Our Day in DC: WWII Memorial and the American History Museum




We did manage to squeeze in one day of adventure during Spring Break.  My parents were visiting, and there were still a lot of DC spots that they had never seen, so we headed into town.  Believe it or not, my parents, the 4 boys, and I all fit into one minivan.  : )

One of Joshua’s friends came over to play while we were gone, and Alan answered the door.  Alan was under the weather, so he couldn’t go with us.  When Alan told the little buddy that Joshua wasn’t home, he said, “What?  How did they all fit into one car?”

The day went really well.  I was reminded of one great money-saving tourist tip that I’d forgotten:

-Museum cafeterias are outrageously expensive, and who has the space to pack a picnic lunch and lug it around?  Avoid the cafeterias.  Instead, eat outside.  In front of every museum is an outdoor cafe that sells hot dogs and such that cost less than they do inside.

First stop: Carousel


This is a tradition for us.  You just can’t take kids to the National Mall and skip the carousel!

That was Joshua’s first ride on the carousel:  2009.  He was a sweet little almost 4-year-old!!

Okay.  I’ll try not to get too nostalgic.  Let’s just say this will be an emotional move for us.  (We’re moving this summer:  far, far away!)

Carousel ride completed, and a good bit poorer, we headed across the Mall to the Smithsonian American History Museum.


SmithCastlethe Smithsonian castle: beautiful, but I’ve never found too much to see in there


People were so kind to stop and offer to take family pictures for us.  I did this one, and then a passerby took this one for us:


As I’ve said before, don’t knock “people today.”  There are still plenty of nice ones out there.

I’m so excited that we now have DC photos for JD and Daniel too.  Joshua and Caleb have gotten to do all of this so many times over the years, but the little ones came along, and then Alan and I became a little less adventurous!


We could not have picked a more beautiful day to go touring.  It was PERFECT.  It was warm but breezy, and there were beautiful spring colors everywhere.


I was all excited to get a photo of myself with all four of my boys, and most of them posed really well…..but then I blinked.  Oh, well, what can ya do?


Oops.  I guess the sun was in their eyes.



Joshua and Caleb were so cute, playing with these mannequins.


I was so excited to see Joshua, actually reading the information!!  He especially enjoyed the political cartoon exhibit, which I didn’t photograph, and everything in the presidential wing of the museum.

Joshua usually complains of boredom at all of these museums, but we couldn’t tear him away from the presidential area.  He was so interested in the presidents, that he insisted on sitting and watching the entire History channel video of the history of presidents in the public eye, that they play continuously on the 3rd floor of the museum.  I was rather delighted to see him taking such an interest!


JD mostly just enjoyed this water bottle. : )

historymuseumI decided to re-create this picture, 4 1/2 years later, same exhibit:

RecreateBusDC They’ve grown so much!!

RedoBus2DCAnd one more


more fun with mannequins…


Caleb said he was turning his pages for him.  Of course, I have a flashback photo for this mannequin too:


Same guy!!!

I can’t explain why this is so much fun to us….moving on…

President Joshua

We almost had to pull Joshua away from this presidential podium.


Dan got a little bored, so he just laid down in the floor….kind of like Caleb did, in the floor of the Capitol back in ’09, which is one reason we’ve never gone back to the Capitol:



the President of the United States, and his entourage: Daniel and Nana  : )


After the museum, we hiked waaaaay over to the World War II Memorial.  I had never been to this memorial before.  I’d seen it from the street, but that does not do it justice.  This is a memorial well worth visiting.  I literally had tears in my eyes, just thinking of all the sacrifices made in World War II.  I highly recommend visiting this one!

As we were walking up to the memorial, Caleb asked, “Wait.  This is a park???!!!??”

“Yeah, it’s a park!” I replied, hoping that would make it more interesting.

“Yes!  So we can play here??”

“Um, uh…yeah.  You can play.”

“Yes!  We’re here!  This is a park.  So I can go now?”

By this point, we were just coming up to the outside of the humongous WWII Memorial area, and I kind of just wanted to see where in the world Caleb was going with these thoughts, so I said, “Yeah, go ahead…..”

“YES!” Caleb said, as he ran over to the wall….


Mom asked, “Do you want me to go keep up with Caleb?”

I was so relieved!  “Yes, definitely!”

It was a good thing too, because when I glanced back over there, I saw Nana ordering Caleb off the wall, where he had almost managed to jump over.  I could just see Caleb and his one leg, headed back down.


Ah, Caleb.  You’re just a fun little boy, and I love you so much.  And thank you to Nana!!!


I can’t tell you how inspiring this memorial is in person.  You really have to see it.


There was a line of these scenes in the wall, progressing from beginning to end of the war.


Even the boys really seemed to enjoy this fountain.  Of course, they were just dying to put their arms into the water, but I’m happy to report that we all left DRY:  an accomplishment in itself.

LincolnDCThe memorial goes all the way to the reflecting pool that stretches to the Lincoln Memorial, another favorite of ours.


Then we made the long hike back to our van.  It was so sweet to watch Joshua and Caleb, just talking amongst themselves. Daniel was so tired, he climbed onto Granddaddy and caught a ride on the scooter.  Dan was passed out hard by the time we loaded him into his car seat.

bestfriendsDCI enjoyed watching the boys, walking and talking to each other.  I hope they will be best friends for life.

 How we will miss you, DC!!!

Oh, I just have to share this one last story!  My parents left on Easter, but they were still here when Daniel received his Easter basket, so Daniel is convinced that everything he got from the Easter Bunny actually came from Nana.  hehehe  “Look what Nana got me.”  “Nana got me this.”  “Where Nana and Granddaddy go?”

I could’ve corrected him, but eh…why bother.  ; )


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