Friday, May 23, 2014

National Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens were a very happy surprise. 
They were not on our original itinerary, I didn't even know there
were botanical gardens at the Smithsonian, but I might have to say they
were possibly my favorite place that we visited, I just love beautiful gardens!
After our lunch at the American Indian museum, we found ourselves 
with some unexpected free time, so we decided to check out the gardens.
We had passed by them many times, and I was hoping we would be able 
to find some time to fit them in!

They were more spectacular then I ever could have imagined.  If I ever live in DC,
a good portion of my time will be spent here.

Smithsonian American History Museum

This morning started out with some fun times with Thomas.  
I am a sucker for this little boy in onsieses 

Today we started out at the American History Museum, this is one of the museums I was most excited for it has so many exciting things from our Nation's history.

Something that I couldn't wait to see in this museum was Julia Child's kitchen, it is so adorable!

Thomas had the best time spinning these food wheels 
his giggles were contagious

Taking pictures was pretty difficult with the lighting in the museum so I didn't get a ton of all the cool things we saw.  I did make sure to snap a picture of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, I just thought they were so dainty and adorable!

There was a special exhibit on the Star Spangled Banner that was so fascinating to see.  Pictures weren't allowed inside so sadly I didn't get any photos of the famous flag but I was blown away by how big it is!  I was also astounded that there are big parts of the flag cut out because they were cut out and given as gifts back in the day!

After traveling though America's history, we headed over to the American Indian museum for lunch.  This museum has the best restaurant out of all the museums.  If you ever find yourself in DC, make sure you have lunch in this museum because it is outstanding.  I wish I had taken some pictures of the food, we got tamales, buffalo sliders, Navajo tacos, fry bread with cinnamon and honey, passion fruit pudding and so many other delicious and unique dishes.  It was definitely worth the trip!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

U.S Capitol Building and Memorial Tour

Day three in DC began with a tour of our nation's capitol building.  The outside architecture is amazing, and intricate and the inside is gorgeous!

We got to tour three rooms, the first room was the rotunda.   The Rotunda is used for important ceremonial events as authorized by concurrent resolution, such as the lying in state of eminent citizens and the dedication of works of art. The Rotunda canopy features the painting entitled The Apotheosis of Washington, and the walls of the Rotunda hold historic paintings and a frescoed band, or "frieze," depicting significant events in American history.

Here is a close up of the painting that is in the center of the dome, The Apotheosis of Washington

The next stop on our tour was the National Statuary Hall.  This historic space was the meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807-1857), and now serves as the main exhibition space for the National Statuary Hall collection.  The hall is built in the shape of an ancient amphitheater and is one of the earliest examples of Greek Revival architecture in America.  Each of the 50 states have contributed a statue to the collection.  Utah is represented twice, there is a statue of Brigham Young and a statue of the young Philo Farnsworth.


The last stop on the tour was the crypt.  The large circular area on the first floor of the U.S. Capitol Building is called the Crypt. The 40 doric columns of brown stone surmounted by groined sandstone arches support the floor of the rotunda  The star in the center of the floor denotes the point from which the streets in Washington are laid out and numbered. Located in the Crypt are 13 statues from the National Statuary Collection representing the 13 original colonies.

In the lobby, on our way out we passed a replica of The Statue of Freedom, the figure that stands atop of the US capitol dome.  The statue is a classical female figure with long, flowing hair wearing a helmet with a crest composed of an eagle’s head and feathers. The helmet is encircled by nine stars. She wears a classical dress secured with a brooch inscribed “U.S.” Over it is draped a heavy, flowing, toga-like robe fringed with fur and decorative balls. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword wrapped in a scarf; in her left hand she holds a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with 13 stripes. Ten bronze points tipped with platinum are attached to her headdress, shoulders, and shield for protection from lightning. She stands on a cast-iron pedestal on a globe encircled with the motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one).

After our memorable visit to the US Capitol, we boarded one of the many big red tour buses and took a spin around town.  It was the most gorgeous ride, we rode on top to be in the open air and it was pleasantly warm with a slight balmy breeze.  The sun had finally decided to come out and was casting a warm, golden glow and the clouds had disappeared to reveal a vivid blue sky

We passed by all the famous monuments and saw a good part of the museum complex

Jefferson Memorial

Washington Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Lincoln Memorial 

Union Station

Then it was time to go home to our cozy little town house.  We made brownies and watched National Treasure.