Took the kids to the National Geographic Museum’s amphibian exhibit Frogs! A Chorus of Colors, which closes May 11. While they enjoyed the exhibit, I was glad I hadn’t made a special trip to see it; we were in Rockville, Maryland, in the morning and I figured we’d take the trip into DC since it was on our way home.
Of course, if your child has a frog fixation, then by all means, make the trip. Admission is free after all, and you can pop into the museum’s adjoining building to check out the Nigersaurus exhibit, also free. As long as you don’t expect anything on the scale of the exhibits at the National Zoo or at the Natural History Museum, you won’t be disappointed.
Upon entering the 17th Street entrance, you’ll move to the right, where you can park a stroller before going into the exhibit space. It’s dimly lit—all the better to focus on the clusters of mini habitats housing huge tadpoles, fat bullfrogs, tiny colorful poison dart frogs and more. Vibrant photo panels seemed to take up most of the space, although interactive kiosks helped to ease the crowding around the exhibits.
The kids’ favorite was the largest exhibit with the poison dart frogs; the tiny things sported amazing colors, from electric blue to saffron yellow to bright green.
But it was over very quickly. The Nigersaurus exhibit is even smaller, with a life-size replica skeleton and pterodactyl skeleton (or was it a pteranodon–sorry, wasn’t sure) taking center stage in a foyer. While cool, I couldn’t in good conscience even add it to the Dino Trail.
One other cool item to mention: in the main building housing the frog exhibit, they had a photo booth where you could get your picture on one of 12 National Georgraphic magazine covers for $5. The machine only took $1 and $5 bills, but I only had a $20 so I can’t share my choice: a cover of the kids with Neil Armstrong on the lunar landscape.
Parking: Sucks. I circled the museum for a good 20 minutes before finding street parking at Farragut Square near the Farragut West Metro station. And luck shone upon us: no meter fees on Saturdays. Those meters were good for 2 hours, and it indicated that it’s enforced every day including Saturday. If you can’t find parking, the closest lot is just south of the museum, and the sign said it cost $12 before 10 a.m. Ugh. Hate parking in DC.
Food: Didn’t see any dining facilities in the museum, but we could have eaten lunch in their neat courtyard, which has some large boulders and a water feature. Walking south back toward our car, we saw several small delis and a Potbelly Sandwich Works on the corner of 17th and L streets, but we ended up finding a Burger King another block down with a left turn on K Street. It was two stories, with nasty floors (a worker was scrubbing the area in front of the cashiers with water and a broom as I relayed my order and tried not to gag at the sight of all that dirty water at my feet) but clean seating on that second floor. There were several other families up there, but also some questionable types that made me uneasy about going back downstairs for ketchup. No one bothered us, though I heard one grandmotherly type complain to the manager that someone upstairs was panhandling. Ugh. Hate eating fast food in the city.