The drive down on Friday night was somewhat challenging, complete with the requisite bathroom emergencies. Marla booked a hotel halfway between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square. We arrived long after bedtime, and put the car into valet parking until Sunday. Then, the kids stayed up way too late. Everyone was too excited to sleep, but ended up waking up too early as well.
Saturday, we got one-day Metro passes, and went wherever we wanted. Ezra was free, and Martine enjoyed being able to use her Metro pass herself. It turns out Race for the Cure was going on that morning, but the resulting crowds didn't pose any problem. There's something going on every weekend in DC, they pretty much have everything under control.
The plan was to go to Smithsonian museums on Saturday, so we started with the Air and Space museum before lunch. Martine was interested, but too tired to pay much attention. Ezra also liked what he saw, but will probably never remember any of it. Martine enjoyed a ride on the carousel on the Mall, and then everyone else went back to the hotel for a rest/nap time while I went out to Chinatown to find lunch.
The hotel was only a block or so from the National Geographic Explorer's Hall museum type place, and they were having an exhibit with lion and leopard photography, so we went there first in the afternoon. There were some great photos, as well as the first video evidence ever of a pack of lions trying to take down an elephant. They wounded the elephant but didn't kill it.
Next was the Museum of Natural History. Martine was a lot better after her food and rest time, and enjoyed the animals and fossils quite a bit. We stayed there for several hours, and of course couldn't see everything in the time we had.
For dinner, we went to the Brickskeller, an early (ca. 1957) beer bar specializing in having as wide of a selection of good beers as possible. We chose not to stay in the Inn there because the reviews were not very good. The bar/restaurant was adequate, but I'm glad we have the Sharp Edge and D's in Pittsburgh instead. On the walk back to the hotel we stopped at Tangysweet for frozen yogurt. I enjoyed the green tea flavor.
On Sunday, we settled the bill, got the car, and drove towards the zoo to find breakfast. It turns out we parked for free halfway between the zoo and the nearest metro stop, so we just left the car there and went to the zoo. We had a long, good day at the zoo, and the kids were satisfied enough that we had a good drive home as well.
Judging the weekend as a dry run for a longer car trip, I think it was a success. We have some ideas on how to make the trip to New Hampshire more manageable, and the kids have a bit of practice sitting still for too long.
As a weekend out with the family, it was basically fine, but I think we'd get more out of the experience if the kids were older. There's far too much to do in a weekend, so it feels like no matter what we picked, there might have been something else better to do instead. But it's folly to compare our actual experience with what might have happened if we chose to do something else. Instead, we'll come back again some day.
Some things I'd like to do but didn't:
- Take a pedicab ride
- Ride my own bike in DC; or preferrably, from Pittsburgh to DC on the Great Allegheny Passage trail
- Go to a brew pub
- Visit the International Spy Museum
- Go to Cirque du Cyclisme in Leesburg, VA; this was going on the same weekend we were there, and I missed it.
- Visit the National Cathedral