Appalachian Vacation - Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (Washington, DC)

October 20, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

As part of our epic, first-time-ever, two-week-vacation this summer, we spent about a week with my brother in northern Virginia. One of our objectives was to see the nation's capital. I'd been there for my senior trip in high school, but that was many moons ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. My wife and son, however, had never been to DC. So we drove in to Vienna where we picked up the metro for the ride into Washington, DC.

Taking the metro into town is THE way to get around. So much easier than trying to drive yourself. You can get off at any one of dozens of stops, and for about $15 per person, you can get a day pass that'll allow you to ride anywhere you want to go all day long. We got off at the Smithsonian stop, which is right on the National Mall, and it was very convenient to everything we wanted to see. Make sure you bring good, comfortable shoes, because you'll be walking a lot. We walked about seven miles around the National Mall on the day we were there.

First stop: the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The Smithsonian maintains several museums on the National Mall. We visited the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History. That killed the first half of the day, and we could've easily spent a whole day. But if you've never seen them, they're easily worth a half a day. Most of the museums on the National Mall are free to get into, by the way, so other than the metro fare and money for food (and water if it's a hot day), you can spend the day there for very little money.

Nearly every place on the National Mall is camera friendly. The only exception is the National Archives, in which no photography is allowed. You can take your camera in with you when you go, but you cannot take photographs. This is a rotten policy, designed, I'm told, to prevent the use of flash, but it is what it is. So take your camera as there's lots to photograph. As you enter, you'll see the elephant and the rotunda which I photographed from the second floor and showed you at the top of the post. Photographically, I was looking for interesting light, details, and architecture. In addition to the butterfly above, which really was that blue, here are some of my other favorites:

This next image is one of my favorites. It's actually pahoehoe lava from the Kilauea Volcano, which erupted in Hawaii in 1995 (and is actually still erupting today). I like the texture and the lines.

If you're into natural history, and even if you're not, you should visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It really is the history of our planet. Go. Learn things. It'll make you a better person. Oh, and make sure and take your camera. ;-)

More to come . . . .


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