DC Trip Report: Part 1

Ok, picking up my trip report again. This time we’re heading to DC!

From NYC’s Penn Station we took Amtrak (the Northeast Regional route) straight to Union Station in DC. It was an easy breezy 3+ hours on the train. I highly recommend the train over a flight. No need to get to the station as early, no security and cheaper fares! TIP: TAKE ADVANTAGE of Amtrak’s Red Cap service if it’s available. There are Red Cap agents at many major stations that offer FREE baggage handling directly to the train platform AHEAD of general boarding. All you need to do is tip the agent. If we hadn’t used the service, we probably wouldn’t have gotten seats together.

For some reason, I only got this random pic of Rob & Cap on the train…



This was when we got to DC — the train was packed with commuters the whole way!



Union Station is so beautiful.

In this entry, I’m going to cover the museums we visited. Our first stop was the Smithsonian Castle.



It’s mostly an informational building so we didn’t linger too long before heading to the National Air and Space Museum.



This is tied for my favorite museum of the trip.



So happy! :)



Cap fits right in.



The Space Race exhibit featuring missiles and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in the back.



And the Apollo Lunar Module in the Exploring the Moon exhibit.

We walked through the entire first and second floors in a few hours – so fun!

We made the mistake of visiting the National Museum of Natural History on a Friday. AAAAHHHHH. SO MANY KIDS ON FIELD TRIPS. It was incredibly crowded (and this coming from someone who can deal with the crowds at Disneyland) so we basically walked in, saw the Hope Diamond, and high-tailed it outta there.



Before leaving I had to take a picture of the elephant in the rotunda. So iconic.

We headed to the American Art Museum instead where it was FAR more calm.



There was a special Video Game exhibit!



Rob was like a kid in a candy store.



The exhibit featured many video game platforms from Commodore 64 to Atari to Super Nintendo to the present day versions along with select games.



Pacman!

On our last day we went to the National Archives.



We got to see the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence (no photos though)! It’s so humbling to see the documents that secured our country’s freedom. Sadly, the documents aren’t in great shape anymore — the ink is badly faded making them all very hard to read (it doesn’t help that the rotunda, where they are exhibited, is dimly lit to prevent further aging).

Finally, the last museum we visited was the Newseum.



While the vast majority of museums in DC are FREE (so awesome!), the Newseum charges admission. But for us, it was well worth the cost. I’m a huge news, media and pop culture junkie so this was right up my alley! It didn’t hurt that crowds were nonexistent here.

Some of my favorite exhibits included…



The Berlin Wall Gallery – complete with large sections of the original wall



9/11 Gallery. Seeing the giant wall of front pages from various worldwide newspapers is sobering. (The wreckage in front of the wall is a 31 foot portion of the broadcast antenna that was located at the top of the North Tower).

The Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery is also noteworthy as are the (temporary, I think) exhibits featuring the First Dogs: Presidential Pets and Sports Photography by Neil Leifer.



The whole museum is a treasure. I HIGHLY recommend a visit.



Also love the great view of the Capitol from the museum deck!

Up next: DC Monuments!