Saturday, March 3, 2012

Butterflies in the City

As a native Washington D.C. area gal, I am ashamed to admit how little I know about my fair city. There were some school field trips, Kennedy Center performances, and, later on, the occasional concert, but I never did much exploring. Let's just say that the priorities of a high school student are elsewhere! In the past few years, I have made it my mission to make up for lost time when I come back to visit. During the holidays, the go-to family activity is the National Zoo. And no, my sister and I do not care if we are the oldest kids there, we always have blast! If not animals, there is my preferred craft beer establishment or a visit to one of the city's one zillion museums. I was in town this past weekend and decided to start from square one on the latter front. A high-of-70-degree day was the perfect chance to scoot into town with Dad for a day on the Mall.

First up was the new MLK Monument. Mr. King is large and in charge, dramatically looking over the tidal basin. He's surrounded by some of his greatest quotes which really made for a complete, thought provoking experience as so many of them still resonate today.

On the way to the Smithsonian's we passed by the Occupy settlement, one of the last ones standing.

Next, we dropped by the American History museum and while the display of mid-century memorabilia was semi-engaging, the mis-mash of dusty exhibits did the nation's history little justice. The place reflects the current state of the American economy all too well. It did look like a few things were under construction so I will give those folks the benefit of the doubt...

Last was the Natural History Museum, best known as the home of the Hope Diamond. Lots to see here but by far, the highlight of our excursion was the Butterfly Pavilion. I guess I did make it to a zoo after all. The greenhouse is a tropical paradise, chock full of flowers and the butterflies who love them. We almost skipped it but I am so glad we went in. It was unexpectedly wonderful to mingle with these magical creatures and they are more than happy to pose for the camera. I certainly get a kick out of their species names too - Small Postman, Paper Kite, Great Mormon!

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