Tag Archives: Washington DC

Tour guide Saturday

Friends from our community on Lake Winnipesaukee arrived in DC this week to help with the installation of One Million Bones on The National Mall.  One Million Bones is an art installation to bring awareness to genocide around the globe.  Bob and I arrived to see the exhibit just as they finished laying down the handcrafted bones along two city blocks starting at the base of the reflecting pool in front of the US Capitol.  Shortly after we arrived the four of us went to The National Gallery so they could cool down and eat lunch followed by a walk over to the Sachler Gallery of Asian Art and the Freer Gallery.

Back at the Air and Space Museum we picked up our car from the underground parking lot and headed out-of-town to see the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon.  Since everyone was hot, thirsty and tired of walking we headed down the parkway towards Mount Vernon and then back to Old Town Alexandria for dinner outside at La Madeline before returning them to their hotel at Dupont Circle.  We had a good time.

Mount Vernon Plantation as seen from the original entrance.

Mount Vernon Plantation as seen from the original entrance.

Sign by the original entrance to Mount Vernon

Sign by the original entrance to Mount Vernon

Paul and Roberta at the Pentagon 911 memorial

Paul and Roberta at the Pentagon 911 memorial

Pentagon 911 Memorial

Pentagon 911 Memorial

String of kites flying on one line; The National Mall, Washington DC

String of kites flying on one line; The National Mall, Washington DC

Bob, resting on a bench at The National Mall

Bob, resting on a bench at The National Mall

Resting on a bench at The National Mall

Resting on a bench at The National Mall

Bones laying out in the grass on The National Mall, Washington, DC

Bones laying out in the grass on The National Mall, Washington, DC

Bones with the US Capitol in the background

Bones with the US Capitol in the background

White bones are mostly made of clay and the brownish bones are paper mache, purchased to represent bones created too far away to ship to DC.

White bones are mostly made of clay and the brownish bones are paper mache, purchased to represent bones created too far away to ship to DC.

One million bones are laid out on The National Mall in Washington, DC

One million bones are laid out on The National Mall in Washington, DC

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Teacher movie night at the Smithsonian

My sons and I went to IMAX movie night at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum this month.  Each teacher was allowed to invite one guest and William, who teaches 4th grade, invited his brother Thomas.  I invited my husband, but he was in California judging a VEX robotics competition.  So, the three of us met at East Falls Church and took the Metro to Federal Triangle and walked over to the museum.

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Outside the Natural History Museum

Before the movie they had some of the mobile cart exhibits in the foyer.  One had some very neat ocean fossils which we were allowed to touch and explore and another had insects from the insect petting zoo

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Fossilized vertebrae of a whale

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Rows of shark teeth waiting to take the place when one falls out

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Petting a hissing cockroach

Learning about the tomato cutworm/sphinx moth

Large grasshopper

Large grasshopper

The first movie was “The Ultimate Wave Tahiti”, an exciting 3D movie filmed in Tahiti showcasing two famous surfers, Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer.  The movie skillfully embedded lots of knowledge on how and why waves form.  It would be a great film for the upper grades, especially those studying landforms or the ocean.

During an intermission we were invited into the Ocean Hall to explore the exhibits.  It was very cool to be in there after the museum has closed and we had this huge space practically to ourselves.

Looking up at the whale exhibit

Looking up at the whale exhibit

Many displays are interactive including this one with pull out drawers to show collections

Many displays are interactive including this one with pull out drawers to show collections

The next movie was my favorite and was “The Flight of the Butterflies”; also in 3D.  It felt like you could reach out and touch the butterflies as they flew about.  It highlighted the history of the Citizen Science Project and the discovery of the monarch winter hibernation grounds in Mexico through the story of Dr. Fred Urquhart who developed a monarch tagging system to discover where they migrated to each winter.

I highly recommend going to see either of these movies.  If you are a teacher, your admission is free-any time, any day, for any Smithsonian IMAX movie that is not a feature film.  Here are some places to get more information about teaching migration, ecology, biodiversity and the process of scientific discovery through the study of monarch butterflies.

Flight of the Butterflies

Maryland Science Center

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Monarch Watch

Journey North

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove

The Columbia Island Marina

The Columbia Island Marina

Pink Granite Monolith with Washington Monument

Pink Granite Monolith with Washington Monument

Bob looks up at the planes flying overhead from Regan National Airport while at the LBJ Memorial Grove

Bob looks up at the planes flying overhead from Regan National Airport while at the LBJ Memorial Grove

Scaffolding on the Washington Monument while they repair damage from the August 2012 earthquake

Scaffolding on the Washington Monument while they repair damage from the August 2012 earthquake

Across the Potomac can see the Lincoln Memorial and the new Peace Center

Across the Potomac can see the Lincoln Memorial and the new Peace Center

Lots of ligustrum hedges in the Memorial Grove.  They are in full bloom.  I really hate the smell.

Lots of ligustrum hedges in the Memorial Grove. They are in full bloom. I really hate the smell.

Map of Boundary Channel and Columbia Island

Map of Boundary Channel and Columbia Island

Airplanes fly overhead

Airplanes fly overhead

The Pentagon is on one side of the Park and the Parkway on the other

The Pentagon is on one side of the Park and the Parkway on the other

Bob on the bridge crossing Boundary Channel

Bob on the bridge crossing Boundary Channel

Sign for LBJ park

Sign for LBJ park

Last night Bob and I stopped at the Lyndon Johnson Memorial Grove.  I had been there once before to watch fourth of July fireworks launched from the grounds of the Washington Monument but that was around 1978.  Ever since then I thought I had been to Lady Byrd Johnson Park but I was wrong.  The two parks adjoin each other on the opposite side of the Potomac River between the Pentagon and the West Potomac Park which butts up against the Tidal Basin.  From LBJ Memorial Grove Park you have nice views of the monuments in DC as well as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon.  I can see why the Johnsons stopped there to look out on the city whenever they returned from Texas to Washington.  I am sure when they were living in Washington all the tall buildings beyond the Jefferson and the Lincoln memorials were not there and the view was better than it is today.  While not tall enough to totally obstruct views they certainly give it a cluttered feeling.

We parked in the lot overlooking the Pentagon and used the walking bridge across Boundary Channel to access the park.  So, in effect we parked in Virginia and walked into DC.

Smithsonian Gardens

The Smithsonian Institution maintains some lovely gardens and grounds around their museums.  Yesterday, Bob and I visited two of them; the Ripley Garden- a narrow garden with a pathway that winds between the Arts and Industry Building and the Hirschhorn Museum and the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Castle Building.   Walkers can easily cut through to the mall from Independence Avenue by walking along the pathway of the Ripley Garden.  It is narrow but filled with mostly small scaled plants, many of which were in bloom after a very cool March.  It also has benches so you can sit and rest those tired sightseer feet.

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The Haupt Garden is on the Independence Avenue side of the Smithsonian Castle building.  Even though it is on ground level it is really a rooftop garden since several different museum buildings are under the garden and have entrances among the plantings.  The Saucer Magnolias were in bloom along with one weeping cherry (I think).  The surrounding buildings and the underground warmth of this rooftop garden make this ecosystem different from the general area around DC.  This makes it possible to plant varieties that otherwise might find it too cold.

Haupt garden Smithsonian castle2 Smithsonian castle saucermagnolia5 Hauptfloweringfruit2 Hauptfloweringfruit Haupt garden2

Smithsonian Teacher Night 2012

Will and I took the Metro to The Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery last night for Teacher Night.  It was really crowded and we got a tote bag which we stuffed very full of all kinds of give aways promoting museums and activities around the DC area.  The museum was open and we saw the famous picture of Pocahantas in her English clothing which kids see in their school textbooks.

I took this picture in the museum at an exhibit on the Consititution.

We the People…

Carnivores

No, not animals in Africa but -PLANTS, right here in America.  A few plants are carnivorous, most familiar is probably the Venus Fly Trap.  Most grow in bogs and right now the US Botanical Gardens next to the US Capitol building in Washington DC is having a special exhibit of these plants.  We spent part of a beautiful summer afternoon there recently and here are a few of the pictures.

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