Smithsonian Museum recs?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TennisPlayer, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. TennisPlayer

    TennisPlayer Cohort

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    Jul 11, 2013

    I need to look up all the names of them but there are many to choose from.
    Any ones you loved and why? First trip out to DC so planning two days of fun to take a tour there and visit a museum. I heard the zoo is free but will prob depend on the weather in terms of comfort!

    We are making other stops too in Gettysburg...Lancaster(I want to do an Amish tour) then up to visit rel. in Philly.

    thanks for any suggestions.

    I will also use tripadvisor. :)
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    All of the Smithsonian museums are free! Most of them are also close together on the National Mall (a big ol' park), so you can definitely visit more than one in a row just by walking from one to the next. I've done this in the middle of summer and it's hot when you're walking, but still fun and worth it. Choosing museums really depends on your interests. My favorite is the American History Museum, followed closely by the Natural History museum. I would say they're both musts, especially American History. Along with the cool stuff you'd expect, there are pop culture items like Kermit the Frog. :) BF likes the Air and Space Museum but it wasn't my favorite.

    IMO, it really only takes a couple of days and some good walking shoes to see all the big stuff in DC. It's all pretty much in/around the National Mall. I would save your money on the tour and just get a map, but I know some people like having everything planned out. For me, eating Ethiopian food is also a must every time I'm in DC because it's uncommon where I live but there's tons out there. :)
     
  4. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    The Smithsonian Museum(s) is/are on my bucket list

    I feel a little stupid but what does "recs" mean? Is it something I should know and I miss for 35 years? (don't laugh it took me sooooo long to "get" Blooms)
    Is it "recommendations?"
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Recommendations, Dave.:)

    We like Air and Space, the monuments. A friend just went and said Holocaust museum is impactful.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Years ago I went to 2 of them around the Mall. I know one was Natural History but not sure of the other one. They were so interesting. I would love to go back to DC and see the rest. We didn't go to the zoo because we opted to drive to Arlington cemetary instead and I also highly recommend that as well.

    ETA: When I was there it was at the beginning of July so I do remember it was blazing HOT and waiting in line was NOT fun!
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    My favorite was the American Crafts Museum, but it is off the beaten path.

    The most beautiful building is the Library of Congress. Wow.

    I've tried 2 times to get through the National Holocaust Museum and find it too overwhelming; I've left without finishing the tour.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The National Gallery is insanely beautiful. I will never forget looking for an elevator, turning a corner, and finding myself in front of Salvador Dali's The Last Supper. He is probably my favorite artist, and my mind was blown.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I loved the National Gallery too cat! Just awe inspiring!

    I was last in DC when I was in high school; I wish I could find an excuse to go back now that I would appreciate it more!
     
  10. Securis

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    Jul 11, 2013

    National Museum of the American Indian is awesome plus they have a restaurant that serves some pretty awesome food.
     
  11. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I love DC! I will be there for a few days in August. I have been to the American History museum, Air and Space, Natural History, and Anerican Art. I really like all of them, but probably liked the American History one the most. Make sure you go to The Newseum while you're there! (It's not one of the Smithsonian museums, but it's really cool.) The zoo is nice, but I went there on a really hot day and didn't enjoy it as much as I probably should have.
     
  12. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I haven't been to all of them, but the Museum of Natural History is pretty cool. We also went through the African Art and Middle East museums. I don't recall the exact names, but they are right on the Mall close to the subway entrance.
     
  13. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    The American History museum is wonderful. I also loved the Library of Congress.

    I also went to the National Geographic museum when the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit was there. It's a little out of the way compared to everything else, and you had to purchase timed tickets, but it was so worth it to see the actual warriors from China. We made a special trip down just for that actually. I don't know what is there now.
     
  14. Ms. I

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    Jul 15, 2013

    I would love to go to them someday, especially the Natural History, American History, & American Art museums.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jul 15, 2013

    Natural History Museum
    Air and Space Museum

    These are the top two that my kids pick for interactive reasons. I haven't been through all of them yet. You can stop by a Smithsonian building named, "The Castle" first and tell them your interests. They can make recommendations for you. If it is hot, joining a bus tour (ie, one that is mostly just a pick up and drop off service that you can use all day) could be useful, though not required. I've always wanted to do the Segway at Night tour. We've always done the walk and free thing though.

    The Spy Museum is cool too. It's not one of the free Smithsonian museums but I enjoyed it.

    If you have time to visit Baltimore, I like the Inner Harbor area. Eat some Maryland crab at Phillips. Visit the National Aquarium. It is pricey but one of my favorite places. You didn't mention kids but if you have a younger crowd--Port Discovery is a must. You can take some kind of really fast fun boat across the water, paddle boat, tour military ships and more.

    Take money for parking. This includes both the garage kind and the meter kind.
     
  16. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    American History has the original Star Spangled Banner on display. When I was there in February they also had an exhibit on food in America that included a mock up of Julia Child's kitchen (complete with DVD player :lol:). Also a piece of the twin towers upstairs I the history of US at war exhibit.
     
  17. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Jul 15, 2013

    I love the American History museum. The Air and Space Museum is cool too. If you go on some of the travel websites or check out a Fodor's or Frommer's guidebook from your library, you might be able to find different itineraries for the amount of time you have to spend and your interests. For me, having a plan like that to follow makes my trip more enjoyable because I know it's well thought-out and organized. I know other people find the thought of doing something like that more stressful, though! :)
     
  18. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jul 15, 2013

    They are all fabulous!!! And enormous. You could easily spend an entire day in just one museum. I'm especially a fan of the American History museum since the Woolworth's Counter is in it, repping my alma mater!

    Spy Museum, which is not free, I would skip. Everyone talks about how cool it is, but I thought it was just so-so compared to all the free ones on the mall.
     
  19. Ms. I

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    Sounds good!
     

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