Have a Capital Time in Washington, D.C

By Runice, Jacky | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 26, 2001 | Go to article overview

Have a Capital Time in Washington, D.C


Runice, Jacky, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Jacky Runice Daily Herald Correspondent

A week in the 69 square miles that make up our nation's capital is not nearly enough time for a satisfying search of all that Washington, D.C., has to offer families.

With all of the new and expanding attractions, families should plan their visit to the District of Columbia as carefully as they would a trip to Walt Disney World, choosing favorite museums, events and sites.

If the film "Jurassic Park III" has ignited your kids' interest in dinosaurs, pencil in a stop at the National Museum of Natural History. The 65-million-year-old triceratops underwent a recent facelift using advanced laser technology, and now it doesn't look a day over 64 million years. Actually, the result is a more accurate and detailed cast skeleton of the beast that is now face to face with a combatant Tyrannosaurus rex. More relatives of triceratops are located in the display illustrating the evolution and diversity of this dinosaur group. The exhibit includes interactive videos explaining the high-tech process used to spiff up our prehistoric pal.

The National Museum of Natural History boasts 120 million specimens, displays explaining human adaptation and various cultures, a wonderful sea-life exhibit featuring a living coral reef and a gem collection that will dazzle all.

The National Museum of American History wows kids with cool artifacts that help make history come alive: Little Golden Books, movie posters and artifacts from TV shows, puppets and 50,000 sound recordings dating back to 1903. In the Hands On History Room, kids can climb on a high-wheel bicycle and pedal, send a message by telegraph and experience being a 19th-century postal worker.

The Hands On Science Center promises innovative activities, such as exploring DNA fingerprinting, measuring radioactive hot spots and using lasers to measure distance. Parents and grandparents might want to check out a new exhibit called "Paint by Number: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s." It explores the paint-by-number fad from the viewpoint of artists, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and critics.

Watch jaws drop at the National Air and Space Museum's collection, which includes the Wright brothers' 1903 aircraft, the Apollo 11 capsule and more. The museum will open an annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in 2003. The annex will feature spacious exhibit hangars and an observation tower from which visitors can monitor air traffic.

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