**Fair warning: post is photo-heavy**
Well, I didn't mean to take so long to get my DC pictures posted. But, you know how it is getting back into the swing of things after a vacation AND the holidays. Not that we're anywhere near back to normal... I feel like I'm never going to get my to-do list completely checked off. Ahhh... such is life. My photos from the trip didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. That would have been my fault though. Of course, I remember to lug along the big SLR and (fortunately) my small point and shoot. But, do you think I remembered to actually pull the memory card for the SLR out of the card reader? Of course not. Big fancy camera in DC... essential memory card at home. Of course. So, I was limited to my little point and shoot for documenting purposes. Okay, okay. Enough excuses. On with it!
First off, was the zoo. Where Hazel spent quite a deal of time observing her favorite animal, the hippopotamus...
If you were hanging around these parts last Christmas, you will remember Hazel's complete infatuation with the song, "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas." She knew every word... still does. She even climbed up on to Santa's lap and asked him to bring HER a hippopotamus for Christmas. Santa looked totally caught off-guard. Nonetheless, he managed to swing an adorable little stuffed hippo down the chimney just for her. She still snuggles up to it every night, and she still LOVES hippos.
Daddy found his favorite animal, or reptile, as it were in the reptile and amphibian house.
I was impressed by the vast collection of reptiles. Although, nothing rivaled the aviary. Seriously. I've never seen so many beautiful birds. And, there were so many varieties that I had never even heard of before. This one was my favorite...
Unfortunately, I don't remember what it is called. I do, however, remember this fellow... the stork. And, let me tell you, I had no idea storks were so unbearably ugly. It looks like a giant spindly-legged vulture. Whoever thought this would be the fabled figure of choice to deliver babies is beyond me. Any baby that took one look at this thing would have screamed its fool head off.
All in all, the zoo was amazing. We went back a 2nd day just to be able to see everything. And the best part? It was free admission. The Smithsonian was free too! I've paid a small fortune just to get everyone ADMITTED into the Fort Worth Zoo. And, that place paled in comparison.
Anyway, after we took in the zoo, we moved on to the Smithsonian's Natural Science Museum. This place housed Luka's favorite part of the whole trip...
He totally loves dinosaurs, and the time he spent staring, mouth gaped open, up at them was about the only time he sat patiently and quietly in his stroller. Coincidentally, this museum housed my favorite part of the whole trip: an exhibit on The Steamer Albatross. It was an oceanographic research ship in the late 1800's. The ship discovered many new types of marine life, and had artists on board to assist in illustrating the finds. Part of the exhibit included research logs full of these beautiful illustrations. Unfortunately, the lighting was pretty crummy so you have no idea how incredibly detailed and gorgeous these illustrations were. But, you get the gist...
I must have spent 10 minutes just examining the sea slug illustration. What I wouldn't give to be able to thumb through that whole book!
Amazingly, we pretty much managed to make our way through this entire museum. Trying to get in to see the Hope Diamond took a bit of elbow jostling, but I saw it. Unfortunately, the picture I took didn't turn out because someone's flash on the other side of the display case went off right when my shutter did. Boo.
We took the obligatory shots of the capital and Washington monument on our way home...
The next day, we spent at The American History Museum. This museum wasn't so accommodating when it came to being able to see everything. From the outside, it looked so much smaller than the Natural History Museum. Apparently, that was some sort of optical illusion because I can easily imagine spending 3 days at that place. We got to see Old Glory... no photos allowed. That was quite a touching exhibit... especially to Bryan who spends every day of his life defending that flag. It was breathtaking.
Hazel got to see the highlight of her whole trip at this museum too... the famed ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
It's so surreal to think that those glittery kicks once adorned the feet of Judy Garland!
As far as tourist activities, that is all we managed to accomplish this time around. But, we hope to go back soon. We did take in a fun little trip to The House of Bounce. Why don't we have one of these in Fayetteville? With all of the kids around here, it would be an instant hit! Hazel sure enjoyed it!
Luka needed some help getting up onto the slides, but enjoyed every minute of it. What a work out for Mommy and Daddy! Who needs Tae Bo when you've got bounce houses?
Other things we did while in DC:
* Had an EXCELLENT meal out to ourselves... just Bryan and I. That was the first NYE we've had out since we've been together! Amazing, huh?
* Read a book. A whole book. Not a magazine. Not a children's book. No pictures. Just words. I loved every minute of it. I couldn't tell you how long it has been since I've enjoyed a good book... even if it was chick lit.
* Road the Metro (DC's subway) without getting lost!
* Walked more than I had in ages. My feet were killing me at the end of the trip.
Well, if you made it through this uber-long post, kudos to you. And thanks! I'll be back tomorrow with January's 12 Months of Christmas project. ;0)