This was mostly a trip to visit family. Auntie Chris, of course; but Will's sister and her family also live in the area, so we were able to (how wonderful) spend two lovely afternoons at the pool with them.
Aside from all that, there is a lot to do in the DC area and we tried to fit at least some of it into this trip. A few highlights.
Baltimore Aquarium, where Liam saw dolphins for the first time. Note, they don't do a dolphin "show" any more at the aquarium; instead they let people view a "training session," one every hour. Thank God in the training session we were able to view they were working on standard captive dolphin moves like jump in the air and spin around. Hate to be at the training session where they are working on things like pull over to the side of the pool and show us your flipper so we can do a blood test or whatever.
Air and space, both flavors. At air and space at Dullas airport Liam saw an actual space shuttle (In person it is somehow both bigger and smaller than I expected it to be.) and about a million aircraft and all manner of aircraft engines. It is a very huge, very air conditioned space and was not very crowded when we were there on a Friday afternoon which made everyone feel a little relaxed about letting Liam run up and down the long ramps. Lots of exercise on the first full day in town = good for staving off jet lag. At air and space on the mall Liam saw the actual Wright brother's plane and touched the moon rock. Also saw a movie in the planetarium about which the docent assured me "It is perfect for a 5 year old -- it gives a real sense of wonder about space." and about which Liam said, 5 minutes in when the first star blew up, "Mommy! I am not ready for this movie. This is the scariest movie I have ever seen and you should not have taken me here." Great.
National zoo, of course, which we got to early. The grounds open at 6AM and the animals start to be outside in their enclosures by 8 or earlier; we got there at 9ish and it was cool and perfect. Otters, lions, orangutangs, and fishing cats were particularly active. The otters were amazing and numerous, running and swimming all around and going down their water slide. We did not see the baby cheetahs, but we did see the panda, so all good. Liam climbed on every animal statue in the zoo, which must be what they're there for.
Butterfly room at the natural history museum, where to my dismay butterflies landed on me and on Auntie Chris, but not on Liam. Damn butterflies. He was pretty disappointed but recovered with ice cream.
It was great fun, and we are so glad to be back. The air at our house even on days that pass for hot here is salty and cooled by the sea. As much as I loved, and often still miss, living in DC whenever I get here I know I'm home.