E Blanchard is an accomplished author, violinist, artist, runner, and an award winning scientist – first place in the 4th Grade science fair. And she is currently working on her portfolio as a photographer. Enjoy this, and future excerpts from her travel journal, via guest appearances on Livingandtravelingwithkids.com.
Our family decided to spend time in Washington D.C. before we moved out west. And, why not?
We spent 3 days exploring our country’s capital, and these are the things in which our family loved doing best:
SMITHOSIAN’S NATIONAL ZOO. On the first day, after a long 6 hour drive, we went as a family to the Smithsonian National Zoo. We observed cheetahs, zebras, elephants and red pandas. However, us kids found ourselves spending most of our time either at the souvenir shop, pressing pennies at the penny-pressing machines around the zoo, or staring at the pandas that were on exhibit. Unlike many zoos around the world, this zoo had giant pandas! And not just one or two – they have four pandas on display! The whole zoo, including the panda exhibit, was free.
If our family returns to D.C., I personally want to spend a whole day at the zoo, to see all the animals that the zoo has in store for its visitors!
MILLENNIAL CHOIR AND ORCHESTRA CONCERT at STRATHMORE. After the zoo, our family went together to a special concert at Strathmore – The Millennial Choir and Orchestra. It was a wonderful experience, especially for mom, dad and me. The boys, L and J, fell asleep.
MONUMENTS. The next day, we woke, excited to see some of D.C.’s famous monuments! Many, such as the National WWII Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial as well as the Lincoln Memorial mesmerized and fascinated mom, dad and myself.
These monuments weren’t as interesting to younger children, including my own younger brothers, who were only really interested in seeing the president at the White House (and eating the ice cream that we got for walking).
Later we found ourselves entering The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, an important but sad place. I know for a certainty that my parents loved the opportunity to go to this museum, but I, myself, wasn’t thrilled with the experience. I had learned a lot in my earlier lifetime about the Holocaust and found it nightmarish and depressing. So, with reluctance, I dragged myself into the museum.
But I found that I enjoyed the Hall of Remembrance. We were able to sit and think about the people and the families that died. And the people and families that didn’t die, but that helped others. I bought a postcard showing an image of the Hall of Remembrance. That was the only thing I could really bring myself to look at without feeling sad. L bought a pencil that stated: WHAT YOU DO MATTERS. He explained to us, every individual makes a difference in the world.
Sometimes I find myself thinking about the Holocaust. The world promised it would never happen again. Despite this promise, thousands of people around the world are murdered due to their religion or culture, and hatred. What we do matters!
NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM. L and J’s favorite part of the whole trip was going to the Air and Space Museum. It featured dozens upon dozens of old-fashioned and new airplanes – some from WWII, and some that were airplanes that people just no longer go on.
Have you ever heard of “Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian”? It actually takes place in some of the museums that make up the Smithsonian, including the Air and Space Museum. Our family watched it together after we returned from Washington D.C., and it is definitely something that ought to be done – either before, during or after the trip.
WASHINGTON D.C. LDS TEMPLE. The next day was made up mostly of the long drive back to New York City, but before we left we managed to squeeze in church in the morning, and stop at the beautiful Washington D.C. Latter-day Saints temple, over there. This was definitely a great experience for everyone in our family. The visitor’s center at the temple provided a detailed model of the Washington D.C. temple, for those, such as myself, who are unable to go into the temple. And we watched a clip on what we believe about families, and also a statue of Christ. It was a very special experience for me and the other members of our family, and I’m glad that it was the last thing we were able to do before we returned home. It was a perfect ending to our trip to D.C.