Hard as it may be to imagine, real people do live in what the rest of the country refers to as Washington, D.C., and what we longtime residents more affectionately know as the District of Columbia. One benefit of living in the capitol city is our proximity to all the attractions on the National Mall. It's a great place to visit on a winter's Sunday afternoon. One of the little gems nestled among the museums is the skating rink in the Smithsonian Institution's "Sculpture Garden."
From here you get dramatic views of the capital building. Now imagine this same space on January 20, filled with a million or more people come to hear the new president's inaugural address.
We were surprised to see the famous carousel outside the Smithsonian's castle-like headquarters building open for business on such a cold winter day. No waiting in line today. We couldn't resist taking a turn.
Just across The Mall is the Natural History museum, famous for the huge, stuffed elephant in its rotunda, as well as the gem collection containing the Hope Diamond. We found a new mammal exhibit with ferocious lions attacking a wildebeast.
Daughter is always anxious to visit the Insect Zoo at the Natural History museum. And this year we found another new attraction: A butterfly exhibit swarming with real butterflies. The enclosure is the size of a small house that from the outside looks like a space capsule. It's filled with bright lights and flowers and hundreds of butterflies flying around freely. It's a toasty-warm place to linger and be amazed.