Having the Smithsonian museums a hop, skip, and a jump away from my house reaaaaally spoils me. I just love having a weekend afternoon with nothing to do but meander through exhibits I haven't seen before, or revisit some of my favorites.
The NMoNH is one I've been to several times since moving to DC. I love so many aspects about it (other than it being free, of course).
The ocean exhibit is, in a word, awesome. Understanding a part of nature as enormous and complex as the ocean (not that I pretend to be an expert), the NMoNH does a fine job capturing and bringing to life every part.
Another favorite: the animals exhibits! Who doesn't love sizing themselves up against a grizzly or lynx?! Good thing they're stuffed.
There are really well put together seasonal/special exhibits, too. Currently, there is a special exhibit on orchids - complete with a mind-blowing display of award winning species from around the world. So gorgeous. Also, currently there is a special exhibit on artifacts from Cyprus. I love how varied these exhibits are, but each done with meticulous detail.
Oh, and there is also an IMAX theatre! (not free)
There are, of course, a few drawbacks. Yes, crazy children would be one. But you'll get that anywhere. My more practical complaints:
-While there are a lot of great interactive features, too many of them seem to be geared to elementary school kids. Or...broken.
- The layout seems to be slightly haphazard, which may add to its charm for some, but drives me a little bonkers.
In all, a fabulous gem in this fair city that all people, visitors or residents, should check out!!!
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