Washington Road Trip Part 2
Washington Weekend Trip Continues
Day Two and we wake up nice and early so that we can head to the Washington National Smithsonian Zoo. Which by the way is free as is all Smithsonian Museums thanks to James Smithson. Smithson was never married and had no children. Therefore, when he wrote his will, he left his estate to his nephew or his nephew’s family if his nephew died before Smithson. If his nephew was to die without heirs, however, Smithson’s will stipulated that his estate was to be donated to the founding of an educational institution in Washington, D.C., in the United States. In 1835, his nephew died and so could not claim to be the recipient of his estate. Therefore, Smithson became the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. despite having never visited the United States.
Now that we have mastered the metro in DC we hop on the train and head out to see the Panda’s and new baby Bei Bei. The zoo is built on a hill so when you enter from the top it is a nice stroll downhill but then when it’s time to leave it is a long walk back to the top. Luckily there is a nice Irish bar called #Nanny O’Briens with great food and nice staff. The Zoo was good, not as big as the Toronto Zoo but we got some good photos.
With some time to spare we headed over to the Library of Congress. Located right across the street from the Capitol building. The books were pretty amazing and so old and we didn’t get to see most of it since it was busy. We did go through the Jacob Riis Exhibition of “How the Other Half Lives”. The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress, but which is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The library is the second-largest library in the world by collection size, with the largest being the British Library.
The Museum of Natural History
Since we had a bit of time to kill we went to The Museum of Natural History. Here we got a glimpse of the Hope Diamond and a few other gems. The Hope Diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world. With ownership records dating back almost four centuries. Its much-admired rare blue colour is due to trace amounts of boron atoms. Weighing 45.52 karats, its exceptional size has revealed new findings of the formation of gemstones.
This jewel is believed to have originated in India and was known to have been cut from the French Blue (Le Bleu de France), presented to King Louis XIV. It acquired its name when it appeared in the catalog of a gem collection owned by a London banking family called Hope in 1839. Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean was often seen wearing it after she bought it. It has been on exhibition at Washington’s National Museum of Natural History since 1958.
Rumoured to carry a curse I got to see the beautiful Hope Diamond. It was last reported to be insured for $250 million.
The dinosaurs and mummies section deserved a quick walk through before we left. Then we wandered a bit before heading out to refresh before a great dinner at #EpicSmokehouse.