Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities: Part D - What Shall We Do Today?


This one is a no-brainer, really.  As far as things to do and places to go, our urban home wins hands down.  Why, I think we could spend a year doing nothing but exploring the nooks and crannies of the Smithsonian Institution museums and never get bored.  That doesn't even take into consideration the monuments and memorials, the National Arboretum and the National Cathedral.

Since moving to DC on January 1 we have been to the following places (at least the ones that I can think of right at this minute):

  • Smithsonian Air and Space
  • Smithsonian Museum of American History
  • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden
  • The Old Post Office
  • The National Gallery of Art, East Building
  • The National Gallery Sculpture Garden
  • The National Archives
  • The Washington Monument
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Vietnam Memorial
  • The Korean War Memorial
  • The WWII Memorial
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The FDR Memorial
  • The Capital Building Visitor Center
  • The White House

We would have done more already, except that the weather has been bitterly cold and we have the blood of our southern forbears.  There is no lack of things to do. 


For free.

Wait, let me say that again, because at heart I'm a cheapskate.  FOR FREE. 

There are things to that cost money, but we haven't exhausted the free ones yet, although we have a trip to Mount Vernon on the short list.

Now, let me say that there are plenty of things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee and the surrounding areas.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of our very favorite places to go and it only costs a bit of gas money to enjoy it.  They have great education programs and gorgeous scenery.

View from Clingman's Dome

Knoxville also has an art museum, which used to cost a few dollars to get into, but now is free.  It's just very small.  Good quality.  They've had some really wonderful shows, but it's an hour or two at the most, parking can be difficult and once you've been, you really don't need to go again for 6 or 8 months.

There are a few others - the McClung comes to mind - but we've found it challenging to find quality family activities that don't cost an arm and a leg.  There's a couple of great aquariums within an easy drive of our house, but for our family to go for one day would cost about $75.  The local zoo - a good one - is $12 per person.  In contrast, the Smithsonian National Zoo is free. 

You just can't beat free.

Tomorrow - Lemme sum up.