Scott, Ryan and I spent last weekend in Washington, D.C.
Any guilt I felt about leaving our three year old with his grandparents melted away with our first walk around the White House. No naps, no stroller…just lots of patriotic sightseeing.
First, What Makes Me The Wisest Lady in the Land
One word. Scooter.
Having his own wheels gave Ryan lots of playtime and independence between monuments, museums and meals. It saved us from piggyback rides and whining about tired feet (I complained just a little bit).
What We Did
Once in D.C., we relied entirely on The Washington Post’s Explore DC app for directions, museum hours, event listings, and restaurant listings.
Monuments: White House, The Mall, The Sculpture Garden, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial. The scooter made it all possible.
My sister Kim tipped me off to bring cash to DC, if only for the photo opportunities. Even better, Kim and her husband overlapped on our weekend in DC and Dean even had a $100 bill ready for Ryan when we happened upon a statue of Benjamin Franklin.
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum: Fantastic and endlessly gigantic. Lots to look at and much to make me aware that I am NOT a rocket scientist. I don’t think I answered a single question Ryan asked. The Hubble 3-D IMAX, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, was visually stunning and raised more questions than answers…starting with how could we give up our space program?
Bureau of Printing and Engraving (“The Money Factory”): Made possibly only by my husband waiting on line for tour tickets for over an hour one chilly morning. Simply cool to watch money being printed in sheets, view stacks of hundreds of thousands of bills and explain corny signs like “Free samples: Tomorrow Only.”
National Museum of Natural History: Built in 1910, the halls and exhibits look unbelievably modern and fresh and we could have spent a full day here. Highlights included The Live Butterfly Pavilion, Sant Ocean Hall (especially replica of 45 foot whale), Nature’s Best Photography Exhibit, the Hope Diamond and the Dinosaurs.
National Building Museum: A welcome respite from the crowds on The Mall, the Great Hall of the National Building Museum has hosted inaugural balls and DC society events since 1885. My pick for serious hands-on playful learning.
You can see how challenging it is to build an arch.
You can borrow Tool Kits for $5 and explore building themes like housing, patterns and our choice, construction.
There’s a play area for kids under six, and a “Play. Work. Build” zone for all ages, with real and virtual blocks for building and knocking down.
Apparently, the Great Hall is also an excellent place to nap, according to Mr. & Mrs. Love U Madly.
What We Ate:
Acqua Al Due: Sweet to bring our son to the DC cousin of the restaurant Scott and I enjoyed when we studied abroad in Florence, Italy.
Native Food Cafe at the National American Indian Museum: Kids may gravitate towards the cheese-filled fry bread and corn bread, but I fell for the vegetarian side dishes like this wild rice salad I’m making today.
Lebenese Taverna: The Woodley Park location (near the Zoo) is a perfect spot for families to try some new cuisine amid comforts like hummus and pita.
Teaism: This “collection” of teahouses and restaurants offer quick, fresh meals and snacks with Asian influence. Don’t tell Ryan the crispies atop his Soba noodle bowl were fried Shiitake mushrooms.
What We Missed/Are Saving for Next Time:
Newseum, International Spy Museum, National Museum of American History, Eastern Market, the Old Post Office Tower, the National Postal Museum. The banana fluffernutter at Founding Farmer. Oh, and those stubborn Cherry Blossoms which are probably blooming this weekend.
For the (Not-So) Clueless Guide to Washington, D.C, visit Love U Madly today.