Monday, August 22, 2011

More opinions on D.C. (and Succinctly Yours!)

View outside Natural History Museum
I wanted to finish up the posts concerning the attractions in Washington D.C. with a couple more reviews of museums we visited. The last two museums we visited were the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History. Everything we read online ranked the Air and Space Museum as the second or third most popular for families with kids, so we planned on spending a great deal of time there on our last full day in Washington.  Well, you know the old adage, Don't believe everything you read?   Here is a primary example, because we were more than a little disappointed by this museum. I guess we were all expecting a lot of interactive space themed displays, and maybe a moon rock or two, but this just wasn't the case.

View of some planes on the ceiling 
As the name of the museum implies, it's Air and Space, so the majority of the displays dealt with airplanes, but we have been to more interesting places where you could climb inside planes like WWI and WWII bombers, and Vietnam air rescue helicopters, and these were all in Cape May, NJ!  Sure there were planes, but they were either behind glass or hanging from the ceiling, there were only two floors, and there was only one plane(the first commercial airplane) that you could walk through, and only a couple items about space.  My daughter was pretty upset about it, and if it wasn't for the "rides" offered, it would have been a total loss.

2nd level, 2nd of two cool space set ups
Now about the rides...there are several "simulations" offered on the lower level of the musueum which of course cost,those you can ride in and those you control.  The controlled ride lets you and a partner(pilot and gunner)control a fighter jet.  You play a video type game to get used to the controls and you try to shoot down the enemy.  When the game is done, you enter a capsule where you are strapped in a three point harness and then additional head and shoulder padding are lowered down and you're off-you do 360's, banking turns etc. just like a real fighter jet.

Let me tell you, this thing is extreme! My daughter and I spent the majority of the time in the capsule upside down because I couldn't figure out the controls, and we never engaged the enemy-heck, I was just trying to survive the ride!  But both of us couldn't stop laughing, so I'm thinking it was money well spent. (The cost is $7 for both adults and kids.)

Most planes were behind glass or barricades
The other "ride" let you sit down while it sent you through imaginary twists and turns of a space roller coaster-money well spent? No.  This was beyond lame, with no real 3D aspect to the picture so you never truly felt like you were on a coaster. ($7 per adult, $5 for kids-I was telling people while I was in line for the figter jet not to do the coaster ride...)  And the amount of time spent in this museum?  About 20 minutes-the length of time my daughter and I were in line for the rides (my son and husband walked through it then). Maybe we were expecting too much...

Now we hadn't planned on going to the Museum of American History because it was ranked pretty low, and there were monuments to see, but there was more than a couple passing rain showers, so we ducked into this museum to kill some time.  We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of exhibits housed there (three floors and several wings), and the exhibits themselves.  But you really had to pick and choose because there were so many, and we started to get "museumed out" pretty quick.

You could choose a speech to superimpose yourself into

My son the politician-you can barely see him!
My daughter and I enjoyed the wings dedicated to all the first ladies-there are dresses and other items worn by each one, but the inaugral gowns of the first ladies from the 80's on up (including Michelle Obama's) were all there.  My husband and son passed on this, but we joined up with them in the presidential artifacts area where there is Lincoln's top hat, and other items from all our presidents.

Plus, the most magical display was the first American flag (you know, the one that inspired Francis Scott Key)preserved under low light in all it's glory!  The flag is huge-about 40 to 50 feet wide, and everyone was pretty quiet as we filed in to look at it. (Sorry, you couldn't take pictures...)

There are other oddities housed in this building like Julia Child's kitchen, life then and now, and other areas we just didn't have the time or patience to see.  And as for our final ranking, the zoo and Natural History tied for first place, a not too distant second would be the American History, and sadly the Air and Space wouldn't make the cut. We do plan on visiting sometime in the near future, so I am hoping to go through at least one of the art museums (most notably the portrait museum), and I would like to catch a play in Ford's theatre where Lincoln was shot (still in operation today!)

Now time for Succinctly Yours, another writing meme that piggy backs on the idea of Susan of the Stony River Blog.
Grandma Goulash posts a picture and you are to write a 140 character or word story about it. You can also use the word of the day in your post if you wish. This week's word is tepid. Here this week's picture and my take this week:

Joe's brother warned him about the house, saying it was haunted by old Johnson himself, but his honor was at stake, so he didn't turn back. (139 characters)

Hope to be by later tonight to see what everyone else wrote!


  1. Brave Joe!

    The picture seems to have suggested hauntings to lots of players this week and I can see why.

  2. Eek! Nothing like a kid on a dare. Nice take on the brought me out of the house and into a kid's thought process. I enjoyed this.

    The flag! Oh, I'd love to see it. The Air & Space Museum was scratched off my list from your description of it. I always thought it housed a lot of space stuff, too. Thanks for the insight.

  3. The things we'll do to save our pride. I'll bet that Joe will be bragging about his exploits for many days.

  4. A kid on a dare is a good take on the pic!

  5. A back and forth look at Julia's kitchen?! Cool! I'm no cook, but I loved the woman! Hm, I wonder if Dan Aykroyd has ever visited this museum? Remember his classic SNL "Child"-play? (cLiCkY-cLiCkY!) "...Why are you all spinning?...Well, I think I'll go to sleep now...bon appetit..." <--Holy cow!

    Your SY entry reads like a snagg-the-ghost-story-lover entry! I'M WANTING MORE!

  6. Joe is quite brave...but perhaps unwise? I personally wouldn't set foot in an old house that was said to be haunted! But I'm a chicken.

  7. Joe is brave, but then there is nothing so exciting as a good ghost hunt!

  8. Yay! Ghost stories : )

    I think I would have liked the American History one the best because I love old stuff.

  9. My boys love the air museum! We are so lucky to live in the D.C. area! We need to get downtown to take advantage of them more!

  10. I can just picture you stuck upside down and laughing!


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