Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Weekend of Museums

Not sure how many of you have been to DC, let alone the National Aquarium, but if perchance you happen to be able to visit DC…don’t bother with the National Aquarium. My friends and I, fresh off the metro and ready to see some museums, bought a museum pass pack for Madame Tussaude’s, the Crime and Punishment museum, and the National Aquarium. 3 museums, 3 days that the passes were good, just over 40$, good deal you’d think. Nope, one third of that deal is not worth it. But we’ll get to that in a second.

How about the good stuff before the bad? Madame Tussaude’s was awesome. Even though it was 1/4th the size of the original in London (that one is wicked awesome), this little DC row house of a museum was a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed the interactive exhibits in the presidents gallery that allowed me to shake Jefferson’s hand, sit in on a meeting with Grant, watch a play with Lincoln (we tried to overlook the morbid side of that particular display), disembark Air Force One with the Kennedys…you get the point. I’m such a history nerd so I loved walking through and picking out the pose references. Also, with it being a museum and my friends and I completely embracing the tourist guise, enjoyed coming up with ways to goof off with said historical pose references. Give Teddy a kiss, lean lovingly into Lincoln arms; all with complete respect and admiration for our country’s leaders of course.

Skipping over the long line for pictures in the “Oval Office,” we dashed to the celebrities section of the museum, where again, goofing off ensued. Prom photos with Will Smith, lounging with Madonna, a kiss to George Clooney (of course), and a height picture to prove that I, in fact, am around the same height as Tom Cruise. To those of you that have stood next to me…so almost all of you…that means he’s short.

My favorite part of the museum however was the music artist section. I fulfilled a life dream in getting my picture with the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald; and, as an added bonus, shared a piano bench with the legendary Duke Ellington. The other highlight for me was strapping on a hockey helmet and sitting next to Alex Ovechkin. The Caps may not be my number one team but, due to them being so accessible, I’ve come to support them and occasionally have been known to Rock the Red.

Like I said, the wax museum was the fun part. The aquarium left the day on a sad note. (We ran out of time for C&P Museum.) First off, the entrance is not where Google said it was, so wandering the block surrounding 14th and Constitution in the bitter January wind added some extra fun. But once inside, you head downstairs to what looks like a dark basement and pay $10 (I didn’t actually get the 3 museum deal so had to purchase separately) to walk a very small loop lined with very small aquariums set into the wall. It looked like a Zoology professor’s basement with very sad, in most cases, not cute fish.

Maybe I’m spoiled with the aquariums that I’ve been to before in the past and set my expectations too high, but normally it’s safe to assume that something with the word “National,” while in our nation’s capitol, would be spectacular. But alas, it was not. I guess I’ll have to make a trip up to Baltimore for their aquarium, which I have heard from several sources, is amazing. (Plus, they say it has penguins, so win-win there.)

Not wanting to end on a negative note and even though the aquarium was less than impressive, I still do really enjoy getting to explore DC. It’s so easy to get into a routine—get up, go to work, go home, eat dinner while watching TV, sleep, repeat—but really there is so much that you should be doing regardless of where you live. Big city, little city, odd suburb, there’s bound to be something to explore and on which to form an opinion.

So with that, anyone want to go exploring? I’ll bring the camera.