Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hello From Washington D.C. - National Geographic Museum

Model of cave where Spinosaurus bones were found
I always loved watching those National Geographic television specials and reading about various exotic places and strange people groups in the National Geographic magazines, so when I learned there's a National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C., I knew it would need to be part of our itinerary.  $11.00 per person for admission gave us several pleasant hours of exploration in this stunning showcase of projects and expeditions.

Spinosaurus bones, modeled
This museum is great for all ages and features highly interactive changing exhibitions in the main 17th Street galleries and beautiful photography exhibitions in the outdoor lightboxes around the building and across the courtyard in the M Street building.

While we were there, three exhibits were featured.  In the main building where visitors enter the museum, we first explored the "Spinosaurus - Lost Giant of the Cretaceous" exhibit.

At more than 50 feet long and weighing in at 6 tons, Spinosaurus is the largest predatory dinosaur to ever roam the Earth - even bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The displays take you from WWII Germany to the Sahara Desert to
uncover the origins of this rare, bizarre dinosaur and the mysterious journey that led National Geographic explorers to its rediscovery.

The Spinosaurus
 I've been to various museums where there are models of Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs, and let me tell you, unbelievably, the Spinosaurus dwarfs the T. Rex.  This display shows the large difference in the two head sizes.

Recreations of other animals that existed in that time period along with the Spinosaurus era were displayed near the mighty Spinosaurus.

Across the courtyard and into the M Street Gallery, we found ourselves in the "Mars Up Close" exhibit, a fascinating display that virtually transports visitors to the red planet.

In this exhibit we experienced some of the science, challenge, and eye-opening wonder of one of the most ambitious space expeditions ever undertaken.  The centerpiece of the Mars exhibition featured a full-size model of the latest rover, Curiosity.

The third and final exhibit we looked at was outdoors, "Colors of the World."  Displayed in the window boxes around the perimeter of the museum, each of the many  eye-catching and unique photographs was illuminated to bring out the brightest pigments of color.  There were some very stunning images from all around the world.  Although I don't make a habit of visiting art museums, even I had a good appreciation for these amazing photos.

Next:  National Postal Museum