It was so hot we opted not to get off the tram at the eternal flame (JFK's grave) and at Arlington house but to go directly to the tomb of the unknown soldier. During the summer the changing of the guard happens every half hour. We got there for the 11:00 switch. You sit on these marble steps with no shade (did I mention it was hot?) and you just melted!
The kids were quite in awe at the precision and exactness about the soldier guarding the tomb. They loved watching him click his heels (and proceeded to practice heel clicking for the next several days).
We all loved watching the ceremony, but we were all glad when it was over. We were hot and hot and hot. . . and thirsty . . . and red in the face. But just as we stood up, we were asked to stand at attention while a wreath was presented. That was neat to see, but again another 10 minutes in the now over 100 degrees direct sun on the hottest steps in America. We finally got in line for the tram, when an ambulance showed up and blocked the road (someone fainted from the heat). By the time the ambulance was cleared the road was closed for a funeral procession. It was after 12:30 before we got back on the tram. We then left our car at the cemetary parking garage and took the metro to the Smithsonian. We got lunch at the castle cafe and saw the "treasure chest" inside the castle. (this was my favorite thing -- they have 1 or 2 of the best artifacts from each of the smithsonian museums. They also had a great movie about all the different museums and what was in each.
We then walked straight across the mall to the Museum of Natural History.
While crossing the mall, you have a great view of the capital.
The highlights in this museum were the famous elephant!
The Hope diamond (and all the other jewelry -- I think Julianne took a photo of every necklace and bracelet in the museum!)
all the animals!
but the highlight was picking souvenir rocks!
We then walked up the block to the American History Museum. Madelyn and Adam caught a little catnap on the way.
The highlights of this museum were the dumbo ride from disneyland and the ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
Finally it was time to hope back on the metro and head to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Every Tuesday at 7:00 they put on a full marine parade complete with band and a silent performance. This is really an impressive show. The band is amazing. Then several brigades of marines come out and one does an amazing drill in complete silence while twirling their guns and bayonets. The precision is almost unbelievable. Trent said this show was this favorite thing we saw in Washington. (Adam was so engrossed he insisted on taking pictures nearly the whole time)
We then caught the marine busses back to Arlington and drove back to our friend's house. We got home a little after 10 pm and we were exhausted!