Geese and History
Sept. 21, 2010 Headed out for Chincoteague Island, VA. In this Wildlife Refuge, the water levels are manipulated by the park service to provide the best possible waterfowl habitat throughout the year. The refuge is home to 300 wild ponies, which are culled through a herding and auction process which takes place every July. Found a campground a few miles away from the entrance to the park. Next morning we took off on our bikes to explore. Serene tidal flats and grasses, forested areas and a lovely beach area were accessed by well maintained, asphalt trails.
We exited the trolley at the Capitol building, but without prearrange tour tickets, our visit was limited to walking around outside. Our next trolley sped by without stopping, so we decided to walk through the National Mall. Flanked by Smithsonian museums and under the shade of the American Elms, it was a pleasant 2 mile walk down to the Lincoln Memorial. Our July visit to Daniel Chester French's studio gave us an appreciation for the work which goes into producing a sculpture of this magnitude.
Our next stop was the International Spy Museum, where devices and techniques of espionage are displayed. Interesting cases involving spies throughout history are told in various formats, ranging from reenactment on film to interviews with CIA staff responsible for sifting through facts surrounding espionage and tracking moles back to their own agency. First known reference on spying was the "Art of War" written in 500 B.C. and it has been a part of how nations interact ever since.
Following day, we started with the Air and Space Museum. Exhibits cover aeronautics from the Wright brothers to present day. All visitors have the opportunity to touch a moon rock. Throughout the museum are planes, spacecraft and rockets, which reflect aviation history for the last hundred plus years. One gallery included incredible, large-format photos of the planets taken by rockets which are currently orbiting them, hard to fathom how any of this is possible.
Moved on to the Nation Museum of Natural History, where we took time to watch a 3D, IMAX film. Wild Ocean, with a story of preserving our oceans highlighted by an area off the eastern coast of South Africa, where marine parks have been established. The"Bones"exhibit included extensive collections of skeletons from snakes to rhinos. The precious gem and mineral collection included the extraordinary Hope diamond.
Went to the National Archives--home to the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but also a place of safekeeping for billions of pages of documents, hundreds of thousands of film, etc., a great resource for anyone wanting to research historical occurrences or do a genealogical search.