Thinking about a trip to D.C.? Wondering what you might be able to accomplish on a tight budget and tighter schedule? Look no further – your answers rest below!
My younger brother was antsy for a day away from home. My wife and I had the itch to travel. A day trip into D.C. to wander the museums seemed like the cure for all our blues. We arrived at West Falls Church around 10 AM and the adventure began!
*Travel Tip* – 3 day passes on the Metro – $43.50, and February Weekends have unusually low ridership, so that’s a great time to visit!
As with all day trips, there will always be a bump in the road, and we encountered our first road block right away….. Though I might need to call it a rail block, because the Metro was undergoing track maintenance under all the stops around the Smithsonian for the weekend. Luckily, the Metro provided free bus rides to those stops, and we got to see the city from a different perspective than we planned – including a chance to snap a picture of the
now infamous luxurious Trump International Hotel, DC.
After a short walk, we went through security and began exploring the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
*Travel Tip* – You CAN bring food into the museums on the Mall as long as it is sealed, and be prepared to have your bag searched
Two hours in the Smithsonian was plenty of time to see the Ocean Hall and enjoy time watching Clown Fish in an impressive saltwater display, to walk through the newer National Geographic Photography Section, to explore the Hall of African Voices, and to wander through the Gems and Minerals Displays.
While rocks may not be on everyone’s to-do list, you can’t argue with the beauty of 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems that rotate through the exhibit and were provided by Mother Earth herself. Gemstones from the Tiffany and Co. Endowment were on display along with the Victoria-Transvaal Diamond Necklace and many other beauties as well. Who knew a stone could take your breath away!
*Travel Tip* – The Smithsonian’s Dinosaur Fossil display is currently being renovated and is not planned to be re-opened until 2019 according to signs throughout the museum.
A short distance away, and past a wide variety of food trucks lies the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. After a brief wait in line for security, our exploration began with an examination of the Lunar Lander, a full-scale replica of the amazing Hubble Space Telescope, and one of the engines from a Saturn V Rocket! If Outer Space is too far out and your interests lie closer to the ground, the museum also hosts many famous planes that keep to our atmosphere including the Spirit of St. Louis, a wide variety of WWII fighter planes, and a walk through area dedicated to WWII Aircraft Carriers that protected American interests in the Pacific.
*Travel Tip* – the Air and Space Museum is smaller than the Natural History Museum, but be sure to budget at least 2 hours to see it all! Don’t miss out on the IMAX Theatre and Einstein Planetarium – 3 adult tickets – $27
Planning Short List
- Total Trip Cost for 3 Adults: $168.50
- IMAX Tickets and Metro Passes: $70.50
- Food: $98
- Time: 10:30 Am – 5:00 PM (6.5 hours)
I MENTIONED FOOD COSTS….. CHECK OUT OUR NEXT POST FOR A REVIEW OF OUR EXPERIENCE AT 7th STREET’S FANTASTIC EATERY CHINA CHILCANO
– Wander freely, and may we meet on the road as friends.