Maryland

Another fun father and son day

Last Friday was Noah’s first day of spring break. Ryan took the day off from work to have a “Daddy-Noah Day.” Ryan let Noah choose what to do. Can you guess what they did? They rode buses, metros, and trains! Ha.

They took the bus to our metro station, and then they rode the metro to Union Station in DC.

From there they rode the MARC train to Baltimore for the day. The MARC is the commuter rail line in Maryland. Noah hadn’t ridden a MARC train before, so he was really excited. It’s not much different than Amtrak or the commuter train in Virginia, but it was something new nonetheless.

The ride to Baltimore took about an hour. Noah enjoyed watching the speedometer on Ryan’s phone along the way. The train got over 90 miles per hour.

Here are a few pictures of Noah outside of Baltimore’s Penn Station.

They had lunch at a nearby restaurant and walked around awhile, and then they headed back to Penn Station for their train home. The return trip was especially fun because they got to ride on a double-decker MARC train—very cool! (The train that morning was just a single-level train.)

When they got back to Union Station in DC, they hopped on the metro and headed home. Whew, they covered many modes of transportation that day! Noah was one happy kid.

Yeah, it was a very quick trip to Baltimore, but the outing was more about the train ride than the destination—though Baltimore is a lot of fun. And the spring break fun didn’t end there, because Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don arrived the next day. Stay tuned to read more!

Categories: DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Spring break, Trains | Leave a comment

Fun outings in January

January was full of fun outings. One afternoon Ryan and Noah went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in nearby Chantilly, VA. This is one of Noah’s favorite places to visit.

Their first stop was the James McDonnell Space Hangar where they saw the Space Shuttle Discovery—so cool!

They went on a simulator of a shuttle launch too…

Then they walked through the Boeing Aviation Hanger, which is full of military, recreation, and commercial aircraft.

Here are pictures of Noah in front of the Boeing Dash 80 (the precursor to the Boeing 707) and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft and most known for its reconnaissance missions during the Cold War).

For another fun outing last month, we drove to Baltimore to visit the Port Discovery Children’s Museum with our good friends Joe, Bekka, and their kids.

The kids had a blast “driving” and putting gas in the car, going grocery shopping, matching shapes on the “Widget Worker” conveyor belt, climbing in the massive three-story treehouse, learning about the movement of water and air in the “Wonders of Water” exhibit, running through a giant maze of boxes, and much more. Whew! Check it out…

And the fun didn’t end there! The last weekend in January, we went to the annual Washington Auto Show in downtown DC. Noah had a blast at the auto show the past two years, so he was really excited to go again this year.

The show featured more than 600 new cars and trucks from over 30 auto companies—so cool! Noah was able to sit in and “drive” the vehicles. The big kid hopped in some of the vehicles too. Check it out!

And yes, all the horns were deactivated! Ha.

Noah also got to race a remote control car…

Yep, we had a great time at the auto show, and we definitely plan to go again next year.

We hope 2018 is off to a fun start for you too!

Categories: Airplanes, Cars, DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Space, Trucks | Leave a comment

Fun outings over winter break

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we had a wonderful Christmas (in our pajamas!) – and the rest of Noah’s winter break was just as fun too.

One afternoon we drove to Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium. We had been to the aquarium a few times before, and Noah loved it – and so he was really excited to visit again.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the Dolphin Discovery exhibit. We got to see a colony of seven Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The exhibit staff (all marine mammal experts) talked about how the dolphins learn, play, and interact with each other, and they also discussed how they care for and teach the dolphins.

This was Noah’s first time seeing the dolphin show – it was really cool! The female dolphins are named Jade, Spirit, Maya, Bayley, and Chesapeake. The male dolphins are named Beau and Foster. Check it out!

Our next stop was the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We saw blacktip reef sharks, whiptail rays, angelfish, puffer fish and more.

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” and “Shark Alley” exhibits. As always, the sharks were Noah’s favorite part!

We also spent a lot of time at the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We got a great view of Calypso (the giant green sea turtle) and the blacktip reef sharks.

Yep, Noah had a great time at the aquarium – he always does! And the fun didn’t end there…

On New Year’s Eve day, we went to a women’s basketball game at George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, VA. The Patriots were playing the Davidson Wildcats from North Carolina. Here are a few photos from the game.

And of course, no sports event is complete without a giant tub of popcorn…

The Patriots won 74 to 61. The basketball game was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

That night we headed to Old Town Alexandria. Our church participated in First Night Alexandria, which is the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring music performances and kid-friendly activities. We decorated sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles…made noisemakers with paper plates, dry noodles, and string…and posed for a few pictures in the photo booth. “Cheers!”

Yeah, we had a lot of fun during Noah’s winter break. January was full of fun outings too (some of Noah’s favorites!), so stay tuned to read more.

Categories: Aquariums, Fun outings, Holidays, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Sports | 1 Comment

So much holiday fun!

December was busy with holiday festivities. Earlier this month we went to the annual Scottish Christmas parade in Old Town Alexandria. Check it out!

Here are three short videos of the bagpipes too. The first video is of the Alexandria Pipes & Drums, and the second video is of the Kiltie Band of York, Pennsylvania. And you’ll definitely recognize the song in the last video!

Just 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 videos. 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.

That weekend Noah also helped decorate Christmas stockings at church. He had so much fun!

Last weekend we went to the National Capital Trolley Museum in nearby Colesville, MD. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know this is one of Noah’s favorite places to visit, because it has an awesome collection of streetcars.

This visit to the trolley museum was extra special for two reasons. First, our good friends Adam and Yvonne and their kids were with us. And second, we got to ride the streetcars with Santa!

In case you’re curious, we rode two streetcars with Santa. One was from the Netherlands and the other was from Toronto.

The kids had fun inside the museum too. They enjoyed “steering” the model streetcar along the tracks and turning on the signal lights.

That night we continued the holiday festivities by baking gingerbread cookies. Noah had fun rolling the dough and using the cookie cutters. As you can tell from Noah’s shirt, we got flour everywhere! Ha.

Noah helped decorate the cookies too. Aunt Edna would be so proud. And yes, we saved a few for Santa!

We hope you’re having the happiest of holidays! Merry Christmas!!!

Categories: Fun outings, Holidays, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Trolleys | 1 Comment

A great afternoon for a football game

Last Saturday we went to the University of Maryland in nearby College Park to watch the Terps play Towson. This was the Terps’ first home game of the season.

Here are a few photos of the game. As you can see, it was definitely a great day to be outside!

Oh, and of course, no sporting event is complete without a giant tub of popcorn…

The Terps won 63 to 17. Yep, #FearTheTurtle!

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

Another fun visit to the trolley museum

Over Labor Day weekend, we visited the National Capital Trolley Museum in nearby Colesville, MD. The museum has an awesome collection of American and international streetcars, many of which are more than 100 years old. Yeah, as you can imagine, this is one of Noah’s favorite places to visit!

The coolest thing about the museum is riding the electric streetcars on the museum’s one-mile rail line – and this visit, we got to ride three streetcars!

Our first ride was on this streetcar from Toronto that was built in 1951. We rode this streetcar on previous visits too – it’s very cool!

We got to ride the “boat” trolley car for the first time too. This trolley is from Blackpool, England and was built in 1934. The trolley has an open top and a center entrance. Because it is a double-ended car, it doesn’t require a loop at the end of the tracks in order to turn around – it can be driven in both directions. And that’s why it has headlights and taillights on both ends. Noah loved it!

Our last ride was on a streetcar from Brussels, Belgium. It was built in 1907. This was our first time riding this trolley too – it was a bumpy ride!

We passed another trolley while riding the Brussels trolley too. This yellow trolley is from the Netherlands, and we’ve ridden it a few times on previous visits.

Yeah, it was definitely a beautiful day for riding trolleys. We had fun inside the museum though too. Noah always enjoys “steering” the model streetcar along the tracks and turning on the signal lights.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves all things transportation, especially trolleys – so I’m sure we’ll visit again soon!

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

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

Celebrating Ryan’s birthday at National Harbor

A few weekends ago, we spent the night in nearby National Harbor, MD to celebrate Ryan’s 40th birthday – yep, a big day! National Harbor is right across the Potomac River from Alexandria…just a short drive over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

We started the weekend fun with swimming at the hotel pool. Here are a few photos that Ryan snapped…

We worked up quite an appetite, so after we cleaned up, we headed to the waterfront area for supper. We had pizza at Fiorella’s Italian Kitchen – and yep, with chocolate milk for the little kid and wine for the big kids!

After supper we did a quick stroll through the harbor area. We didn’t stay too long because a storm was rolling in. Here are a few photos we took as we were dashing back to the hotel. Yeah, we had a great view of the Capital Wheel and the Wilson Bridge against the dark sky.

After the weather cleared up, we headed back to the harbor area for a ride on the Capital Wheel. We’ve been on the wheel quite a few times over the past few years (we often take visitors there), but this was our first ride at night.

The nighttime view from the top was AWESOME! Our pictures didn’t turn out too well since the gondola windows were wet with raindrops, but you can still make out the buildings and boats below. Check it out!

The next morning after we checked out of the hotel, we walked around the harbor area again…because we of course had to visit the Awakening sculpture and the Peeps car too!

Then we met up with our good friends Dan, Lindsay, and their son for lunch at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ – messy but sooooo yummy!

Oh, and we can’t forget about Ryan’s birthday present. Noah picked out a Lego set of a Coast Guard airplane – who would have guessed, right?!?!

Thanks, Ryan, for giving us a fun reason for a weekend getaway!

Categories: Birthdays, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Maryland | 1 Comment

A fun trip to the National Aquarium

Two weekends ago, we drove to Baltimore to take Noah and his friend to the National Aquarium. We visited this aquarium over Thanksgiving and Noah loved it…and so he wanted to visit again as part of his birthday fun.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We saw blacktip reef sharks, whiptail rays, angelfish, puffer fish and more.

We learned about shark teeth and what sharks eat too…

But our favorite part of this exhibit was the giant green sea turtle named Calypso. In 2000 this sea turtle was rescued when she was stranded in Long Island Sound. She weighed six pounds at the time and had a bad infection in one of her front flippers. They had to amputate her flipper because of the infection. She could not be returned to the wild, and so she was donated to the National Aquarium. It’s estimated that Calypso is about 20 years old and weighs 500 pounds. Yeah, that’s a big turtle!

We didn’t see Calypso on our last trip to the aquarium, so she must not have been out and about – she’d be hard to miss! Ha.

Next we headed to the “Living Seashore” hands-on exhibit. The boys got to see clearnose skates up close – so cool!

They learned about beaches through this fun interactive digital touch table…

And they got to see moon jellies up close too!

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums. We saw anemones, cardinalfish, clownfish (Nemo!), tangs (Dory!), sea stars, eels, sea cucumbers, groupers, creole fish, cowfish, seahorses, and porcupine fish, just to name a few. Whew, so many fish!

In the “Amazon River Forest” exhibit, we saw yellow dart frogs. Can you spot them? Yeah, ewwwww…

One of the coolest things we saw was scuba divers feeding some of the bigger fish in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” exhibit. Check it out!

But as cool as that was, their favorite exhibit was definitely still “Shark Alley.” Of course!

As we walked out, we passed through the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, and we got an even better view of Calypso and the blacktip reef sharks…

Here is a photo of the boys posing outside of the aquarium…

And here is a photo of them on the car ride home. Yep, they were tuckered out. It was a busy afternoon!

Noah had a great time at the aquarium – we all did! Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s birthday fun!

Categories: Animals, Aquariums, Birthdays, Fun outings, Maryland | Leave a 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

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