Sore Feet Equal Two GREAT Days of Discovery

Washington DC

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the cooler weather, spending time out in the garden and planning for the upcoming holidays.  even with all of that going on, I still find my self thinking back to the fun we had on our vacation to the east coast.  

I have talked about our trip to North Carolina and Williamsburg, VA and now I would love to share with you our about our time in Washington DC.  If you are just looking for plant or gardening content, then feel free to stop here……but I do have a couple of photos of plants that we saw there ๐Ÿ˜‰

So Washington DC is the third major destination of our trip.  We had spent a little time before our trip, educating our kids about our government and how it works.  *I confess that I showed them old “Schoolhouse Rock” episodes….did you know that they can be found on DVD?  I learned a lot about history when these played in between Saturday morning cartoons when I was growing up.

Washington DC

Our first visit was to the Ford Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.  We were able to see exactly where he was sitting and the presentation by the park rangers was very interesting.

Washington DC

The kids really enjoyed this as did my husband who had never been to Washington DC before.  I remember visiting the Ford Theater when I was 12 and it was interesting to me even then.

Our next destination was one of my favorites….the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. 

Washington DC

Great White Sharks really do have big teeth ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next on our journey was to be a tour of the Capitol.  As we walking from the Smithsonian to the Capitol, I saw a pretty flowering shrub.

I have no idea what it is, (my expertise is fairly regional to the western United States), but it was very pretty.

I was looking forward to our tour of the Capitol.  We had scheduled a tour with our congressional representative and were to meet at his office ahead of time.

Washington DC

I think Kai and Gracie are saluting before we went inside ๐Ÿ˜‰

The intern who was to lead us on our tour let the kids sit in our representative’s desk, which was pretty neat…

Washington DC

Kai looks awfully comfortable in his seat ๐Ÿ˜‰

We were ready for our tour of the capitol – the representative’s offices are located in different buildings….not the capitol itself.  The Capitol is connected to the office buildings by underground tunnels, which is the way we were able to travel.

Washington DC

Not the best picture, but it was cool to be traveling underground.


Up inside of the dome, there is actually a small walkway the surrounds the painting at the top.  Only only congress men and women are allowed to go up there.  I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the Capitol was….there was much past history to see as well as current history in the making and artwork everywhere.  We also got to go inside of the House Chamber which was pretty cool (we weren’t to take pictures though).  

I was surprised to learn that each state had two statues inside of the Capitol representative of a famous/historical person from their state.  Now, this is where my California upbringing became evident….I had no idea who the Arizona statues represented…I’d never heard of them before (neither had my husband who was raised in AZ).

But, I did know who the California statues represented.  The first was Ronald Reagan whom everyone knows.  But I was really excited to see the second statue….

Abraham Lincoln

As native Californians, Father Junipero Serra was a historical figure that all children grow up learning about.  He was the founder of the California missions.

The large paintings and a statue of Abraham Lincoln (Illinois’ statue) was a favorite of the kids.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

As we got ready to leave, we noticed the beautiful view from the window of the Capitol that showed the Washington Monument down the Mall.

Washington Monument

Our day was almost at an end and our feet were really hurting, but we paused to take a picture as we left the Capitol.


It was so interesting to see how our government works and the kids learned a lot.

We did see the Supreme Court building in the distance and made sure to take a photo of the kids in front so that they can say that they had “seen” it.

Washington DC

Now for those of you who are waiting patiently to see some pictures of plants, here are two that we encountered on our walk back to our hotel.  Sadly, we did not have time to tour the Botanic Gardens.

Botanic Gardens.

Yes, Lantana does not only grow here, but flourishes.

Botanic Gardens.

I can’t remember what these flowers were, but they were beautiful.

Well, we had done quite a bit in our first full day in DC, but our second day promised to be just as full.

Our second day in DC began in the National Archives where we viewed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Washington DC

You cannot take photos of these famous documents since flash photography fades the writing. The Declaration was already to faded, it was hard to read. But, it was VERY cool to see it. I kept telling the kids that this was the document that was the basis for the movie “National Treasure”, which they love.

Our next destination was so interesting and we had to schedule a tour via our congressman’s office.  It was totally worth it.

Washington DC

Yep, we got to see the White House.  Actually, we went inside and saw quite a few of the rooms on the first floor.  Again, you are not allowed to bring anything inside besides your wallet and cell phone (turned off), so we have no pictures.  But it was so interesting to see these beautiful rooms, which I had only seen on television and in history books.  The gardens the we could see had Mexican Bush Sage, which was just beautiful.

Once outside, we were allowed to use our cell phone to take a picture, just to prove we were there ๐Ÿ™‚

Washington DC

Our last planned visit of the day was to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Actually, my husband and son went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and us girls went to the American History Museum.

I do love American culture and there were a few exhibits that I was looking forward to seeing.

Washington DC

Julia Child’s kitchen.

Washington DC

I loved the display of dresses from the first ladies.

I think Gracie’s favorite was seeing Kermit the Frog….

Washington DC

We saw so much more…..Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Abraham Lincoln’s Hat and…

Washington DC

We actually took this photo to show Kai later.  He is a total Star Wars fan and I think he was a little jealous that his sisters got to see C3P0.

Well, at the end of two full days in DC, we had seen quite a bit.  But, there was so much more to see which gives us a reason to return someday.

Our evening was spent eating a surprisingly great dinner via room service at our hotel.  Our feet were too sore to contemplate going out to dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰

The next morning we were due to drive up to Amish Country up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  We were due to stay at a working farm Bed & Breakfast.  I could hardly wait.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    What a great trip for your entire family! We lived in Fairfax County, just outside of DC when my husband was in the Coast Guard in the early 1970s. Our families always wanted to tour DC when they came to visit and one year my in-laws got tickets for a White House tour. Our oldest child was a baby then and not fond of crowds. She started crying and we were asked to leave, then escorted by the Secret Service right out the front door! Then we took a picture in that exact same spot that you are photographed in. We enjoy telling people that we were kicked out of the White House ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Darla
    Darla says:

    The tour I'm getting is great and I don't have sore feet! I believe your flowering shrub might be a crape myrtle and the other flower looks like wax begonia to me..???

  3. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    What a wonderful trip. It is interesting for everyone but I think the children will get more out of history in school since they saw some of the things from it.
    I went when I was a child and it was so much fun to see everything.

  4. Liza
    Liza says:

    What a great trip. I have many fond memories of my trip to DC as a child, and even more from when I lived there after college.

    Ginny, you're funny!

  5. Ian
    Ian says:

    Very nice blog, thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures. The mysterious plants are: Lagerstroemia and (probably) Begonia.

    Happy Gardening!

  6. Pam/Digging
    Pam/Digging says:

    Yes, Darla ID'd the plants correctly: crepe myrtle and wax begonia. Very common in the South.

    It looks like a fun trip. We went a couple of summers ago, and boy do I remember the sore feet! Lots of wonderful things to see though.

  7. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    Hi Noelle,
    Your kids will never forget this trip and will talk about it down through the years.We've all seen the pictures, but they don't due these wonderful treasures justice. I have been there and remember the walking and how tired I was at the end of the day. Balisha

  8. leavesnbloom
    leavesnbloom says:

    I really enjoyed seeing all the buildings that I'm just used to seeing on the news. I'm sure the kids had such an enjoyable experience and learned so much and now back at school they will always be able to relate to their visit when they are doing history lessons and current affairs.

  9. Heather's Haven
    Heather's Haven says:

    Washington D.C. is still one of my favorite vacations. So many beautiful monuments, and I was lucky enough to go when the cherry trees were blooming, gorgeous.
    Also, the first pink plant you could not identify looked a lot like my pink butterfly bush. (One of my favs in my own garden.)

  10. Heather's Haven
    Heather's Haven says:

    Washington D.C. is still one of my favorite vacations. So many beautiful monuments, and I was lucky enough to go when the cherry trees were blooming, gorgeous.
    Also, the first pink plant you could not identify looked a lot like my pink butterfly bush. (One of my favs in my own garden.)

  11. Helen
    Helen says:

    Schoolhouse Rock videos are the best. They just never get old. Why did they ever stop showing them!
    And, I agree about the amount of walking D.C. brings. I don’t think we’ve ever on any hike walked as much as our day in D.C.

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