Our love for travel and history inspired our trip to Washington D.C. Hannah found the perfect Airbnb for our 4 day stay in the Nation’s capital. The District of Columbia is full of history and has plenty of museums and other tourist attractions we were excited to see. Washington D.C also boasts the largest library in the country, the Library of Congress, which i was specifically excited to check out. This was our first trip to the U.S and we couldn’t wait to explore.
We made the drive from Albany to Washington D.C for our extended weekend trip. The ride went pretty smooth. Traveling with two boys requires making more stops than I’d like, but either way the trip took about 6 hours. We stayed in PG County (Prince George County) about a 25 minute drive from the U.S Capitol.
On our list of things to see was the zoo, the Smithsonian Museum, the Library of Congress, the U.S Capitol, and the Federal Reserve/U.S Mint. We had a lot of activities to try to squeeze into a limited amount of time.
We arrived around noon. We stopped to retrieve the key-code for our airbnb, dropped our things off and headed in to town to grab some food. Hannah found a groupon for an Ethiopian restaurant that turned out to be pretty dope. Our meal was amazing, and it included a traditional coffee ceremony.
This was a family owned restaurant and we had the pleasure of having a great conversation with the owners. We contemplated taking a night stroll downtown but it had been a long day so we decided it would be best to go grab a few things from the supermarket and settle in for the night.
March Madness was still in full swing so we relaxed caught the final four games and got some rest. We knew we would have to get after it bright and early the following day.
Night at the Museum was one of the LaPharaoh’s favorite movies so our first stop was the Smithsonian Museum. All the museums in D.C are free but street parking was essentially nonexistent. Our best bet was to find a parking garage, park for the day and walk it out. The museum was awesome, the moment LaPharaoh saw the Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit his little eyes lit up and he just kept repeating over and over “LaPharaoh’s so special, LaPharaoh’s so special”. It was a proud parent moment for Hannah and I.
It was relatively early but the museum was packed, people were everywhere. With all the people, maneuvering the stroller was challenging but we bring the boys everywhere so my stroller game is A-ONE. I guess this was to be expected I mean this was one of the most popular museums in all of D.C. No worries though, with LaPharaoh on my neck and Amoor in the stroller we perused the museum and took it all in. One of the featured exhibits was on precious gems. It really is amazing how the earth just grows these crystals and they’re mined and used for technology, trade, and commerce. The Earth is a fascinating place.
We continued on to see an Ancient Egyptian exhibit. LaPharaoh and Amoor got a chance to see some of the history of their foremothers and forefathers. After spending most of the morning at the Smithsonian we made our exit and found a nearby cafe to grab some lunch.
After filling our bellies we grabbed the car and took the boys to the D.C Zoo. The boys love learning about different animals and seeing them up close. We have always enjoyed zoo hopping in the respective cities we visit.
The D.C Zoo was an above average zoo, some of our favorite exhibits were the big cats and the otters. It was springtime in D.C and we lucked up because there was a Golden Easter Egg Hunt being put on at the zoo by a local charity. The boys got a real kick out of that.
We spent most of what was left of the day at the zoo and headed home to relax for the rest of the night. We had a full day planned starting early in the morning.
We woke up early the next morning made some breakfast and headed to downtown D.C. On our agenda today was the U.S Mint and the Science and Space Museum. We read online that at 8am daily you can wait in line to get free tickets for entry into the U.S Mint ( The Bureau of Engraving and Printing). There was a catch though, the tickets were limited so when they’re out, they’re out! We found out the hard way about the horrible D.C traffic, it was horrendous. To add insult to injury I took a decent parking opportunity for granted hoping to get closer and got completely turned around. I guess the phrase “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush” applies here. There was bumper to bumper traffic and our GPS was acting possessed. It took us literally 45 minutes to get back around. By the time we got back around all the tickets had been given out. I can’t front we were a little bummed. I guess we weren’t meant to see how they create money on a federal level, maybe next time.
Can’t cry over spilled milk, on to the Science and Space Museum. Anyone that knows Our Trippy Tribe knows we place a great deal of emphasis on the one-two punch of space and science in our home.
It was cool to show the boys some examples of how science and our knowledge of space has progressed over time. Science has made some giant leaps in these modern times but has a great deal to go to reach our ancestral level of understanding of the universe and the world around us. The boys are pretty young so who knows what they’ll actually retain, but either way we think museums are a great tool to use to put some of the worlds history in its proper context. Onward and Upward!
The Library of Congress was one of the places I was particularly excited to check out while in D.C. Security getting inside the Library of Congress was like going through customs at the airport, it was crazy. Shoes, hats, wallets, jewelry everything had to come off and you had to clear the metal detector screening. Once we got through the security checkpoint we had to sign up for a library card. They wanted everything but a blood sample to get a library card to browse the historical records there. It was kinda wild. Once we had our library cards I was interested in obtaining some documents for our records but in the interest of Hannah’s sanity (she had both the boys while I roamed) I concluded my search and we left to go check out the U.S Capitol. I must’ve really underestimated how big this place was. Every patent, book, album, publication, legislation, treaty, etc is archived at the Library of Congress. The library despite the name actually consisted of three huge buildings, (Jefferson, Adams, Madison) It felt like you could spend years here and barely make any ground. Well…there’s always their online catalog, i guess :-/
D.C.’s architecture is mind boggling. From the massive monuments, museums and federal buildings, to the Greek, roman, and Egyptian statues, D.C. is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before. I can only begin to imagine the amount of time, resources and manpower that went into putting all this together.
It was a beautiful spring day, tourists flooded the streets, conversations filled the air and pictures snapped all around us. Many of the popular sites had lines for entry. Next on our list was The Capitol Building.
The U.S Capitol is probably one of the biggest attractions in all of D.C. It doubled as a museum and the location where Congress convened. It was gigantic! We had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get into the building. Once we were on the inside we had to buy tickets for our guided tour. There were many different tours available for purchase each ranged in length of time. We went with the general tour which ran about 1.5 hours.
We stood in line (yup.. AGAIN) and waited for our tour guide. Once our guide arrived we were escorted to an auditorium where we watched a short video about the U.S capitol. The official tour began after the video ended. Our guide showed us the different presidential exhibits, the newly crafted MLK statue, and the amazing structural designs inside the building. There was major construction of the roof underway so we weren’t able to get all the pictures we would have liked but it was still really cool to see. The layout of D.C was so precise that the exact center of the entire District of Columbia converged on a specifically marked point inside the U.S Capitol. How cool is that? Talk about geometry!
We were having a great time learning about the nation’s capital. Our tour guide took us into a Brumidi Corridors where there was a huge mural of the zodiac painted on the ceiling. Our tour was coming to an end and it was perfect timing because the boys were beginning to get a little antsy. Just when we thought it was over the guide walked over to us and felt moved enough to give us free passes to go see the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to spending another 45 minutes there but this was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. This congressional tour was the most popular tour of all at the U.S Capitol and we were able to check it out on the house (no pun intended). I must admit it was pretty cool to see where congress assembles to discuss legislation or lack thereof (meh). After our tour of Congress we’d had enough of The U.S. Capitol for the day and we made our exit. We found a nice Italian restaurant downtown D.C and then made our way home. For our last night in D.C we just played it close to our house, watched the Men’s Basketball Championship (Duke vs Wisconsin) and called it a night. It’s been real D.C, we will definitely be back again…until then, Peace!