First up: Ford's Theatre National Historical Site. Its run by the National Park Service, so you can get your passport stamped, and collect Civil War trading cards.
My little Lincoln aficionado was very excited to be here.
Beneath the theater, they have a wonderful museum all about Abraham Lincoln, and his death. We learned more than I ever knew about all the co-conspirators. You mainly hear about John Wilkes Booth, but there were over a dozen different men and women arrested and charged with his murder, and with the attempted murders of the Vice-President and Secretary of State that night.
You obviously can't go inside the box where Lincoln was shot, but you can get pretty close, as Ryan demonstrates.
They have actual plays you can see inside the theater, but not during the time we were there. The park ranger explained to us that they always have a civil rights theme to the plays shown.
After you visit the theater, you cross the street to the Petersen house, which is where they carried President Lincoln after he was shot, and where he died. (and yes, Ryan bought a Lincoln hat. His third hat for the trip)
Inside the Petersen House is more of a museum about the assassination, and then they have THIS.
The most incredible book display I've ever seen. And every book was about Abraham Lincoln. Color us jealous.
And they have the gun John Wilkes Booth used to kill Abraham Lincoln.
Next up: the Natural History Museum.
Its an interesting hodgepodge of natural history, dead animals, live animals, rocks and minerals, dead insects, and live insects.
And some live insects that I wish were dead insects, like these ginormous hissing cockroaches. Color me disgusted. The only kind of cockroach I ever want to see is a dead one.
They also had an Easter Island statute. Which my kids recognized right away, thanks to ... the movie Hop. "Easter Island is real, Mommy!" exclaimed Ryan in utter delight upon seeing this head. Yes, sweetie, it is. Its just not the real home of the Easter Bunny.
Our combined favorite part was the Butterfly Exhibit - you do pay a small extra fee for this, but its worth it.
Its smaller than the Houston one, but the size worked in our favor, because many of them were landing on us.
And now for lots of butterfly photos (sorry)...
And then we went to my favorite part of the museum ... the Harry Winston gallery!
Featuring the Hope Diamond!
This will probably come as no surprise, but this was not Team Danger's favorite part of the museum.
In fact, this rated just below the First Ladies' gowns at the American History museum as far as they were concerned.
But, ooohhhh, how I love the emeralds.
The crystals met with a bit more enthusiasm from Team Danger.
Especially since there was one with a sign that read, "Please Touch Me!"
The color combinations fascinated me.
And then there were the dinosaurs.
Alex and Carl looked at these a lot.
Ryan was starting to get a bit fussy, though, so he and I rested for a bit after he saw the t-rex.
You'd never believe we were just minutes away from a meltdown, would you?
Finally, we walked along the Mall to head down to the Air and Space Museum. The Castle interested them (it's a castle! after all), but since its really just a glorified Visitor Center/admin building for the Smithsonian, we skipped it.
Once inside the Air and Space Museum, well, its pretty overwhelming.
Carl is really, really into airplanes.
Me, not so much.
I did find a few things to keep me interested, though. Like the exhibit on World War II planes that came with its very own London Underground station waiting to be bombed by the Germans.
Even I couldn't help but be impressed with the Wright Brothers plane.
They have a whole room dedicated to the Wright Brothers, and we all enjoyed this part of the museum.
We touched a moon rock.
And we found amusement in other parts of the museum.
Like the fact that the Spirit of St. Louis (a plane famous enough even I know about it) was ... a Ryan.
Carl and Alex again looked at probably half the museum, though, while Ryan sat things out. And when he discovered a McDonalds inside the museum, complete with the Minions happy meal, well ... I caved and bought him a happy meal. It was, after all, almost seven pm, and apparently children have this thing about eating dinner in a timely fashion, and don't quite understand about making the most of your time in the city when the museums stay open late.
Up Next: Pandas, Presidents, and Paddleboats oh my!