Thursday, August 28, 2008

Washington trip recap

Since I forgot my camera (again!) and didn't really have any great pictures on it anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures from our recent trip to Washington, DC.

On our first night in town, we walked around the monuments at sunset. I really liked the way that this picture turned out. You can see the famous Lincoln statue in the background, and the sunset was unbelievably colorful!If anyone will be in the Washington area, I would highly recommend a trip to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. In addition to seeing fantastic art, they recently enclosed the courtyard and this was one of the most pleasant places we found to hang out for a bit. It was extremely peaceful, and we loved lying on the benches and looking up at the ceiling.

Thomas joked that he may start a career in insect photography. I will spare you the pictures of flies and bees, but here are two of his favorite butterfly pictures. I believe one was taken at the zoo and the other at the botanic gardens, but I can't be sure.This goldfinch was pretty well camouflaged by the sunflowers near where he chose to perch! We saw him while sitting outside of the US Botanic Garden, waiting for it to open.We did quite a bit of hanging out in gardens! Much of our previous travel has been in off season, when the gardens are nowhere near their peak beauty, so we really enjoyed this aspect of our trip, even though it did mean that we were there during some pretty hot times!

These birds were taking turns cooling themselves by bathing:There is a rose garden right outside of the Smithsonian Castle, and I think these were my favorites (although there were many beautiful flowers to choose from, so let's just say they were near the top!):Because we're Smithsonian members (which I would highly recommend to anyone as you get a fantastic monthly magazine -- that's actually the main reason we decided to vacation in DC!), we got to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Castle, which is the visitors' information center and where some administrative offices are located.

This tower of taxidermy was in the behind-the-scenes section. This was the only parrot that I saw in that tower. I like to think he died a natural death and then was preserved:We had a wonderful time at the National Zoo (another Smithsonian entity). We took tons of pictures, but I'll only put a few of them here.

They have a wonderful Amazon exhibit that starts on the lower level with giant aquariums. Although I'm not sure why they were in the Amazon exhibit, we saw some Australian Rainbowfish......just like what's in our aquarium at home.I did feel a bit bad for our guys that they have nowhere near the options in their lives as these at the zoo (or those in the wild, for that matter).

Then, on top, there's a replica of a jungle, with free-flying birds and a few other creatures. Of course it was the birds that interested us most!

I found this guy to be exceedingly beautiful, and he kind of seemed to be following us around. He reminded me a bit of a cardinal.And this guy was sitting on his nest -- I don't think this was in the Amazon exhibit, though. Even though it's only been a week, my mind is starting to get fuzzy on the details!Every night, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has a free concert at 6:00 pm. We had a great time listening to an artist we had never heard of before and ended up buying his CD. We went up to the terrace, which had lovely views. Here is the Jefferson Memorial -- we never made it there, unfortunately!The morning of our departure, we had a few hours to sightsee, and we took a trip out to see the National Cathedral. Woodrow Wilson is buried there, the only president buried within the confines of DC.

I was struck by how beautiful this statue of Washington was with the light streaming in filtered by the stained-glass windows.Once again, we had a fabulous trip. I do love traveling! Even though I miss the parrots, and I think it's a bit unfair to them to leave them for so long. I'm glad to see that they're starting to understand the routine that takes place when we leave. It now takes much less time for things to return to normal once we get back, and they're starting to feel more comfortable with our bird sitter. Since you never know what will happen in the future, we're trying to travel as much as we can now while we have our health and the means to do so!


Shannon Ryan said...

Thank you for the great photos - I've never been there, so this was a treat. Great insect photos, Thomas!

Mary said...

Thanks for the nice comment :) There is so much to see and do there -- a week was definitely pushing it!

Beloved Parrot said...

The dead parrot you saw in the tower of taxidermy -- was that the extinct Carolina Parrot?

Mary said...

BP -- I'm pretty sure it was an amazon of some kind. There is a carolina parakeet in the basement of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. Its feathers weren't as bright as I was expecting, but I don't know if that was due to taxidermy methods? I couldn't get a good picture of it. Such a sad story of how the carolina parakeet was eliminated here...

DweezelJazz said...

I just love this post! The butterfly photos are beautiful and the photo of Washington with the stain glass window light is fantastic. Thank you!