Tuesday, May 09, 2006

National Mall Junior Rangers

Today we rode into town with Danny on the train so that the kids could work on their National Mall Junior Ranger requirements. The book lays out a very nice route to take around the monuments, but of course it doesn't take into consideration the need to back track when the time comes to make use of your Washington Monument passes or diverging from the route to get lunch. We also added to our trip by hiking across town to Union Station at the end of the day. All told, we hiked about six miles around Washington DC today. Strange coincidence that we happened to hike about six miles on trails at the C & O Canal just yesterday.

After getting passes for 12:00 pm to go up in the Washington Monument we rushed over to the World War II Memorial which has a good sized ranger station to pick up the National Mall Junior Ranger booklets. We were grateful that they had them, and we quickly proceeded towards the Korean War Memorial to find the clues we needed to complete the appropriate pages in the booklets. Halfway there we were side tracked by some ducklings in the Reflection Pond.

The ducks actually came in handy later when we found that one of the requirements was to write a poem about something you had seen. William wrote his about one of these ducks that sniffed his toe.

I saw a duck
In the pond
It sniffed my toe
And I moved on.

After enjoying the birds we rushed on to the Korean, Lincoln, and Vietnam Memorial. We have been to all of these many times, and it was quick work to fill in the information needed at these areas. Beth's inspiration for her poem came from this squirrel near the Vietnam War Memorial.

Squirrels are funny
Squirrels are sweet
I like squirrels that
Sniff my feet.

Alright, neither poem is very inspirational, (smile) but considering the rush we were in, and considering the fact that for some reason all three of us were in a very silly mood today, they seemed fitting and appropriate at the time. :)

The Washington Monument

William and Beth worked on their ranger booklets while we waited for our turn to tour the Washington Monument.

A view of the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial from up in the Washington Monument

We found this nice little fountain along Constitution Ave.

After lunch we rushed back towards Constitution Gardens where we needed to view the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence memorial.

We were so tired by this point that we contemplated just resting on the island the rest of the day. There was a little family of geese nearby, and it sounded like a lovely way to pass the afternoon. But after twenty minutes or so the sun went behind a cloud and the temperature dropped. We decided we might as well get moving again.

We quickly made our way across the mall to the John Paul Jones Memorial.

The kids answered the appropriate questions and then we contemplated making the march over to the Jefferson Memorial (which you can see in the back ground of this picture - the deceptive part is that you have to go around the tidal basin to get there).

We were pretty tired by this time but we pressed on, determined to finish the requirements for the Junior Ranger today. We were glad to find a ranger on duty at the Jefferson Memorial because some of the information needed was not available due to repairs being done to the memorial. They completed their booklets with his help and we raced back around the Tidal Basin so that we could get in the door of the main ranger station on the mall before they closed. The kids did not need to visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. We have been there so many times, and we even have a book about it. Thankfully all of the questions concerning it were answered with ease without our making the trek over there. We made it to the ranger station just before closing, and after they received their certificates and badges we slowly made our way towards Union Station.


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