Hold on to your hats, my exciting Washington DC play-by-play continues with our Saturday adventure to Mount Vernon. If you have a moment while you enjoy a cup of coffee or clip your toenails, you can read more of our adventures here, and here.
Since we were staying in Alexandria, Virginia, George Washington's home was only 9 miles away. I would have regretted being so close and not going, so of course we did. It was so worth the exorbitant taxi fare. Really.
Having been a chaperone several times for our school's 5th grade trip to DC, I had visited Mount Vernon before and had left each time still not knowing much about our first president. Over the last few years the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association has made some amazing improvements. Seriously.
There is now a Visitor's Center with exhibits and they offer an introductory film about the American Revolution and George Washington's pivotal role in it. Parts were a bit frightening for Annelise (the blue faced Indians and the battle scenes--a horse was shot, people were too, but the horse...), still it provided an interesting overview.
We toured the grounds and the house next. Absolutely gorgeous.
Yeah, so NOT our Christmas card. A kind gentleman also took our photo in front of the Potomac.
As it started to drizzle, we made our way to the new museum. It was built underground as not to interfere with the original appearance of Mount Vernon. The museum is a WONDERFUL overview of George Washington's life, his military career, his presidency, his love of farming and his greatest contributions to America. The museum is interactive with plenty of buttons, life-like exhibits, maps, hidden plaques to read, several short videos to watch. There was plenty to keep Annelise interested while we made our way through.
Annelise was fascinated by this French Indian War display, she kept wandering back to it when she wasn't looking at the natural woods/wildlife exhibit (where in attendance was a hooting owl and a chattering squirrel).
She also stared at General Washington's sword for a LONG time and pushed every button and lifted every flap that she could.
Our favorite films were about George and Martha's 40 year marriage, how spies played a part in the American Revolution, and an almost Imax style experience where you felt the cannon fire and it even snowed inside the auditorium. I know!
By far the highlight of the museum for Annelise was the Hands On History area. This was perfect for young children. There were several activities to choose from like playing with a doll house version of Mount Vernon. Needless to say this was a hit.
There were also puzzles, magnetic dress up dolls, tea sets and much more. This room was incredible! Bless that Ladies' Association to pieces.
So did seeing her gallop around the grounds.
We ended up spending almost all afternoon at Mount Vernon and had a wonderful time. Truly. Now I am inspired to learn more about our Founding Fathers and our nation's early history. If you have an opportunity to visit, do not hesitate. They have made so many impressive educational improvements to make your visit more meaningful and memorable. If you do go, make sure you give me a ring, I might just want to join you.