Monday, July 27, 2015

Family Vacation 2015 - DC Day 3

 Rationally, as an experienced DC area resident I knew the National Mall would be insane the week of the 4th and hot.  Also, seeing one of the space shuttles up close was a definite personal life goal.  So, we began day 3 (aka museum day) at the Smithsonian's Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center out in Virginia instead.  It is a cousin to the Aerospace Museum in DC, but enormous and with a space shuttle!  It was as awesome as I'd dreamed.
 This is our crew in front of the shuttle - Brent and our three kids and Heather and her daughters (who had visited previously)
 Look how up close you get? The tiles are individually numbered and the whole experience of discussing the space shuttle and thinking about its life journey was amazing.
 Lion & E were in to the astronauts, but really, really wanted us to get back to the airplanes... and we did...
 But not until we saw the shuttle from every angle.
 Around the space shuttle were several other space type vehicles of various eras as well as the rockets that proceeded them.  (And my daughter with a penguin stuffie).
 B ended up being very interested in the rockets and missiles.   This section led to discussions about why they were developed and why most were never used, the cost, the cold war, etc... B read all the signs in this area and figured out which could go furthest, had the most strength, etc...
 We did make it out to see the planes to E's delight.
This is a mock up of an early wright brother's plane.

The planes are just in layers upon layers all through the hanger. It is phenomenal and a little overwhelming.  There are famous ones like the Enola Gay (another complicated conversation) and the Concord as well as trick planes from shows, military planes, hot air balloon baskets, fed ex planes, etc... To the right here is one of the simulators that Brent and the big kids rode in.  About this time people were tired and ready for naps.  We headed back to DC and E napped in the car.

 Brent really wanted to take the kids to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and we did.  Getting there involved a lot of driving around the mall area looking for parking and taking in the sights.  Then, there was a bit of a forced march across the National Mall, accompanied with a surprisingly small number of complaints.  We made it! And took the requisite picture with the elephant inside.
 We took a peek at the Hope Diamond and then meandered our way through the minerals and gems exhibit. It is a great place with lots of hands on and shiny things.

 I've been here dozens of times, but experiencing it with them was totally new and awesome. I wish we had had more time and that there were several thousand less people enjoying it with us.

 We also visited the ocean area, the small dino section (larger section is under construction), and a bug zoo portion.

And more of this guy.  The building itself is just gorgeous.  SO glad we made the rushed trip to see it and that our kids held up for the whirlwind adventure.

One reason we were rushing was that Heather and Evan were graciously hosting a BBQ for us back at their place for my Law School and Masters Program friends and their families.  It was a lovely chance to catch up, watch our kids play, and hear how everyone is doing.  Thanks so much to everyone who came and to Heather and Evan for being amazing hosts this day and throughout our stay!

Family notes/Favorites for Day 3

Day 3:

E- elephant, panda, lion, frogs, turtles, lot of airplanes

B- lots of pretty shiny expensive things, lots of airplanes and missiles, middle that went 700 mph, second highest 620 mph

M- making crowns, playing in a tree club

Abbey- minerals and Quartz and space shuttle, old friends

Brent - so many airplanes

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