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National Museum Of Natural History

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  National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History chronicles the development of man, animals and nature from prehistoric times to the present. Exhibits include fossils, a living coral reef and of course the Hope diamond. Kids will love the writhing O. Orkin Insect Zoo.

One of the biggest attractions in Washington D.C., the National Museum of Natural History is one of the nine Smithsonian Museums and Galleries on the National Mall. Housing over 120 million objects in its collection, it is considered one of the finest Natural History Museums in the world. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the exhibits, but those looking for a quiet, sedate stroll around the displays will be disappointed. Throngs of people are milling around the Museum, so silence and places to sit are at a premium. However, as one of the "must see" attractions in D.C., the exhibits are worth the slight aggravation.

Your tour of the Museum will begin with the mammoth 8-ton, 13-foot African Bull elephant that fills the entrance. Children will dart into the Dinosaur Hall on the first floor to see the impressive collection of dinosaur fossils and displays. In the Discovery Room visitors get to touch objects like petrified wood, rocks, seashells and elephant tusks.

The main interactive exhibit is the O. Orkin Insect Zoo. Visitors learn how to handle over 60 species of insects including tarantulas and dung beetles. Children love to touch the living exhibits, so plan to spend lots of time there.

The Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals is home to some of the most impressive examples of precious stones in the world. The infamous 45.5 carat Hope Diamond is on display as well as the Logan Sapphire – the largest publicly displayed sapphire in the country (423 carats).

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