Even by DC standards this was a big week for the capital’s residents with the state visits of both the Pope and China’s President Xi Jinping, not to mention the arrival of the Jones family. Having checked in to our first Airbnb residence, about which I’ll say more in a later post, we settled the boys in for a quiet night in anticipation of another early start.
On Wednesday morning we wandered Downtown, via the Kennedy Recreation Ground where Teddy managed to split his trousers (one third of his trouser wardrobe!) necessitating a return to the apartment and quick change. Back on track we found ourselves in the National Building Museum on the recommendation of one of the locals. Externally the building is not wildly impressive but once inside, the Great Hall, with its 8 Corinthian Columns each around 75 feet high, takes your breath away. The columns, though painted to look like marble, were actually each built with 70,000 bricks and are believed to be among the tallest interior columns in the world.
Of the six main galleries inside the museum, two are aimed at children: Play Work Build which encourages imaginative play with blocks of all kinds – large foam blocks, small plastic blocks, even virtual blocks and the Building Zone, where kids of all ages can explore different materials in a very hands on way.
Taking our home education responsibilities seriously, we figured that the morning’s activities ticked off a bit of maths, science, engineering, even some physical education and after a really enjoyable couple of hours watching where the boys’ imaginations took them, we headed off to the Natural History Museum for a bit more…erm… learning!
We could have spent a week in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and still not seen it all but for this first visit we focussed on the Ocean Hall, Geology, Gems and Minerals (including the Hope Diamond) and the Dinosaurs, walking until our feet were as tired as our minds and then heading back via the grocery store.
For me the highlight wasn’t the 45 carat Hope Diamond, nor even the Interstella diamond dust, older than the solar system itself, nope, for me it was this:
All three boys looking at the camera together at the same time! Don’t get me wrong, the interstellar star dust is pretty amazing but, once more, all three boys, at the same time AND smiling – it may never happen again!