City of Magnificent Intentions, Part Two

April 19, 2017

After getting ready for going back to the National Mall area, we called in a Lyft.  Traffic was light going in today.  Our driver dropped us off at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and we walked to the Natural History Museum.  We spent several hours there, fighting throngs of people to see all it had to offer.  Since we didn’t have breakfast yet, we stopped at the cafe first for some food (a mediocre salad, fruit cup, small sandwich, and bottle of water set us back over $30, but we consider that the cost of admission since the museum entry is free).

We started in Human Origins and moved through the Mammals section…

worked our way through the Ocean Hall and made a stop in African Voices (which concludes all of the exhibits on the first floor)…

We ascended to the second floor and started at special gallery of the best nature photography entries for the 21st Annual Nature’s Best Photography Awards.  Each photo was better than the last, but we could only a include a few here (Credits for each photo in captions).  For the full list, check out https://naturalhistory.si.edu/exhibits/natures-best-2016/photographs.cfm.

wound our way through geology, gems, and jewelry (with a special appearance by the Hope Diamond)…

crossed over in to exhibits on bones, Egyptian mummies, then dinosaurs…

then we doubled back to insect and miscellaneous exhibits.

That took about 4 to 5 hours to complete properly.  On evaluation, the Natural History Museum wasn’t as spectactular as we would have liked.  In the Smithsonian’s defense, Maggie and I have been to many museums and have seen alot of exhibits already.  Therefore, it’s harder to be impressed by any museum unless they have something we hadn’t seen before.  For those who don’t go to museums often, then there is more to be impressed by.  We particularly liked the gem and jewelry section (very impressive collection) and by some of the mammal and bone exhibits.  Everything else, we have already seen at another museum.

Since there was still an hour left before the museums closed, we walked next door to American History Museum.  Maggie was tired, so she stayed outside to sit down.  I went inside and covered 90% of the exhibits in about 45 minutes.  Granted, I didn’t get to read anything posted.  I took as many pictures as I could.  As far as I could tell, the whole museum was a history of consumerism and war (story of America, eh?).  There are exhibits on Numistatics (Money), the History of Innovation in America, the Star-Spangled Banner, American Presidents, First Ladies, Advertising, and War.  I got shooed away from the final exhibit (on the history of war) because the museum was closing in 5 minutes.

Since that was all of the museums we could take in on this trip, we were hungry for something up in Chinatown.  We found a pedi-cab to take us up there (a bit pricey at $25 for a one-way trip, but worth the experience).  He biked us up there, winding through D.C. traffic (felt very dangerous, but it looked like he knew what he was doing) while keeping up conversation with us.  He dropped us off at the entrance to Chinatown.  We took some pictures and settled on eating at Nando’s (a South African chain with Pourtugese influences).  The food was great and the prices were just right too.  Very tender and flavorful chicken, good sides, and even better pita wraps).  After dinner, we got a Lyft home and prepared to depart tomorrow.

What we wish we could do: Personally, I wish I could see a few more museums.  That’s about it though.  Nothing else here interests us.

What we will do tomorrow: Drive to Philadelphia to see the Mütter Museum.

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