Well, with Julia Ellen being stuffed up and throwing up from coughing so hard we bailed on the Homeschooler Day at the National Portrait Gallery and took advantage of the first 70 degree day this spring to go to the National Arboretum. Free admission, free and ample parking and the opportunity for the kids to run made it a pretty easy choice over having to negotiate the Metro, an overtly politically-correct program, and a no-stroller policy at the museum.
Our first stop was the pond with giant carp which was such a huge hit with Timmy and Charlie that I was afraid they would fall right in.
Then we strolled through the Bonsai exhibit (after a firm don't-touch-anything warning).
Apparently they fascinated Mary so much that she asked me 5 times to buy her a little bonsai. I told her that she could read about their care at the library and then we could consider it. I want to encourage her to learn about plants, after all, I was a horticulture minor at VA Tech, but, I know the likelihood of it getting destroyed during the 10 hour trip to Maine is high.
We next walked around the herb garden and walked up to the columns which once graced the Capitol building.
The Arboretum is quite large (440+ acres) so we drove over to the Oriental gardens and the dwarf conifers before eating a picnic lunch. I plan to make this a regular Sunday afternoon expedition, especially with the opportunity to hike up a hill covered with 15,000 azaleas and a view of the Washington Monument and Capitol from the top. I highly recommend a trip to this tranquil spot filled with flowering apple trees, budding Japanese Maples, Virginia bluebells, and late blooming daffodils.