Whales, Bats, and Butterflies . . . oh my!

A weather warning sets a fear in us. While most folks run to the store and stock up on the essentials, the O’Briens pack up lunches and a diaper bag and head out to. . .somewhere, anywhere! Our fear is about getting stuck in the house. We love to play and even though we have fun no matter where we are, the thought that we can’t go outside makes being inside harder some how.

So a winter weather warning had been issued for 6PM and we rushed out the door by 10am to have an adventure before hunkering down. We drove into the city, parked in our secret parking spot, and made our way to the National Museum of Natural History.

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Rowan has really been interested in sharks and whales lately. This interest is supported by a co-worker that knows “more than Google,” in Rowan’s opinion. Every question he asks her, she has a response and a bit of trivia to share with him. She wears cool shark shirts with hammerheads, great whites, and pool sharks (He doesn’t quite get that joke yet). So our ‘get out before the storm’ adventure started under a right whale replica. My four year old insisted on reading the whale descriptions twice before we could move on. When we split up in the gift shop, Graham and I found my oldest in the corner with a book about whales asking his daddy to “read more.”

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Bats are nocturnal and have special vision to see in the dark, but my camera does not – so pictures of the bats must be imagined. He had his camera out and was trying to capture every last detail. We learned bats don’t use their vision to catch their nightly meals and even though we tried, we had a difficult time finding bugs through vibrations like the bats do.

The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC is an amazing place to take your kids. First, its free. Win! Second, it has something for everyone – so you non bat fans travel to the second floor of the museum and take in the butterfly exhibit. There is a small fee to see the butterflies, but even my nine month old enjoyed watching them flutter around us.

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We found our way to the new Q?rious (pronounced Curious) exhibit where kids of all ages can explore science. Hands on learning at its best and Rowan loved it. Our only problem was the weather and the large, white, snow flakes that had started falling a little earlier than expected. It didn’t stop Rowan from learning all about microscopes from the expert staff on hand to help, explain, and teach. We really had a great day adventure – even though getting home was a bit trickier than anticipated.

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Take a look online before you take on the museums or get your name added to their mailing list. It really helps me keep up with special events in the DC area. Mommy blogs can be a great resource, but when it comes to activities, I rely on information on kidfriendlydc.com. No matter what way you get your info, get out there, have some fun and watch the weather!!

Cheers,
Kelly

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