Airplanes

A very fun father and son day!

A few weeks ago, Ryan took a day off from work to have a special “Daddy-Noah Day” before school started. Noah got to choose what to do – he was so excited!

They took the bus to our metro station and then rode the metro to DC to visit the National Air & Space Museum. They saw lots of planes and NASA equipment. Noah got to “fly” this Cessna 150 too – very cool!

After they finished at the museum, they hopped on the metro again and met me for lunch at a restaurant near my office. So yeah, I got in on the fun too!

After lunch Ryan and Noah headed to Old Town Alexandria. They took the metro to the King Street station and then rode the trolley to the waterfront area. Then they took the water taxi across the Potomac River to National Harbor, MD.

They passed sailboats along the way and saw planes flying overhead too. And of course, Noah always loves going under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

As you can tell, it was a nice day for a boat ride! Here’s a selfie photo of the happy duo on the boat…

When they got off the water taxi, they headed straight to the Capital Wheel.

The top of the wheel is 185 feet high, so they had a great view of the buildings and boats below and the Wilson Bridge in the distance. Yeah, they had a bird’s-eye view of their water taxi too. Ha.

Next they visited the Awakening, which is a giant cast-aluminum sculpture of a man buried in the sand. Check it out!

Then they boarded the water taxi again to return to Alexandria…

Ryan joked that it would have taken him 15 minutes to drive home from National Harbor. But instead, they took the water taxi to the King Street Trolley…rode the trolley to the metro…rode the metro to our station…and then took the bus home. For a boy that loves all things transportation, it was a perfect day!

Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Summer | 1 Comment

Innovations in Flight Family Day

Two weekends ago, Ryan and Noah went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. They really lucked out too, as they just happened to be there on the same day as the annual Innovations in Flight Family Day – score!

The Center has two massive hangars full of military, recreation, and commercial aircraft – but Noah and Ryan spent most of their time looking over the special outside display featured at the Innovations in Flight event.

They got to see Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner up close…

They saw quite a few planes from the Air Force too, including an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a C-17 Globemaster, and an A-10 Thunderbolt, which is also known as the Warthog.

They also saw an Osprey from the Marine Corps.

They saw a B-2 Bomber fly overhead as part of the display too…

An added bonus: Noah got to “drive” an ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting) truck – very fun!

And of course, no trip to the Udvar-Hazy Center would be complete without seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery. It is enormous!

They checked out some of the military aircraft in the hangars too, including this Sikorsky helicopter.

Yep, Ryan and Noah had a very fun afternoon at the Innovations in Flight event. The Udvar-Hazy Center is definitely one of their favorite places to visit, so we’ll be back again soon!

Categories: Airplanes, Fun outings, Trucks | 1 Comment

A fun weekend getaway in Minnesota with Grandma and Grandpa

Two weekends ago Noah and I flew to Minneapolis to hang out with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod for a few days. Here’s a photo of Noah waiting for our flight.

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We flew in midday Friday, and Grandma and Grandpa picked us up from the airport.

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We headed straight to the Mall of America. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café, and then we went to the Lego Store – shocker, I know!

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Next we headed to Nickelodeon Universe in the middle of the mall for rides, rides, rides! Noah and Grandpa Rod went on three of Noah’s favorite rides from our previous trips: the Big Rigs, the Barnyard Hayride roller coaster, and Diego’s Rescue Rider (or as Noah calls it, “the crazy bus”).

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Then Noah and Grandma Debbie drove the large remote control trucks.

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Our next stop was the Sea Life Aquarium that’s in the mall – Noah was so excited! We started with a special behind-the-scenes tour. We got to visit the laboratory and learn about how they treat and maintain the 1.3 million gallons of water in the aquarium. We also got to visit the kitchen and learn about how they prepare the food and feed the fish. The best part of the tour was going on the deck above the tanks and seeing the sharks and fish swimming below.

After the behind-the-scenes tour, we headed to the Pacific Northwest Rockpool where Noah and Grandma Debbie got to pet sea anemones. Their tentacles feel so slimy! We also saw sea stars and sea cucumbers in this exhibit.

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Next we headed to Ray Lagoon to see the stingrays and skate.

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After Ray Lagoon we saw exhibits on Jellyfish, seahorses, blue tangs (the Dory fish), clownfish (the Nemo fish) and pufferfish.

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Next we headed to the main exhibit – the giant glass tunnel – to walk through the Rainforest Reef, Shark Cove and Sturgeon Lake exhibits. Noah’s favorite part of the tunnel was seeing the sharks! We saw brown-banded bamboo sharks and sandtiger sharks. He really liked the sea turtles too.

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After the aquarium we met up with Aunt Jenny and cousin Abby for supper. They happened to be in Minneapolis that weekend too – great timing!

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The next day we headed back to the Mall of America for more fun. We started at the small Minnesota Children’s Museum hands-on play area.

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Then we headed back to Nickelodeon Universe for more rides. Noah’s first ride of the day was Swiper’s Sweeper with Grandpa Rod. This was another of Noah’s favorite rides from our previous trips.

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Then we tried a few new rides – new to us anyway. Noah rode the Rugrats Reptarmobiles (the small bumper cars) on his own and then went on the Crazy Cars (the BIG bumper cars) with Grandpa.

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Here’s a short compilation of videos of Noah going on rides with Grandpa Rod. As you can see, Noah had a blast! I think the big kid did too.

As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

And here’s a short video of Noah riding the small bumper cars. Crazy driver!

Don’t worry, I got in on the fun too. Noah and I went on the big Ferris wheel in the middle of the mall. Yeah, we had some great views of all the excitement!

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We had a busy few days, so we picked up a pizza on our way out of the mall and we spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the hotel. We weren’t too tired to go swimming though!

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We headed back to the airport Sunday morning. Here is a photo of us taking off over Minnesota.

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Ryan was tracking our flight on his phone. Here is the screenshot of our flight path from Minneapolis back to Baltimore. It shows that we were going 565 miles per hour at 33,000 feet when we flew over Ohio. Noah thought that this was pretty cool!

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It was a quick trip to Minnesota, but we had an AWESOME time with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. We’ll see you again soon!

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Categories: Airplanes, Aquariums, Cars, Cousins, Fun outings, Grandparents, Legos, Minnesota, Theme Parks, Trucks | 1 Comment

Museum fun: planes and trolleys!

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves all things transportation – and this past month we visited two of Noah’s favorite transportation museums in Maryland.

Our first museum outing was to the Aviation Museum in College Park. The museum is at the College Park Airport, which is the oldest continually operated airport in the world – it’s over 100 years old.

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The museum features ten or so large planes that were made between 1901 and 1946. Some of the planes were parked on the ground and some were suspended from the ceiling. While a few of the planes were reproductions, they were all really cool.

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Noah’s favorite plane at the museum was this 1939 Taylorcraft that has been retrofitted as a hands-on “imagination Plane” for kids to explore and sit in. While in the cockpit, Noah got to use the controls to move the ailerons and elevator. Pretty cool!

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Since the plane is a two-seater, Ryan got to join in too.

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In the hands-on area, Noah got to play with flight simulators. As you can see, the big kid did too!

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Here’s a short video of Pilot Noah at the controls…

As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

We also visited the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville. The coolest thing about the museum is riding the electric streetcar on the museum’s one-mile rail line. This streetcar is from Toronto and was built in 1951.

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Next we visited the museum’s Street Car Hall, which houses numerous American and international streetcars. The U.S. streetcars were from New York City, Philadelphia and D.C., and the international streetcars were from Germany, Belgium and England. Some of the streetcars are more than 100 years old – very cool!

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Noah also enjoyed “steering” the model streetcar along the tracks and turning on the signal lights…

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We’ve written about the aviation and trolley museums before – they are two of our favorite nearby outings. We definitely plan to visit again, so stay tuned to read even more!

Categories: Airplanes, Fun outings, Maryland, Trolleys | Leave a comment

A fun afternoon in College Park, MD

This past Saturday we spent the afternoon in nearby College Park, MD. Our main reason for our visit was to go to the football game at the University of Maryland. It had been raining all day though, and it was still raining when we got to College Park, so we decided to make a pit stop at the College Park Aviation Museum while the rain passed. We’ve driven past the museum several times, but we never had time to stop in. The rain gave us a great reason to finally check it out!

A little background: The museum is at the College Park Airport, which is the oldest continually operated airport in the world. The airfield is over 100 years old and is known for many “firsts” in aviation. A few things we learned: Wilbur Wright trained the first military pilots here in 1909; the first Army mile-high flight took place here in 1912; and the first controlled helicopter flight took place here in 1924. Very Cool!

The museum features ten or so large planes that were made between 1901 and 1946. Some of the planes were parked on the ground and some were suspended from the ceiling. While a few of the planes were reproductions, they were all really cool!

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Noah’s favorite plane at the museum was this 1939 Taylorcraft that has been retrofitted as a hands-on “imagination Plane” for kids to explore and sit in. While in the cockpit, Noah got to use the controls to move the ailerons and elevator. Pretty cool! He couldn’t quite reach the pedals to move the rudder, but I’m sure he’ll be able to soon enough. He’s growing fast!

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Since the plane is a two-seater, Ryan got to join in too!

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In the hands-on area, Noah got to play with flight simulators. As you can see, the big kid did too!

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The hands-on area also included an exhibit that used beach balls and air blowers to show how low pressure and high pressure enable a plane to fly. According to the explanation on the placard, this is known as the Bernoulli Effect…just for future reference in case any of us end up on Jeopardy. Ha.

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After we finished at the museum, we headed to the football stadium to watch the Terps play Purdue. As I mentioned before, it had been raining all day, but the weather cleared up a bit for the second half.

Here are a few photos of the game.

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Here’s a photo of the cannon and fireworks at the end zone too. Maryland shoots off the cannon every time the Terps score…and since the Terps did really well (they won 50 to 7), we saw and heard a lot of the cannon.

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And of course, no sporting event is complete without concessions food. Cheese pizza and French fries – yummy!

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Yep, we had a fun weekend and we hope you did too!

Categories: Airplanes, Fun outings, Maryland, Sports | Leave a comment

More fun with Jewel and Jenson!

This past weekend Ryan’s brother Jeff and his family stopped in Alexandria for a quick overnight visit. Noah was so excited to see his cousins Jewel and Jenson again!

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Our main outing during their visit was going to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land at National Airport. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Gravelly Point is one of Noah’s favorite places!

We saw fifteen or so planes take off while we were there. Check it out! Yeah, the planes seemed so close!

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The kids played soccer and raced around while we waited for the next plane to fly overhead. It was definitely a beautiful day to be outside! (By the way, the water in the background is the Potomac River.)

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The kids worked up quite an appetite at Gravelly Point, so we picked up pizza on our way home. Yummy!

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We spent the rest of their visit relaxing at the house. The kids raced cars and trains, built with blocks and magnetic tiles, and watched cartoons…and as you’ll see, the big kids did too!

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The kids also found the bin of Noah’s old Halloween costume, so they of course had to dress up. Check out these cool characters: a monkey, dragon and dinosaur!

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Yeah, the kids definitely had a blast playing and goofing around!

Our visit with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Jill, Jewel and Jenson was short, but we had an AWESOME time! We’ll see you all again soon!

Categories: Airplanes, Cousins, Fun outings, Our neighborhood, Summer | Leave a comment

Friends, fun and airplanes!

This past week our friends Justin and Tabitha and their two kids visited DC from South Dakota as part of their summer vacation. On Sunday we met them at the National Air & Space Museum. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah LOVES airplanes (yes, Ryan does too!), so this was the perfect place to meet up.

We saw lots of planes, NASA equipment, space junk and so much more. Check it out!

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The kids also got to “fly” their own airplanes…

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After we finished at the museum, we had a quick snack outside in the shade. It was hot, hot, hot that day, so the popsicles and lemonade hit the spot!

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What a fun outing and chance to catch up! Justin and I first visited the National Air & Space Museum 20 years ago as part of our middle school trip to DC. It was really cool to meet there again with our families. Yep, we love sharing our neighborhood with friends and family from home. Hint, hint, hint! Ha.

Categories: Airplanes, DC, Fun outings | 1 Comment

A weekend visit from Uncle Chris

This past weekend Uncle Chris (Noah’s godfather) flew from Ohio to DC to hang out with Noah for a long weekend. Chris arrived midday Friday, and the first thing we did was head to Smash Burger for lunch. Noah loved his milk shake…and he loved (stole) Chris’s fries too. Ha. Mmmmm…

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After lunch we relaxed at home and the boys played Legos – shocker, I know!

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Later that afternoon we went to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes at National Airport. We had a great time at Gravelly Point when Chris visited last August, so we knew this would be a fun outing.

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Because of the direction of the wind, we only saw planes landing; they were taking off in the opposite direction. We probably saw twenty or so planes land while we were there. Check it out!

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And here’s a short video of a plane coming in for landing. Yeah, the plane seemed so close! As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

We played soccer and raced on the bike path while we waited for the next plane to fly overhead. (The water in the background is the Potomac River.)

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Here’s a short video of Noah chasing Chris on the trail – run faster! Yeah, it was definitely a great afternoon to be outside!

Saturday morning we picked up Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. Don’t worry, we didn’t eat all of the donuts in one sitting!

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Then we hopped in the car to run some errands. It wasn’t all work and no play though. We stopped at Barnes & Noble so that Noah could show Chris the store’s cool train table. This pit stop gave the grownups the opportunity to recharge (caffeinate) at Starbucks too – double score!

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Later that afternoon Noah took Chris to his favorite local park. Here are a few pics of the little kid and the big kid on the teeter-totter.

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After they were done at the park, we walked to the baseball diamond to run around the field. Noah loves to run – he has way too much energy – so we all took turns running with him. Also, as a fun side note, the building in the background with the blue roof will be Noah’s elementary school – exciting!

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Ryan and Chris picked up pizza for supper. Once their bellies were full, the three boys were OUT! Yeah, they had a busy few days, and the fun wasn’t over yet…

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On Sunday we went to the Carpenter’s Shelter Cook-Off, which is an annual fundraiser for the homeless shelter. Over 25 restaurants from Alexandria whipped up their best dishes for this event, and local musicians played too. We ate ribs, barbecue, cornbread, gumbo, eggrolls, and more – we were stuffed!

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Noah’s favorite food was the donut from Sugar Shack. He even shared with Chris. The Cook-Off was a fun (and yummy!) way to support a great cause.

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Noah had a BLAST with Uncle Chris. Come back again soon!

Categories: Airplanes, DC, Fun outings, Legos, Our neighborhood, Sports | Leave a comment

A fun weekend with Uncle Chris: Part 1

Two weeks ago Uncle Chris (Noah’s godfather) flew to DC to hang out with Noah for a long weekend. Noah was so excited for Chris’ airplane to land!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat first afternoon, we took Chris on the water taxi from Old Town Alexandria across the Potomac River to National Harbor, Maryland. It was a beautiful day for a boat ride!

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IMG951225So what did we do at National Harbor? We rode the Capital Wheel!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGreat views, huh? As you can see, we even got a good view of our water taxi from above. This was Noah’s fourth time on the wheel – he loves it and Chris did too!

Chris and NoahThe next morning we took Chris to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land at National Airport. We probably saw twenty planes land in the 45 or so minutes that we were there. They were so close!

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We even saw a plane that had turboprops!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe sky was overcast that day, so we were able to hear the sound of the engines spiral through the clouds – what a cool experience!

Here are two short videos of planes that we saw coming in for landing. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

We played soccer while we waited for the next plane to fly overhead. Yep, it was another great day to be outside!

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IMG951250After lunch we went to the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA – another one of our favorite local outing spots. Our first stop was the observation tower that gives a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of planes taking off and landing at nearby Dulles International Airport – what a great view!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNext we headed to the space hangar to see the Space Shuttle Discovery. Seeing that will never get old!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSome of the highlights from the aviation hangar were Air France’s Concorde (the first supersonic commuter airliner) and “The Spirit of Texas” helicopter flown by Ross Perot.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe saw many other planes and helicopters too. As you can tell from the photos, they were parked on the ground and suspended from the ceiling – so many planes!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNoah also got to “fly” a Cessna plane like the one that Ryan trained on – so cool!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIf you read this blog frequently, you know that Noah LOVES airplanes and space shuttles. Who doesn’t? So it was fun listening to Noah talk about the planes with Chris.

For better descriptions of Noah’s favorite planes and NASA equipment at the Udvar-Hazy Center, check out our blog post from our first visit…just click on the link. And stay tuned to read more about Noah’s recent adventures with Uncle Chris!

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Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Summer | Leave a comment

Another fun outing in DC

Yesterday Noah and I had a fun afternoon outing in DC. Our first stop was the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. We saw lots of planes and NASA equipment. Check it out!

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We of course had to stop by the gift shop on the way out. Our good friend Tommy gave Noah some money to buy a toy at the museum. Noah picked out a cool Marine One helicopter. Thank you, Tommy!

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This was Noah’s fourth trip to the National Air & Space museum – it’s definitely his favorite DC spot.

Our next stop was the National Building Museum to visit “The Beach” – the new interactive exhibit for kids of all ages. The seashore is lined with beach chairs to relax in, and the beach slopes into an ocean made of nearly a million translucent plastic balls. Yeah, it’s basically a giant ball pit!

The Beach takes up almost the entire Great Hall of the museum – it’s huge! Noah jumped in from the shore’s edge, waded in the shallow end and swam in the deeper waters. He got stuck quite a few times – it can be hard to move with all the balls shifting around you – but that was part of the fun. See for yourself…

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd here are two short videos of the fun.

Click here to read more about The Beach on the National Building Museum’s webpage. If you’re in the DC area, it’s definitely a “must do” for the summer. Noah had a blast!

We hope you’re enjoying the summer. We sure are!

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Categories: Airplanes, DC, Fun outings, Summer | 2 Comments

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