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The Smithsonian

The "Smithsonian" isn't just one building it is a whole network of buildings and museums at the Mall of America in Washington DC. - And other places. But the central cluster of them is right in Washington DC.





The signature building for the Smithsonian (And where it all started) is the Castle. I have more about it here: Smithsonian Castle . It is the official welcome center.



The Smithsonian is actually a whole series of museums each with a different focus. And there are about two dozen different ones. So, if you are planning on visiting the Smithsonian you need to do some planning and figure out which museum or museums you want to visit. The most popular two are the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. And these are both in the Mall of America within easy walking distance of Smithsonian Castle.

There are eleven museums and galleries located in this area of the Mall of America between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. So, for a day trip I recommend you go to the castle for visitor information and a good start. Then you can visit one or more of the other museums on the same day.

Mall of America Drawing

Watch this 45 second video if you want to get a sense for the Mall of America. We are standing in front of Smithsonian Castle then we look right to the Washington Monument and Left to the White House. All along the large grassy expanse, on both sides, are the various Smithsonian Museums. The one right behind the construction vehicle is the Museum of Natural History. That's the museum we look at on this web page.

Interested in the Mall of America and seeing more? I have a page about it here


The Postal Museum is nearby too and I couldn't make it. Although being an avid stamp collector I really regreat missing it :(

But here on this page about the Smithsonian we will take a look at the Museum of Natural History.

It is the world's most popular Natural History museum and it is dedicated to understanding the Natural world.

Some things of particular note in this museum are the Ocean Hall, The Hope Diamond, the Butterfly Pavilion and the Egyptian Mummies. There is, of course, a whole lot more.


This is the main entrance hall. This is where the museum starts.




I came to the Smithsonian particularly to see the castle. But, I spent most of one day walking around this Natural History Museum. It is well worth the time. It is of course extremely well done.


All in all The Museum of Natural History is a gem.


Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth (Smithsonian)

A landmark in reference publishing and overseen and authenticated by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, Natural History presents an unrivaled visual survey of Earth's natural history. Giving a clear overview of the classification of our natural world-over 6,000 species- Natural History looks at every kingdom of life, from bacteria, minerals, and rocks to fossils to plants and animals. Featuring a remarkable array of specially commissioned photographs, Natural History looks at thousands of specimens and species displayed in visual galleries that take the reader on an incredible journey from the most fundamental building blocks of the world's landscapes, through the simplest of life forms, to plants, fungi, and animals.

Picturepedia: An Encyclopeadia on every page (Smithsonian)

Ten thousand stunning photographs and illustrations catalog the wonders of history, space, the natural world, and more in this ultimate resource for kids ages 9–12. Bringing together an amazing array of images to explain every topic under the sun—and beyond—this book has a mini-encyclopedia on every page.

Picturepedia contains chapters on science and technology, nature, geography, culture, sports and hobbies, history, insects, musical instruments, spacecraft, world maps, famous discoveries, prehistoric life, and more. Every double-page spread contains a wealth of information on a given topic, with galleries, lists, sequences, facts, timelines, and much more, while every topic is illustrated with up to 100 photos, graphics, and illustrations.

Perfect for gift giving, or adding to any home or school library, Picturepedia is a stimulating quick-reference that kids will come back to time and time again.