Our Dinosaur Adventure

We heard the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History was going to close its dinosaur exhibit for FIVE years! Of course, I decided it was essential we make a trip down there before it closed because Silas would be ten years old before it opened again. Lo and behold, our schedule did not match anyone else’s and Daddy couldn’t take off work either. We threw caution to the wind and made the trek down to D.C. It was to be the first such trip for just the boys and myself… A car ride, a train ride, a big city, a highly visited museum, lots of walking, etc. I prefer to head into such scenarios prepared for man-on-man defense. But we had no choice. The exhibit was closing for FIVE years and we absolutely HAD to see the dinosaurs. I knew Silas would love all those ancient dinosaur bones. So off we went. Here’s what I loved about this trip:

Train Station

Here we are at the train station. This means we have successfully left the house, taken a relatively long car ride, nursed a baby and had snacks.

Do you know what I love about this picture? This is the point of no return.

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy.

On the Train & Not Lost


I have finally figured out fares and we are on our way. Riding the train and watching the map to make sure we don’t get lost. Only a few more stops to go!

Do you know what I love about this picture? Silas is so curious about every little thing happening.

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy.


To my sheer and utter amazement, I asked Silas to pose for a picture and he did it right away. Seriously, how could I resist getting a picture of the boys in front of the Washington Monument?!?!

Do you know what I love most about this picture? When Silas turned around to see what all the fuss was about he shouted, “LOOK MOMMY! It’s a CRANE!!!”

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy.


And we’re in! We had to stop and take the obligatory picture with the elephant. Silas was in awe of the elephant. Emerson was in awe of all the people!

Do you know what I love about this picture? Silas asked me if it was a real elephant and I said, “It is a real elephant but it is not alive.” This question and statement sequence was repeated often throughout the day.

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy.


We merge into the infamous dinosaur exhibit. Our driving factor in taking this adventure. The dinosaurs I just knew Silas had to see because he would absolutely love them and couldn’t get through FIVE years without seeing them.

Do you know what I love about this picture? It’s the only one we could stand still long enough to take. He ended up being very afraid of the dinosaurs so we hightailed it out of there and ventured into Oceans and Mammals.

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy once we leave those big scary things behind us!


The mammals was far and above his favorite exhibit. He was fascinated by every creature. “Mommy, what’s that?” was uttered at least a hundred times. He begged to be lifted up to see the bats. He was VERY scared of the Grizzly Bear in a threatening pose but we talked about how that was his way of saying, “I need some space.” [Now he walks around the house saying, “I need some space.]

Do you know what I love about this picture? You’d think every kid on the planet would be fascinated by that giant rhinoceros in front of them, right? Not my son. He was enthralled with the pangolin. A little known and nearly extinct creature. That’s my boy!

Noteworthy: Everyone is still happy.


It is appropriate to mention that on Silas’ first trip to the Natural History Museum, he was given carte blanche choice on stuffed animal souvenir and he picked the duck-billed platypus. You can see Silas here with that little duck-bill peeking up at him.

Do you know what I love about this picture? He was so happy with his little anomaly.

Noteworthy: Clearly, he was happy even back then!


We are nearly toast at this point. Silas has walked the entire day. Emerson has not napped. We have had a great day exploring together and it is time to go. Our last sight upon leaving is this. So I get to talk to Silas (and Emerson) about Native Americans, our government and protesting. I don’t know how much of it will sink in but the seeds have been planted.

Do you know what I love about this picture? You can hardly see it all but it’s the tipis, the Washington Monument, the crane off to the right and all the vastly different people. I have always loved the great diversity found in our country and that our founding fathers insisted there be room for all people, all ways of life.

Noteworthy: Astonishingly, everyone is still happy.


And here we are on the final leg of our adventure! I don’t have one of us on the train because the boys started to meltdown once we got on-board. I also don’t have pictures of the two umbrellas who sat behind us on the train. It is due to them we were able to make that last stretch without a complete breakdown. The one construction worker, who in spite of being sent home early from his job because of a safety violation, spent the trip entertaining Silas and his T-rex toy. The working mom, who was exhausted from her day and on her way to take her children to piano lessons, spent the whole trip helping me entertain Emerson so I didn’t have to fly him around like an airplane for an hour. A train with thousands of commuters in the Nation’s Capitol during rush hour. Yet just the right umbrellas are sitting right where I need them.

Do you know what I love about this picture? Not just the people in it and their fortitude for such a BIG adventure but also the people NOT in it. All the people who helped me throughout the day. It is amazing how many people appeared throughout the day, opening an umbrella for just a moment to help us out. And we returned the favor too, by helping people with dropped bags, finding tables, giving up seats and helping with directions. If you open your eyes, and take it in, there are so many people out there simply being kind to one another.

Noteworthy: Thanks to several of unknown umbrellas, everyone is still happy!


So, do you know what I loved most about this trip?!?! That I had the courage to step outside my comfort zone and just do it. We had a fabulous adventure and we learned as much about our selves as what we set out to learn.

“It is only in adventure that some people suceed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” -Andre Gide

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