/ The DC Traveler
Washington DC — By Jon Rochetti on December 30, 2009 at 5:51 am

Smithsonian Museums Open New Year’s Day

If you are looking for something to do on January 1, 2010, why not visit one of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC?  Each of the Smithsonian museums are open every day, except Christmas, and admission is FREE.

And with most people watching college football bowl games or recovering from New Year’s Eve celebrations, crowds at the Smithsonian museums are usually very light on New Year’s Day, as well as during much of January and February when there are less tourists in Washington , DC.

Here’s a few interesting exhibits at the Smithsonian museums around the National Mall worth checking out.

Check out some of the more interesting and historically significant exhibits at the National Museum of American History, such as The Star Spangled Banner exhibit with the huge American flag that flew over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry in 1814 that inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

Dorothy's Wizard of Oz ruby red shoes - National American History Museum Washington DC

Other highlights include pieces of Americana and American history, such as Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz ruby red shoes, Muppet Kermit the Frog puppet, inaugural ball gowns of the First Ladies, Julia Child’s kitchen and the Woolworth’s lunch counter  from Greensboro, North Carolina, made famous during the Civil Rights movement.

Saphire necklass Smithsonian Natural History Museum Washington DCA visit to the National Museum of Natural History isn’t complete without a stop to see the famous Hope Diamond, the 45.52 car at rare blue diamond, surrounded by a massive collection of gems and jewels amd the impressive Hall of Minerals.

The Sant Ocean Hall shows visitors how life in the seas and oceans have evolved throughout histoy.  Learn about prehistoric animals, dinosaurs and how man evolved from ape until today.

And don’t skip a few minutes watching the fish in the large live salt water reef tank.  A current exhibit, Nature’s Best Photography, highlights some of the most amazing nature photography of the year.

At the National Air & Space Museum, follow the history of aviation and space exploration, from the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, to the Apollo moon landings and Space Moon Landing Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Washington DCShuttle launches.

Some of the more notable airplanes and spacecrafts on display include Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the first American jet aircraft – the Bell XP-59A Airacomet, John Glenn’s Mercury capsule Friendship 7, and Chuck Yeager’s sound barrier breaking Bell X-1.

The fastest aircraft ever to fly, the all-black rocket-powered North American X-15 is also on display.  It set a speed record of over Mach 6.7 or 4,500 mph(7,275 km/h).

And make sure you don’t miss your chance to touch a moon rock, brought back to earth by the Apollo astronauts.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Seventh And Independence Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20560  (map it)

Each of tPresidents - Abe Lincoln - National Portrait Gallery - Washingotn DChe president’s portraits  from President Washington to George W. Bush hang in America’s Presidents wing at the National Portrait Gallery.  Honoring champions in American sports, Champions salutes sports figures whose lives and actions have extended beyond the the field, ring or stadium.  Bravo!  highlights performing artists who changed entertainment as we know it, from circus promoter P.T. Barnum to The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

Dates & Times – All Smithsonian museums are open daily, except Christmas.  Check the museum’s websites for hours.

Admission – Free

Nearest Metro Subway Station – Smithsonian – Blue & Orange lines, then a short walk to most of the museums, or use the DC Circulator bus.

Parking – Limited metered street parking and area paid garage parking is available.

Images – from personal collection   ©2009, Jon Rochetti

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