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Local Treks

Monday, 31 December 2007

Casa Grande

The ice and cold and dark right now are getting to me, so I thought I'd write about a good trip I took with the baby a couple summers ago, to a place that was dry and hot and sunny:  Arizona.

If you head south from Phoenix on I-10 for about 40 minutes, then take the 387 west towards Florence, Arizona (which incidentally is the name of the mother in "Raising Arizona"), you'll come to the Casa Grande Ruins National Historic Site.  (The ruins are in the town of Coolidge; don't go looking for them in the town of Casa Grande.) 

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The "Big House" itself is the centerpiece, but the site encompasses a number of Ho'hokam ruins that are interestingly easy to see against the sere desert.  9-12 year olds may enjoy learning about the Hohokam culture and the history of the ruins (used as a stagecoach stop, etc), and learning about how the O'odham tribe still venerates the site.& [...]More

Pandas at the National Zoo

Washington DC's National Zoo is free, though parking can be both expensive and frustrating. When we visited, several lots were closed, but we were able to find parking on a side street and walked across the bridge to the entrance.

We breezed past the attractions, waving off the rest of the exhibits (for now, we'll be back). We were on a mission. The layout of the zoo includes a steep hill, so we were glad that we brought the stroller.

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Thanks to a brilliant insider tip, we arrived at the National Zoo a little before feeding time, around 3:30pm, and both giant pandas were up and about. Out of the stroller, perched on her dad's shoulders, she pointed and pouted when Tian walked back to his indoor area. And then she started to whisper: "Panda! Panda! Whoo-hoo!" And he came back, almost to the edge of his territory. We stood there for a long time, the people and the panda, watching each other.More

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Landing gear: airplanes up close and personal

If you are with car in Washington DC, a trip over the 14th street bridge can bring you to a small park next to Reagan National Airport.
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Forget the monuments and the national treasures. Trying to catch a jumbo jet in your hands as it passes just overhead is a toddler's delight. The noise may be too much, but you won't hear about that on the ride home.

This is also the first time we've put the first two TWC kids together. It was amazing how well they clicked. Fellow travelers recognizing each other - how cool.More

Lions and Dinos and Anthills oh my

We walked from 16th street to the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC on a cool afternoon, wondering if it was worth it to try to go to a museum at 3pm. Common sense said no, but hey, we had no plans. Even an hour in a free museum is still free.

Famous last words.

The line on the mall side of the museum was long, so we walked around the building, through the butterfly garden, and onto Constitution Avenue, where we negotiated a variety of curbs, construction fences, and sidewalks that suddenly dumped you onto the street before gaining the wheelchair entrance. Not easy at all, but shorter lines. A sign outside said the museum would be open until 7:30 pm that evening.

Once inside, we found the elevator and headed up to the dinosaurs
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- which was pretty crowded. We were surprised that she liked some of the fossils as much as she did. She had no time for [...]More

National Air & Space Museum (main building)

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Ok dear husband, you are right, the "Cosmic Collisions" planetarium show is NOT for 3 year olds. She'll recover. And they were nice and refunded our tickets. "To Fly" was completely overbooked by the time we got there. Even though we went early enough that there weren't any lines (11:15 on a weekday). She loved Viking space capsule. And the airplane wing, with the enormous planes soaring overhead. She agreed that we could put the space claw back on the rack in the shop until her birthday.

National Air and Space Museum
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