In Washington, D.C., we made sure to visit the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. It is humongous museum packed full of exhibits. We knew it would be a huge hit for two reasons – minerals and gems and the live butterfly exhibit. Miss J – age 9 – and Miss L – age 12 – we excited for those reasons. We went to the Natural History Museum while At Home Dad and Miss E visited the Holocaust Museum.
The Natural History Museum has so many amazing parts to it to visit. A large elephant greets you as you enter the museum. From there, you really have to choose what to see. We went straight to the butterfly exhibit. It was an additional cost but well worth the price. We spent over an hour just watching the different butterflies. We learned the names of several and just watched them fly, land, eat, rest, and whatever else it is that butterflies do. Miss L is still very fascinated by butterflies so she was elated the entire time we were there. Her highlight was when a butterfly finally landed on her and rested there. Because photos were allowed, I gave her the camera and let her take as many pictures as she wanted. She loved that!
The blue morpho butterflies were just stunning. As beautiful as they were, though, I liked many of the smaller ones more. I particularly enjoy watching yellow butterflies. There were helpful attendants throughout the exhibit and they were pleased to answer any questions that they were asked.
While we were enjoying the butterflies, my sister-in-law was enjoying the medical exhibit that talked about epidemics. Totally not something I am interested in but right up her alley. So, we did the flying things and she did the germs. 🙂
We met up after that and visited the gems and minerals exhibit. The gems were stunning and I truly enjoyed their beauty. Miss J, surprisingly, got really bored, even looking at the Hope Diamond and crown jewels! When we got to the end of that exhibit and stepped into the minerals? She came to life. She absolutely was thrilled to spend time in the gigantic mineral exhibit. She enjoyed the hands-on part where a computer went through the different crystal structures, pointing out many of the minerals that are created by that. It was a wonderful way for her to learn more about what was fascinating to her. She would look around her and try to identify some of the minerals that were using what the computer was showing her.
We spent a very long time in the minerals, probably another hour. Then we got some lunch. It isn’t cheap to eat in the museums. However, the convenience can’t be beat and the food carts and such outside were not any cheaper
We spent the afternoon looking at many different animal exhibits. There was one that showed a whole lot of animals from different countries and their habitats. The taxidermy was interesting and the girls found some of the animals interesting. Of course, Miss J loved the giraffes. I thought the tigers were neat. From these very large creatures to some very small ones like owls, there were lots of animals to look at.
There was a dinosaur section but it isn’t fascinating for the girls so we did not spend much time there. The insect section behind the butterflies was short-lived for us. There were too many creepy-crawlies for us.
We visited the ocean exhibit that showed many of the creatures found in the oceans and described the different parts of the ocean. (It ended up being a great precursor to the Marine Biology class that Miss L is taking now.) There were some really unique animals they had exhibited from the different depths of the ocean.
There was so much more that we could have looked at. We could easily have spent a few more hours due to the amount of material there. However, we were museumed out for the day so we called it quits at this point.