Thursday, February 21, 2008

November Catch Up

As promised in an earlier post, here are some photos of a couple of trips we took in November. We spent time at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the rocks, minerals, and gems room, one of our favorites. This time the kiddos were really interested in looking at the jewelry and hearing the little history blurbs about where it came from—even Sam was dazzled by the gems' beauty and brilliance.

Afterwards, we walked over to the National Museum of the American Indian where we had lunch at our favorite cafe. We zoomed through the museum kind of quickly, as our time to escape the city before rush hour was quickly slipping away.

We were able to see the introductory movie this trip, though, which is well worth seeing if you're ever there. They do a great job of connecting the present and the past, debunking the still pervasive myth that Native people's and their culture are a thing of the past. One of the kids' favorite parts of the museum and a do not miss is the contact room with all the gold artifacts and weaponry. Sam picked out his favorite revolver, Em got a shot off with an old long rifle, but Jules apparently goes for the heavy fire!

Later that month we also took a trip down to Luray Caverns, in Virginia, which was a neat follow up to the Smithsonian trip, as we got to see some rock and mineral formations up close. We'd been to the caverns a few years back, but the kids didn't really remember it and were awed anew.

There are several really stunning moments in the caverns: the reflecting lake is gorgeous, and the stalactite organ is really cool and amazing to hear. The kids were especially taken with the organ. They did not, however, like experiencing total cave darkness—that pretty much freaked them out, as did the legend of Neptune's ghost, a specific formation in the caverns. But they loved, loved, loved the wishing well and being able to rub the "fried eggs" for good luck, the only formation they were allowed to touch.