You can't beat free. LOL When my daughter was little (and there were no fees at all) we used to often jaunt into DC to go to the museums for the day. Her favorites were Air and Space and Natural History. A lot of people forget about the National Gallery and National Archives, which are right behind the Smithsonian (Natural History etc.) and the National Arboretum right down the street. Freer Gallery is another favorite and it's right there close by too.
We are indeed very fortunate here in the DC Metro area to have such a collection of museums available for us almost every day of the year, free of charge.
Actually, the National Arboretum is not downtown, it's out a ways, on New York Avenue. But it is free, and definitely worth the short drive! You are probably thinking of the U. S. Botanic Garden (with the glass conservatory, down by the Capitol Building)? The conservatory is a wonderful place to spend a cold winter afternoon!
Yes, I am, thanks for correcting me. Of course it's the Botanic Garden.
You know, my parents never took us to any of the museums when we were kids, just to the zoo, and I think that was true for most of us who grew up in the DC area. We had our annual school trips to Mt. Vernon and I think we hit most of the museums in those trips. But you always felt like you were being shuffled away from the bits you found interesting.
I was determined that I wouldn't be that way with my daughter so we made several trips in every year and could mosey around as much as we wanted. BTW, parking is a problem but you can get around that by taking the Metro or by parking in the garage under Air and Space, which I don't think is even available any more. It was worth the cost of the parking to not have to drive around forever looking for a space.
hart wrote:I was determined that I wouldn't be that way with my daughter so we made several trips in every year and could mosey around as much as we wanted. BTW, parking is a problem but you can get around that by taking the Metro or by parking in the garage under Air and Space, which I don't think is even available any more. It was worth the cost of the parking to not have to drive around forever looking for a space.
Good for you for taking your daughter in on a regular basis. It is so much better to see the museums in small doses, since they can be overwhelming (and you miss so much) if you try to "do the Mall" in a day! I always feel bad for the familes of tourists who are flying through any given museum, especially near closing time, trying to get things done before they have to head home.
Parking is still a problem, of course, and unfortunately that parking garage beneath Air & Space has been closed for years. Even if you can find a space to park, it's usually limited to 2 hours, so there's another hassle! I always Metro in, usually parking at DH's parking area in Pentagon City, but it's a bargain even if you have to pay. The other two stations with lots of parking are Ballston and Springfield/Franconia. Most of the other lots are full before 10 AM.
I used to always use the short term parking, which isn't commuter friendly and usually has spaces. You have to be back earlier but that's not a problem.
I just looked it up. It used to be you had to be back by 4:30 I think, now it's 3:30. I never had any problem finding a short term space. Otherwise parking at the Vienna station is a nightmare. Assuming the other stations and not just Vienna have these. http://www.wmata.com/rail/parking/parking_detail.cfm?station...
September will be a little bit early for leaf season but SNP and the Skyline Drive is always pretty. Let me know when you're getting ready to plan your trip and I'll give you some other stops you might want to make.
For starters, the Festival of Leaves is a nice one, always held in Front Royal in September. And the National Zoo's research center just outside FR annual open house - the only time they're open to the public - is usually held on the same day. Now that's a lot of fun.
Name: Sally central Maryland slef employed writier
Barb, what do you like at Natl Arboretum? I've gone with a girlfriend- we liked the Asian area going down to the river, most, we were both into the species. The bonsai is great, and the herb garden.
Then with my DH and kids it was running around the 'pillars', and we ran down to the river but were grossed out by the condition of the actual Anacostia up close and personal
"If you bring joy and enthusiasm to everything you do, people will think you're crazy" W. Haelfeli, New Yorker cartoon
Sally, I haven't been there in a while, but we enjoyed all of it, for the most part. They've got huge daffodil collections, so in early spring, it'd be a good time to go see all sorts of varieties in bloom, same with the azalea collection (which made the news recently in an article about cutbacks (literally) - don't know if that's been resolved yet or not). We were there in mid-late April I think, so too early for the roses, and too late for the daffs, but we did enjoy the herb garden, definitely the bonsai, and just walking around the beautiful site. Loved the columns - they made for a great photo op!
I absolutely agree with you about the condition of the Anacostia, too. It's a real shame. A friend has a boat moored near the Naval Station on the Anacostia, and we were stunned by the amount of trash in the water.
There are two really interesting facilities just outside Front Royal. Both were federal facilities during I think both world wars, one for training horses and mules and the other for training dogs.
The zoo's conservation and research center has a new name and I forget what it is. They do all kinds of research, including breeding of endangered species. The open house is the only time all year when it's available to the public. You can see some pretty neat animals, meet some of the premier animal scientists in the world. Besides tours of the facilities, they have activities for the kids, etc.
The other place out that way is the Customs Service's canine training facility. All of their customs dogs are trained there. They also train bomb dogs for the ATF, cadaver dogs and police and their dogs from around the world. It's also not open to the public at all but you might see them doing a demonstration at events like the Festival of Leaves.
You can also adopt a dog from them, mostly labs. These are dogs that were winnowed out of the program for one reason or another. Those dogs are expected to have a hard working life of 7-8 years and not making it doesn't mean they won't be a wonderful pet. They're all spayed and at least partly trained and there's no fee so it's a pretty good source for a nice dog.