Museums, Memorials, and Monuments aka Our Visit to Washington D.C.

(this blog post could alternately be called “the longest blog post ever and the one that broke all of the blogging rules”  Consider yourself warned)


As I mentioned in my “tips” blog post about DC, there are plenty of museums to explore in that area.  We visited a few of them along with some monuments and memorials. Once again, we did that in one day.  It was tiring, but looking back at the amazing things we saw that day, I am blown away.


We started the day at the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln is huge.  The statue presents such respect and strength.  There is a sign reminding the visitors to be quiet, but it almost isn’t necessary.  You can’t be there without quietly observing the marvel of the statue.

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We took a moment to eat a quick snack in from of the memorial.  The view was amazing.


I wanted to shout out “Jen-nay,” but I refrained.


We left the Lincoln Memorial and headed toward the war memorials.  It was an emotional walk.  Not only has Brian been to war, but my brother, my Papaw, and my great uncle have also served.

First we saw the Korean War Memorial.


We found my great uncle on the data base of soldiers who died in the Korean war.  It was a neat experience.  You can see his name here, it was L.D. Van Winkle.



Afterwards we headed to the Vietnam War memorial.  We tried to best explain what exactly the wall represented, but it was difficult.  A gentleman came over to us and told us his story.  He went to Vietnam and lost his close friend.  He showed us his picture and where his name was located.  Words can’t explain what that moment felt like.


We walked along the Constitution Garden and headed toward the WW II Memorial Park.



In case you were wondering why we were all bundled up, let me tell you.  Do you see that duck in this next photo?  He’s walking on water.  Frozen water.  Yes, it was that cold.



It was a bit of a walk, but we made it to the WWII Memorial.  The fountains were beautiful, especially with the sun shining on the water.

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Next, we walked up to the Washington Monument.  Over the 3 days we were in the area we saw it from a distance, but I wanted to go up to it and touch it.

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I told the kids that they needed to touch it as well.  Not everyone was as thrilled as I was.  Hopefully one day they will look back on these photos and realize how cool it was.  One day.

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At this point it was lunch time.  We had walked almost 10,000 steps by this point, and it wasn’t even lunch time!!!  The kids were starting to get tired, but we bribed convinced them to keep going.  We had a few museums to check out…

The National Museum of American History was first on our list that afternoon.  After visiting Fort McHenry the previous day, we wanted to see the original flag that hung when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.  It lays protected in this museum.

This was another exhibit we found kind of interesting.  During the Great Depression, families moved into travel trailers in order to live more affordably.  It was interesting to read about the “trailerites.”

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Then we found these relics.  I mean really, what are these items?




It was getting late and we still had more to see, so we left this museum and headed to the National Gallery of Art.  We arrived just an hour before closing time.  The museum was gorgeous and I was not sure where to start or what to see.  I went directly to the docent and asked her what we should see in the time we had.  She handed me a map and gave me a great list of pieces of art to see.

We started with Little Dancer, by Degas then we made our way around the impressionist rooms.


The kids came across a few familiar pieces, like this one – Breton Girls Dancing, by Paul Gauguin.  The kids have all done a study on this painting at some point in their schooling.  It was really neat to see it in person!


We walked around from room to room exploring each famous piece of art.  It was AMAZING to see them in person!  In front of me were paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Paul Cezanne, just to name a few.

They were all up close.  You could actually see the piles of paint on the pictures.

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We, obviously, had to take a photo of these two!  Can you name the artist and painting?



I think the most amazing thing in this museum was this piece.  It is the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the USA that is publicly viewable.  It’s name is Ginevra de benci.  It is stunning.  The kids stood in awe staring at it.


The kids waited patiently as we gathered our backpacks from the security baskets. They were all exhausted after a long day of walking.



We still had several more steps to walk, however.  We still had to walk to the Metro station.

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These two loved checking out the map to help us route out our trip.

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This was our stop.  Every night we exited the station and walked another couple thousand steps to our van.



At first I found Washington DC overwhelming.  It was almost too much.  After breaking it down and picking out a few things to see it was manageable and enjoyable.  And tiring.
I am glad we visited though, and I do hope to make it back so we can explore more of the area.  One day, when the kids are older and can better understand the significance, I want to visit the White House, the Capitol, and many other museums.

Updated: November 22, 2014 — 11:53 pm
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