Love the Smithsonian Institution!!!

We spent today at the Natural History Museum.  What a great day!

My husband and I don’t often take the federal holidays that we’re entitled to take off.  I wasn’t sure that he would, until we discussed our plans last night over dinner, and I suggested taking a trip downtown to go to the Natural History Museum, since the boys are both very excited about dinosaurs!

We did want to do something to commemorate MLK Jr, but somehow “Mitzvah Day” at the synagogue didn’t strike our fancy (I do hope they had a good showing!! maybe next year for us)

So we fed the boys pancakes, and packed sandwiches and fruit and baby carrots, and got in the car to go downtown.

Our beginning wasn’t so auspicious, as S decided to ask for his window to be rolled down, and that apparently reminded J that he could get carsick, which he then proceeded to loudly yell “I’m getting’ carsick!!” as we were barreling around 495, the infamous DC beltway, and there was NOWHERE to pull off!!  We managed to cross 4 lanes and exit at River Road, pulled off onto a side street, and both boys got out, ran around a little, and then we were able to convince them to get back in the car, and we resumed our journey!

The undercurrent (so to speak) of the day was that today was the second full day of the (3-day) weekend that we committed ourselves to the 3yo in “big-boy” underwear!!  So, we were very aware of being close to potties!!  And River Road was NOT close to any.  So far, not a problem!!

We arrived, with dry pants(!!), and Dad dutifully dropped us off at the entrance of the museum to get to a potty ASAP while he parked the car.  Mission accomplished, although, J claimed that he had no pee-pee, and then we put our coats in a locker and headed up to the exhibits.  We arrived on the main floor and entered The Ocean Hall – the boys were instantly entranced.  I was amazed as they dragged me from one exhibit to another – they were truly curious and drawn in by the curious creatures.  We were particularly caught up by an exhibit that showed the evolution of one dinosaur to another that ultimately led to the development of whales – very cool.  S kept asking me whether they had babies that were different!!  He couldn’t quite get his head around the millions of years that separated the descendants (although he often likes to talk about thousands and millions and infinity, in a knowing way).

Dad joined, and found ourselves in the African Voices exhibit, which had displays representative of specific countries, and this led us to a search for the display that was about Ethiopia!  We finally found this:

S was clearly pleased that his people were the winners!!  I must get some books on this battle and this history to bolster his sense of pride and identity!!

We next headed to the dinosaurs – which had been the main draw when we left in the morning, but it seems like they’ve become a bit inured to dinosaurs – they were familiar with them, but didn’t stay at the exhibit long.  Sadly, the upper level was closed off, which was tantalizing, and it held a flying dinosaur that we then couldn’t get close to, and J really wanted to.  Here he is with a diorama that he found fascinating (I think the main appeal was that the models were so small…made it easier for him to manage):

And we finally made it to the mammals.  This was a great exhibit!!  Full of excellent educational tie-ins, and the kids didn’t even know they were learning stuff, they just were having a blast!!

We finally headed home, with two exhausted kids, and tired adults, and a determination to go back, since we hadn’t even scratched the surface of this wonderful museum…(we didn’t even get near the Hope Diamond!!)

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