Weekend trips - Washington DC museum trip

The last two weekends were spent travelling and the weeks spent being busy cleaning up after the trip while preparing for the next one :)

The first trip to Washington DC was pretty much an impromptu one. We had been thinking about Washington for a while, mainly for the cherry blossoms and to show the daughter the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. On the first Friday of April, we decide in the afternoon to leave in about 3 hours. I scramble to pack up, have lunch and we book the hotel right before heading out the door. First, we need to get the rental car from the airport. We load our car and head to the airport. There is a long queue and then the car that we get isn't great so we change it. All our stuff is transferred to the rental car. Our car is parked at the airport parking and we leave the airport at 6 in the evening; 2 hours later than we thought we would. It is a 7 hour drive. With a quick stop to pick up Subway sandwiches for dinner and to fuel up, we reach the hotel a little after 1 in the night.

We were ready to start our day the next morning at 10 when we left the hotel after breakfast. After getting lost on the way, we reached the East Potomac Park an hour and half later. The entire parking was full and we had to circle around waiting for someone to leave so we could park in their spot. We were finally walking towards Smithsonian Museums by 12. We stopped a lot on the way to see the Spring colors which show themselves so beautifully in DC. The cherry blossoms were not out in full bloom yet but the trees all covered in flowers were so beautiful.
We got into the Natural History Museum just before 1 in the afternoon.
The elephant that greets you as soon as you enter the Natural History Museum
We went straight to the dinosaur exhibit. That was one of the big reasons why we had gone to DC. The daughter is a big fan of "Dinosaur train" on TV. She can name most of the dinosaurs and understands the word 'fossil', all thanks to the show.
triceratops bones
T-rex bones
Pteranodon model
When I showed her the Pteranodon model and said hes the dad from the dinosaur train; she said "But these are not real dinosaurs". So I guess she was expecting something like a real-life Jurrasic Park :)

Time for a lunch break. We were surprised to see an Indian food stall at the museum cafeteria. The husband tried out their chole aloo which was quite ok. I loved my tomato and fresh mozzarella sandwich which also had some pesto and arugula. The kid had her favorite chicken nuggets.

After lunch we saw the animal and marine life exhibits; during which the daughter decided to give us a scare by running away in a crowded museum. We found her in the gift shop with a toy animal.
We left the museum around 5 in the evening and spent some time at the sculpture garden which was a good place to sit for a while.
3D house
It was quite cold and windy by then. The daughter fell asleep, cozily wrapped up in the stroller, on the way back to the parking. We sat for a while at the base of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial overlooking the Potomac River. This is a nice spot for people watching, river watching or for just being with yourself.
At about 6:30 in the evening, we left the parking lot. When we had lost our way in the morning, we were passing through Vienna when we saw "Amma Vegetarian Kitchen". We did a quick Google search to check if the place was good. Turned out it had good reviews so we decided its dosas for dinner. The lost wandering in the morning did not end up being a total waste of time because otherwise we would never have found this place. We stuffed ourselves with idlis and dosas. The food was not bad at all but not mind blowing either. It served to satisfy the craving for simple Indian food and the place was quite busy too.

The next morning, we checked out of the hotel at 10 in the morning after breakfast and headed back to the East Potomac Park. This time however, we did not get lost. We even found a parking spot quite easily. We were already walking towards the Museums at 11. The weather was better too; not cold or windy like yesterday.
Enjoying DC architecture
The daughter loved the Air and Space Museum as soon as she entered it. It was more open with a lot more room to move around. She immediately noticed the escalator and went up and down a few times. She had a lot of fun at the "How things fly" hands-on interactive exhibit. Pressing buttons and watching things move is what makes kids like her the happiest.
We also liked the space and early aviation exhibits. The lunch here was not that good. I had a chicken wrap from mcdonalds while the husband and daughter shared a pizza and icecream.
We left DC around 4 in the afternoon. We stopped for a nice Mexican dinner at Little Mexico in Richmond, VA. We reached home around 12:30 in the night; completely exhausted from the trip. The next day was spent just sitting around trying to get the energy back :) And then in the evening, it started. The daughter started getting sick. I got pretty nervous because this was the first time she got a stomach bug. I guess all that eating out and the junk food caused it. It took her nearly 4 days to get normal again. We had already planned for a beach trip the following weekend with a few friends, one of whom was coming in from Texas. It is a good thing she got back to normal just in time for the trip which she really enjoyed a lot. More on that in the next post.


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