Yesterday, we went on a 4-H fieldtrip to the US Botanic Garden and had a lovely time. The new holiday scavenger hunt for plants used in making holiday sweets was fun and very interesting for the moms! The kids really enjoyed exploring the desert and the prehistoric plant areas, and loved the train exhibit. My favorite exhibits were the orchid room and the medicinal plant room, which I could've spent much more time in if the kids had let me. That will be a trip in alone someday, I suppose. They offer wonderful seminars, and perhaps I should ask for one as a birthday present. Hmmmm... not a bad idea!
Afterwards, we went across the street to the new National Museum of the American Indian. We had lunch in the cafe, which offers native fare from all different parts of the Americas. Our friends stopped at the Southwestern stand, while I went straight for the Northern Woodlands and had a delicious lobster salad sandwhich. We wandered around the museum a little while, getting a feel for what it has to offer. The Windows on the Exhibits are interesting and offer an interactive computer description of the items behind the glass, allowing visitors to focus on one item, zoom into different parts and learn about the object, it's history and significance, construction, etc. We spent some time in the children's library section of the resource room and read some Navajo children's books that were written in both English and Navajo, and we explored a really neat buffalo box, constructed completely out of buffalo hide and filled with all the different parts of the buffalo used by the Plains Indians, from the fur and hide, to sinew, bone and bladder. All in all, quite a full and wonderful day! The best part for me was that I finally replaced my tape of R. Carlos Nakai, which is some of the most meditative, spiritual music I've heard. It was my favorite tape in college, and it's wonderful to fill my spirit with the peace of his flute music again.