Chinatown Gate

Great place for dinner!

3 August 2011

We took the Metro into DC today and spent time in two of the Smithsonian Museums — The Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.

Loved seeing the dinosaur exhibits and the many animals in Mammals Hall at the Natural History Museum, as well as some of the gems and minerals, including the beautiful Hope Diamond. (Their Egyptian Mummies exhibit was tiny and disappointing.) Funny thing at the Mammals Store was that you can purchase small books/journals that have covers made with paper created from elephant or panda poo. They have an interesting natural-fiber look and you wouldn't guess what they're made from just by holding one. See — you can recycle nearly anything! :-)

At the Museum of American History, the first exhibit we viewed was "The Star Spangled Banner." We saw what remains of the flag that was flying over Fort McHenry in 1814 which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the words to our national anthem. Then, as we exited into Flag Hall, we encountered a large group of people holding a replica of that flag and they all began to sing The Star Spangled Banner. It was a very moving experience. Afterward, those around the flag were instructed in how to fold it. (Its a HUGE flag and can't be folded in the same manner that's typically used.)

We also saw the exhibit of the first ladies' inaugural gowns, including Michelle Obama's. This fall they're closing this exhibit and opening a new one about First Ladies, so I'm glad we got to see this one. Then, we went downstairs and saw Julia Child's kitchen; some cool robotic vehicles (that actually steer themselves) at the Science in American Life exhibit; and, some fabulous pop-up books at the Dibner Library. (I've always been fascinated with pop-up books! Every time I see one, I want to look closer to see how its engineered and then, make one myself.)

The National Boy Scout Memorial is just around the corner from the Museum of American History, so we walked over and took some pictures there. Its very near The White House and, while we were there, a helicopter flew in, landed on The White House lawn and, a little while later, flew out again. (We could only speculate about who might have been coming or going. Today is President Obama's 50th birthday.)

Afterward, we hopped on the nearest Metro and rode to Chinatown for a delicious meal at Tony Cheng's Mongolian Barbeque. Yum!! Then, we browsed in a little gift shop and headed back to the Metro for our ride back to Dunn-Loring Station to pick up our car. Tired, but happy, after a long day in our nation's capitol, we sang songs and played with Abby on the way home!

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