Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Trains in the City (DC)

My little one is now almost as obsessed with his older brother when it comes to "choo choos".  One of his first words was caboose, he'll always remind you that a tender is hot, and he'll notice every Thomas object that passes him by (backpacks, items on shelves, shoes, etc).  He's demanding choo choo books at night despite our Christmas book theme, and often falls asleep with a train book open on his lap.

So Elijah's especially excited that trains are so entangled with the Christmas holiday.  I wonder how these two things got so mixed up to begin with, but we don't question it around here we just try to enjoy it.  We decided to wait until Brian was off work to head into D.C. to see several train exhibits last Saturday.  Our itenerary:

We took advantage of the free parking metro stations always offer on the weekends, and decide to park and ride the train into the city.  Elijah was pretty excited the whole way:
We needed to get lunch pretty soon, so we started off by checking out Union Station's display.  As far as I've ever found, they only have one set up, but it's a nice one.  And there are plenty of places to eat or even shop nearby if you've still got some gifts to buy.

Next up, we jumped back onto the subway and took it a few stops to the Metro Center station and walked on to the area between the White House and the Washington Monument, known as the Ellipse.  Here you can view the White House's outside holiday decorations, the National Christmas Tree, and lots and lots of trains.  This is probably the most trains I have ever found in one location.  There are also the 50+ trees for each state and territory, adorned with specially made ornaments reflecting each of the states.  Elijah, unbelievably, chose this time to take a nap that he would not be woken up from.  He missed lots of trains, but the rest of us got to enjoy the scene.

We then headed indoors to get some ice cream (my family never passes up ice cream, even in 40 degree weather) and then to warm up in the trains exhibit of the National American history museum.  I've wrote about that exhibit before, here.

Finally, we walked on across the National Mall to the other end to find the U.S. Botanical Gardens.  There was actually a pretty substantial line to get in the train exhibit, but it moved pretty quickly.  The exhibit this year featured different lighthouses all made of plant materials, as well as other landmark buildings.  The exhibit was lit with colorful lighting, and was very magical and enjoyable for kids as well as adults.  We made it through just as the museum was closing.

We then hopped back on the metro at Le'Enfant Station, and headed out.  It was a great day with the boys, and now we are all anxious to head out for Christmas!

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