from no nap all day & Ella was not impressed by the National Christmas tree. So... it was back to our van & back to Culpepper! Such a fun & educational day! 

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