Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bodies at MOSI

There was a lot of rain at the weekend due to the bands from hurricane Katrina, so Madison and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) here in Tampa to see the new "Bodies" exhibition. It was awesome! There has been a lot of controversy with the exhibit since it uses real, preserved human specimens. It is the first display of it's kind open to the public. We had to stand in line for over an hour and a half to get in and the display of 20 full bodies and over 240 organs took about another hour and a half to get through. Madison and I talked about it before we went and looked at some pictures in the paper to see if she felt OK about the whole thing. There was a special kids audio accompaniment which she was totally glued to as we went through. By the end, she was able to name most of the internal organs in the body, understood the principles of the circulatory system and has seen what smoking does to the lungs. It was totally amazing...although to be honest...I felt pretty nauseous myself....

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Washington D.C., August 2005

MONDAY...We arrived in Washington D.C. on Monday in the early evening. Maddy loved the flight. She asked if we were in heaven. Michael definitely wasn’t in heaven…he had several Bloody Marys to get over his flying nerves. The hotel had a fantastic 360 degree rotating restaurant on top and was very close to the Pentagon. We got a great view of the city as soon as we arrived and got to see it light up at night.  

TUESDAY...Once we figured out the Metro system (which is very easy to use and very clean) we headed for the White House. On the way, we passed the hotel where Martin Luther King wrote his “I have a dream” speech. There’s history on virtually every corner. The temperature was in the nineties and felt like the hundreds every day. The White House was closed to the public on the day that we went since George W. was apparently signing a bill. To get in you have to write your Congressman about 4 weeks before the trip. The people who had bothered to do this were not happy they couldn’t get in. We really enjoyed the White House visitors center around the corner.

 We went next to the National Aquarium which is a bit disappointing if you happen to live in Florida! We took a break in the park so that Maddy could feed the birds…

In the afternoon we went to the museum of American History. It was full to the brim of amazing exhibits including: Brown vs. the Board of Education memorabilia, the original flag that inspired the song “the Star Spangled Banner”, Dorothy’s slippers from the “Wizard of Oz”, Jerry Seinfeld’s “Puffy Shirt”, Ali’s boxing gloves. We particuarly enjoyed the exhibition all about America’s pursuit of Freedom through warfare. We were exahusted after about 7 hours on our feet.

WEDNESDAY...On Wednesday morning, I went to the Holocaust Museum in the morning and Michael and Maddy went to see the Lincoln Memorial close up. There are 36 columns around the Lincoln memorial to represent the states at the time of the building’s dedication. The building is in Greek design like many of the monuments in Washington, since ancient Greece was where the foundation for democracy began. You get a really nice view of lots of other famous monuments from here and the Washington monument at the other end of the reflecting pool…The Washington monument is 550 feet tall and has 50 flags around it. If you look closely you can see that it is two colors, since building had to be halted due to lack of funding. When it restarted the original stone was not available. On Wednesday afternoon we met back up and went to the museum of Natural History. In the lobby there’s a massive elephant, the biggest preserved specimen in the world.

Clare loved the Hope diamond!

Later, on Wednesday night, we met up with Tom, a good friend of ours who lives in the city. He took us on a whistle-stop tour of the city including a stop at the Vietnam reflecting wall and Lincoln memorial for Clare and the Capitol building. Tom took us to Old Ebbits Restaurant, one of the oldest in the city.

THURSDAY...On Thursday morning, we went to the beautiful Union Station and took the famous DC duck Tour. Basically, you tour the city by road on a WWII converted amphibious vehicle and then onto the Potomac river. We got to see the Ford Theatre (where Lincoln was assassinated), numerous government buildings, the Jefferson memorial and so much more. It was a fantastic trip! Below is the view of the Pentagon from the Potomac river. The plane that struck on 9/11 hit the opposite side. Reconstruction of the building itself is complete although they are building a memorial for the victims. There are 5 levels above ground, 5 below and 5 acres in the middle section.    

FRIDAY...On Friday morning, we went to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Lots of security for obvious reasons. The National Archives has a new exhibition called the Public Vault. We were able to see the resignation letter of President Nixon following Watergate, the investigation documents into the Titanic and Challenger disasters…The picture is of the National Archives with the Navy Memorial in the foreground. It depicts a lone sailor looking over a map of the world. The fountains are reported to sound like the seven seas and when the fountains are opened each year samples of each of the seven seas are poured in. On Friday afternoon, we went to the National Air and Space museum, the most visited museum in the world. We saw the original Wright brother’s “Flyer” the “Spirit of St. Louis”, the Apollo 11 module used for the safe return of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong from the first landing on the moon and touched moon rock. The 3D show was awesome!

We stopped off at the Hirshhorn sculpture garden on the way back…
Hope you enjoyed our amazing holiday..we did!!!