Thursday, June 16, 2011

The National Building Museum - not nearly as boring as it sounds!

Our Tuesday outing was to The National Building Museum in DC.  I thought Andrew was crazy when he bought us a family membership on Groupon, but I'm so glad that we got that awesome deal!  It's normally free for everything, but they have a special Lego exhibit that costs $5/person.  With our membership, we get up to 6 free tickets a day.  AND it turns out they're going to start charging admission at the end of the month, so we won't have to worry about paying for that, either.

We met friends there in the morning and played in the kids area first.  They call it the Building Zone and it's recommended for ages 2-6, but I think it's pretty awesome for all ages.  It's honestly like a mini children's museum - they have EVERY type of building block you could possibly imagine, tons of trucks, dress-up clothes, puzzles, books, a play house, trains, you name it!  It's still free to get in right now, but they're going to start charging $3/person at the end of the month, so go NOW while you still can (or just come with us and I'll get you free tickets).  We played there for a while - we were in and out changing diapers, feeding meters, etc.  The kids absolutely loved it, and John Paul (after he stopped freaking out when I got back from feeding the meter) played entirely by himself, only stopping to have me read him a couple of books. 

Afterwards we headed to the Lego exhibit upstairs.  I don't think I would ever actually pay $5 for the exhibit - I don't really care that much about the large Lego reconstructions of landmarks, but the real draw is the play area inside the exhibit.  Bins and bins FULL of every color, shape, and size Lego you can imagine.  John Paul had an absolute blast!


He's not entirely ready for actual Legos yet - he has a set of Duplos at home that he plays with every day.  But they have a bunch of Lego creations that they just leave out, and he has had a lot of fun with those every time, taking them apart and trying to put them back together.


This is only part of what they have, and it's definitely fun for adults AND kids (although I imagine it might be a little awkward for adults without kids with them...). 

They were setting up for an event in the main atrium, so we didn't get to play near the fountain or anything.  But normally it's a HUGE empty space that's lots of fun for running.  As soon as we got in the doors John Paul RAN from one side to the other, counting very slowly to 10 and stopping as soon as he reached 10 (I have no idea why). 

We played HARD and had a nice drive home (thankfully no traffic, unlike the miserable drive there).  Cecilia obliged me by falling asleep in the car, which seems to be her default these days.


And John Paul taught me that apples and carrots are GOOD car snacks...



But popcorn is NOT!  He loves it, but the car seat does not...



I'm hoping we can get back to the museum sometime soon.  I think it might be my favorite morning activity right now, although the bookstore is a close second.

Cecilia has gotten into a pretty awesome schedule - if we have a morning activity, she falls asleep in the car on the way there, is cheerful for a couple of hours, and then falls asleep on the way home.  John Paul has lunch and goes down for his nap, Cecilia and I play for a little longer and then she takes a nice long nap.  For my own sake, I'm going to need to vary our morning activities a little more.  I think we might even try a solo morning Mass soon, but NOT at our church.  If it goes poorly, we can just retreat to the cry room.  Maybe that'll be Friday's plan.

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