Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vacation 2010: DC - Museum of American Indian, Air & Space Museum, Natural History, Hard Rock Café.

Our visit to the Holocaust Museum left us deep in thought, so we used the long walk down the mall to decompress. Near the east end of the mall, we found the Museum of the American Indian.
Some friends had recommended the cafeteria in this museum, so we gave it a shot. Truly, the food was remarkable, especially considering it's a museum cafeteria! The cafe, called Mitsitam, is known for its native foods, which are truly gourmet.

From there we proceeded to visit a few other Smithsonian museums. I was especially excited to see the Air and Space.

Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis

Apollo 11 capsule

Hubble telescope

Lunar module

The Wright Flyer

Canvas from the original flyer

The original propeller

The Wright airplane is in a special room with a tribute to Orville and Wilbur. Interesting stuff! Did you know the brothers first worked as printers and bicycle repairmen?

We were sad that Amelia Earhart's plane (as featured in Night at the Museum 2) was part of an exhibit that's being renovated.

We were glad to see the Spirit of St. Louis, though. We never realized that Ryan's name is on the tail!

I remember hearing about the Gossamer Condor, known for its long, human-powered flight.

Katie spent most of her time in the discovery area. She learned all about the principles of flight.

After our visit we made the requisite trip through the gift shop. There I insisted on buying "astronaut ice cream," the freeze-dried dessert. My parents had bought me some when we were there years ago, so I wanted Ryan and Katie to have the same experience. So what'd they think?

Meh. At least we gave it a shot! We tried the ice cream sandwiches and neapolitan bars, and they were, um, there. But I kinda liked the freeze-dried strawberries. Not bad at all!

As we crossed the mall to head toward another museum, a nice lady volunteered to take our picture in front of the Capitol.

Then we were headed to the Museum of Natural History again. We gave the kids the option to go back there or to the American history museum, but this one won!

This really is the prototypical museum with the large displays and dinosaurs.

I made sure to find the gems section so I could see the Hope diamond.

I also enjoyed the oceans section,

mostly because of the whale in there!

I spent a lot of my time with the skeletons of all kinds of creatures, from mice to whales.

It was fun to see some familiar faces from the movies, too.

So our very long day of touring DC's famous monument and museums drew to a close. Since we wrapped up our museum visit around 7, we had time to go back to the hotel to freshen up before walking a few blocks to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. And wouldn't you know it, we once again found ourselves gazing at another priceless artifact:

Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket!

Now isn't that the perfect way to end our thrilling and thought-provoking day?

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