It was only one month before this trip we jumped into the Alias TV series. That show is all about spies, CIA, and bad guys. To say the least, we feel like we know spy work up and down, backwards and forwards because of our dedication to this show. As it turns out, there is an International Spy Museum in Washington DC. We had never before visited the Spy Museum, but now that we had this new obsession with Alias, and all things spy related, we knew we had to do it. We were not allowed to take pictures inside due to Top Secret stuff on display throughout. The very end of the museum experience is a video presentation about real life international spies - all bad guys - that have been caught and found guilty of so many crimes. We were wholly entertained and enlightened about the world of spies. This museum was a fun experience for all ages (just maybe not for those younger kids).
On this day of our trip we saw many people on the metro and groups of people walking the streets of DC wearing matching t-shirts and carrying flags. We came to find out that there was a Tea Party rally happening today at the Capitol. After the Spy Museum we made our way to the National Mall and found this great crowd of protesters out in front of the Capitol. It was a peaceful gathering that lasted the entire day. Special guest speakers and musicians took the stage this day to protest big government and support lower taxes, less government and more freedom!
We had planned to visit a few National Smithsonian Museums on this day. (The Capitol, Smithsonians, and Spy Museum are all within walking distance of each other.) The U.S. Botanic Garden, established by Congress in 1820, is a living plant museum located on the National Mall across from the U.S. Capitol. Neither of us had ever been there and wanted to walk through for a quick tour. We saw a few fun plants, real bananas growing on a tree, and a Venus Fly Trap.
We visited two different art museums today. The first was the American Art Museum which had been advertised all over the city with banners of Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas showing their Norman Rockwell collections. The name of their exhibit was called "Telling Stories". "Lucas and Spielberg recognized a kindred spirit in Rockwell and formed significant collections of his work. Rockwell’s paintings and the films of Lucas and Spielberg evoke love of country, small town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, acts of imagination and life’s ironies." (No pictures were allowed at this exhibit.) It was fascinating to see the vastness of their combined collections and enjoy them.
The second art museum we visited was the National Gallery of Art. We specifically located the Impressionist Era paintings so Jeremy could see some Monets for the first time! Look at these lovely works of art. They are original paintings!
Monet . . . . . . . . . . & . . . . . . . . . . . .Picasso
In the evening, we made our way over to the Natural History Museum. We got there at the end of visiting hours and had time to see one thing, a 40 foot squid! This picture is of a real life - dead/preserved squid. Ew!
We were allowed to stay in the building longer than the other guests because we had tickets to see the IMAX movie The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest.
Outside the theater was a statue that inspired the character from the Night at the Museum movies. "Dum dum, you give me gum gum."
Ben's Chili Bowl was our destination of choice for dinner tonight. Ben's is famous for it's chili and having been visited by many different celebrities; namely, Bill Cosby and Barack Obama. We went to experience the food and the atmosphere. And boy did we get both! We ordered so much food: A chili hot link, a chili burger, and chili cheese fries!
Thank heavens for those late night food joints. We had a hard time adjusting to East Coast Time and wound up eating dinner at 9 and 10 every night! Dinner left us stuffed and overly full. We rolled ourselves back to hotel to soak in the hotel hot tub to rest and rejuvenate our weary legs for the next day's adventures.