Washington, D.C. – Day Two – National Mall & Smithsonian Museums

After watching egregious amounts of back episodes of Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman, and spending a good half of my weekend cleaning my living space and watching The Wolf of Wall Street (OMG, the debauchery!!), I’m just now getting around to continuing my blog posts from my trip last month to Washington, D.C.  I’m headed to Nebraska this weekend to meet my friend, Laura, for Sandhill Crane sightings, country road photography, and all-around fun.  Her birthday is Thursday, and I found a birdy gift I think she’ll just love!

Formalities out of the way, let’s get back to the main point of this post:  Mister “Macho Traveler” thinks he knows where he’s going, and ends up making an accidental trip into the wrong museum, but it ends up working out A-OK.

With rain pouring from the sky at a rather alarming rate after lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, I left my aunt back at The Library and took the short metro ride over to the Smithsonian/National Mall.  By the time I got off the train, the rain had turned to a light mist (D.C. weather is about as weird as weather in Southwest Kansas, which is saying something).  I photographed the Capitol and Washington Monument from afar with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone before making my way to the “National Gallery of Art.”

The U.S. Capitol building and Smithsonian Castle.

The U.S. Capitol building and Smithsonian Castle.

The Washington Monument, still being "dealt with" after being damaged during the 2011 earthquake that struck the area.

The Washington Monument, still being “dealt with” after being damaged during the 2011 earthquake that struck the area.

I say it this way because I honed in on a domed building on the Mall, walked up the stairs and – instead of seeing banners of renaissance art – saw pennants with butterflies and other natural creates.  “WTF?!” I thought to myself.  It turns out I’d arrived at the National Museum of Natural History, not the National Gallery of Art like I’d expected to spend a leisurely afternoon at.  Apparently disoriented (I mean, seriously?!) and short on time, I decided to go for it and snap some pics (I remembered there was an elephant and a dinosaur or two from a childhood visit).  Turns out this was a good move, as a major part of the museum is slated to close later next month for a $48 million, 5-year renovation.  I guess I’m glad I got to see them while I was still somewhat young!!

The entrance to *a museum on the Mall*, also known as the National Museum of Natural History.  Or so I've been led to believe...

The entrance to *a museum on the Mall*, also known as the National Museum of Natural History. Or so I’ve been led to believe…

Elephant display at the Natural History Museum.  How dramatic!!

Elephant display at the Natural History Museum. How dramatic!!

Dinosaurs, Oh My!!

Dinosaurs, Oh My!!

"I am Lion, HEAR ME ROAR!"

“I am Lion, HEAR ME ROAR!”

I couldn't *not* get a photo of the Hope Diamond, now could I?!

I couldn’t *not* get a photo of the Hope Diamond, now could I?!

Does anyone else find this ironic??

Does anyone else find this ironic??

IMG_3142

From Where I Stand:  Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.

From Where I Stand: Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.

After a brief jaunt through the museum, I headed outside, met by a rainless sky and a Stomp-like performer’s music.  I decided to slowly make my way east on the Mall towards the Capitol building on the way to my aunt’s office and the end of my day in the city.  In a way, I did get to visit the National Gallery of Art.  It turns out the two are very close (let the rationalization begin…), and I made the time to walk through the Sculpture Garden, which I hadn’t done in the past.  The sculptures were quite fascinating, and I took Hipsta shots of my favorites and have posted them below.

Roxy Paine's "Graft" • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Roxy Paine’s “Graft” • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Alexander Calder's "Cheval Rouge (Red Horse)" • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Alexander Calder’s “Cheval Rouge (Red Horse)” • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Hector Guimard's "An Entrance to the Paris Métropolitain" • • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Naturally, as a Francophile and lover of these Metro entrances in Paris, I freaked out.  Just a bit, though.

Hector Guimard’s “An Entrance to the Paris Métropolitain” • • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Naturally, as a Francophile and lover of these Metro entrances in Paris, I freaked out. Just a bit, though.

Louise Bourgeois' "Spider" • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Louise Bourgeois’ “Spider” • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X" • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Ice Rink!!  Too bad no one was on it - can you imagine how many awesome photographs I could have gotten?!!  Oh well...

Ice Rink!! Too bad no one was on it – can you imagine how many awesome photographs I could have gotten?!! Oh well…

Robert Indiana's "AMOR" • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Robert Indiana’s “AMOR” • National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Stay tuned for the final posts (you didn’t think the time would come, did you?) from my trip to D.C.!

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