Saturday, June 28, 2008

Something to be Said About the City

Zachary and Grace in front of a three-ton stone head from Easter Island.
It was acquired in 1886 and has been on display for more than 100 years.

There is definitely something to be said about a city. I don't think I would want to live in Washington, DC but there is definitely something to be said about the area. It has so many great things to offer and is just so diverse. Yesterday, Friday, we drove into the city and finally found parking and headed to the Smithsonian. We thought the kids would really enjoy the National Museum of Natural History so we headed there first. And they loved it. We saw an 8-ton, 14 foot tall African bull elephant which has been on display since 1959. Then we went to the "Discovery Room" where we got to see fossils, skulls, shells and minerals and it was all "hands on" which the kids loved. The favorite though was probably the "Dinosaur Hall" where we got to see gigantic fossilized bones of the creatures that walked the earth as long as 210 million years ago, including a 90 foot Diplodocus longus which was found in Utah in 1923 and a 40 foot long Tyrannosaurus rex, which is Zachary's favorite.

Then we moved on to "Life in the Ancient Seas" which encompassed 542 million years of marine evolution, the "Early Life Hall" and the "Ice Age Hall". We also saw an aqal, a contemporary, portable Somali house in the African Voices exhibit. We saw insects in the "O. Orkin Insect Zoo", which I did not like at all (it made my skin crawl) and primate skeletons in the bones and reptiles exhibit. Last but not least we went to the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals where we saw the 45.52 carat deep-blue Hope Diamond, the world's largest one of its kind, and it was beautiful.

The Hope Diamond

Also during the day, we saw an IMAX film, Sea Monsters in 3D, which was really neat. Grace and Zachary were a little scared at first but ended up loving it and wanting to see it again.

After we left the Museum of Natural History, we walked over to the National Air and Space Museum. We only spent a short time there but the kids, especially Zachary, really enjoyed looking at all the different airplanes.

Smithsonian Castle

Zachary, Grace and Jill in front of the U.S. Capitol

After leaving that museum we headed to our hotel and checked into the Jurys Washington Hotel in Dupont Circle. We had debated on whether or not to stay in the city but since we procrastinated about making reservations, we were able to get a "last minute deal" at this hotel right in the heart of one of the District's most cultured arts neighborhood.

By the time we checked in, we were all tired and hungry and ready for dinner and the front desk told us about a little Italian restaurant within walking distance so we went and checked it out. It was absolutely delicious. The name of the restaurant was Otello and it is located on Connecticut. The service was impeccable, the food was divine and even though it was this nice little authentic restaurant, it was "kid friendly" and the waiters and even the owner of the restaurant made us and our children feel welcome. It was delicious and if you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend it!

During dinner, Dave called his cousin Diane, who lives in DC and unbeknownst to us, she lives very close to where we were in Dupont Circle. We met her after dinner at Starbucks for coffee. We had not seen her in years so it was nice to be able to spend a little time with her.

Dave, Diane, Jill, Grace & Zachary

After a long and tiring day, we headed to our room where we got a much needed good night's sleep.

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