Smithsonian Institute Museums / National Zoo, Washington D.C.
This is a 1947 Allan Herschell Carousel located right in front of the Smithsonian Castle. It was erected in the National Mall in 1967.
Open year-round, weather permitting.
Hours: 10 am-5:30 pm Daily; Labor Day-Feb 28: 11 am-5 pm Daily, $2 admission fee.
Smithsonian Castle address is 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW Washington, DC
Smithsonian (Mall exit)
The Air and Space Museum Annex, now in Suitland but soon to be at Dulles Airport in Fairfax County. See a Mig fighter, the Enola Gay, planes that are not spectacular enough to get into the Holy of Holies, hence making them all the more interesting. A special tour needs to be arranged to see these wonderful things. Just call the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and ask to see the Annex.
EDIT: Now it has moved to the western part of Fairfax County, to Dulles Airport.
This is a relatively new museum in the Smithsonian group and I haven't been to it. I have little or no interest in African Art. But I did take a photo when I drove by today, so I looked it up.
From the webpage:
It.. "opened on the National Mall in 1987, is the only national art museum devoted solely to research in and to the collection and exhibition of African art. The facility serves as an art museum and a research and reference center, housing a photographic archives and research library, as well as exhibition galleries and public education facilities. The museum's collection of 7,000 works of art includes objects in wood, metal, ceramics, cloth and ivory.
"Highlights: "Images of Power and Identity," featuring the museum's most recent acquisitions; cast copper alloy sculptures from Benin, Nigeria; an exhibition celebrating the creative genius of Central African women potters; utilitarian art objects. "
Open daily 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Closed December 25
This is another new museum on the mall in the Smithsonian group that I'd never heard of.
From the Smithsonian website:
"Changing exhibitions of Asian art drawn from major collections in the United States and abroad highlight the varied artistic traditions of Asia, from ancient times to the present. The museum's growing permanent collection includes art from China, South and Southeast Asia, ancient and Islamic Iran, and Japan. The museum was founded in honor of a gift from Arthur M. Sackler (1913 - 1987), a medical researcher, publisher and art collector. "
Text by The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Museum Hours: Open daily 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Closed December 25
Go see the Apollo-Soyuz project in Air and Space Museum. During the heat of Cold War in 1975, two manned spacecrafts, Apollo from Florida, USA, and Soyuz from Kazakstan, USSR, met in the orbit in outer space. The two spacecrafts linked and the two crews shared meals, performed scientific tasks for a few days. This event marked a brief thaw in the cold war, and the first time the two rivals cooperated in a manned space mission.
Now we look at it; It's all great history.
The photo shows the two most dangerous missles ever made, the Pershing by US and SS-20 by USSR. In Dec 1987, the two rivals signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, the first in history to ban the entire class of missles. Between 1988 and 1991, 2600 of such missles were destroyed under the eyes of American and Soviet inspectors. It's the end of Cold War.
Visit the movie theater inside the Natural History Museum (the free one, not the IMAX). The movie is about the evolution of species. In the end of the movie, you may find yourself sitting next to your pre-historic brother.
The National Zoo was the most family friendly stop on our itinerary. There is something for everyone. There are hands on activities for the kids, animals galore of course, and amazing botanical specimens. The zoo is very beautifully landscaped and surpases the National Botanic Garden for overall appeal in my opinion. My favorite exhibits were the invertibrate exhibit and Amazonia.
Be prepared to walk alot (uphill, downhill and all around.) Don't forget hats, sunglasses, sunblock and cold drinks. Strollers for the little ones will make your visit much more enjoyable. Pack a lunch and eat in the shade of the wisteria pergola on the steps of the sea lion exhibit.
Open from 6a to 8p every day.
Admission is free.
This is one place it is easier to drive than take public transportation. You have to take a combination of the metro and buses to get here, then walk up a big hill, so it's better to drive. The catch is parking is very limited, so arrive early. Parking is currently $7 and up. From Dupont Circle go NW on Conneticut Ave several miles and the zoo is on the right.
When we were in Washington over spring break there was an amazing butterfly exhibition in the Arts & Industries building at the Smithsonian. You actually got to walk through a habitat full of butterflies and orchids. You had to be very careful -- sometimes they even landed on you as this one did on my husband. It was very hot and humid in the space -- but it was worth it! Alas the exhibition has taken flight ...
The Smithsonian's National Zoo was founded in 1889. There are 3100 animals of 435 different species here.
The zoo is open every day except Christmas.
From May 1 to September 15, the grounds are open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm and the buildings from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
From September 16 to April 30, the grounds are open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and the buildings from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
It will take about four hours to see the whole zoo. Use the zoo map to plan your itinerary.
The Postal Museum - this is part of the Smithsonian Institute and one place a lot of people miss. It's the next building east of Union Station (same architectural design) and LOT more interesting than it sounds. Yes, it has the stamp archives for enthusiasts, but there are a lot of neat, interactive displays especially for kids. There are displays about people featured on stamps and the history of the postal service and all kinds of good stuff. I think it's one of the better kept secrets of DC.
The National Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the world. A few of its exhibits include the Wright Brothers' plane from Kitty Hawk, the fastest plane ever built and the command module from Apollo 11. The 'How Things Fly' gallery explains the principles of flight through demonstrations and over 50 interactive stations. Besides the incredible artifacts, the Air and Space Museum contains the Albert Einstein Planetarium and the Samuel P. Langley Theater featuring the latest IMAX movies.
Coming attractions: the Native American museum and the Japanese-American Memorial (commemorating the military service of many Japanese-Americans in World War II and the internment of many others in camps across the western USA).
Consider the Renwick Gallery for decorative arts (once we saw a fine exhibition of American quilts). Women's history: Don't miss the 'Ladies in the Bathtub'--a statue of suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, located in the Capitol basement (open to the public). The statue is unfinished at the base, thus the nickname. Also: see the statue of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress (from Wyoming), and the only statue of a woman in Congress' Statuary Hall. Also: the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
My friend, Debbie, works here, and was featured on 'Animal Planet.' Go see her and her Elephants at the Zoo!!
I believe the Panda Bears are the most popular attraction.