Bean and I had a last minute opportunity to go to Rock the Mall with another troop in our Service Unit – a mother/daughter pair backed out and they needed to fill the space. The trip was sponsored by our Council, so there was no guesswork on the how, when , and where. Our bus left at 6:30am, so it was a pretty long day for Bean (we didn’t get to bed until after 10pm).
The drive down to DC was fairly uneventful until we were several miles outside the Beltway. Well…mostly uneventful; I felt that being subjected to the first two High School Musicals was fairly awful. Back to the Beltway. Within a span of a mile, the girls got to watch several firemen pull someone out of a car. The roof was missing, so I’m assuming they used the jaws of life to sheer it off. Then, we passed a garbage truck that had dumped all of its garbage onto the shoulder of the road since the garbage was on fire.
Saturday, we were up bright and early for Rock the Mall. Our bus driver dropped us off near the WWII memorial, which was across the street from the main stage. At 8:30am, it wasn’t terribly crowded, so Bean and I perused the booths that had been set up on our way to meet my mother’s best friend (MBF) at the natural history museum. Because Bean didn’t have any SWAPs, one of the troops on our bus gave her 25 of theirs (pink bead necklaces to symbolize the pearls Juliette Gordon Lowe sold in order to fund the start up of Girl Scouts). Bean swapped all of them before 10am.
We met up with MBF in front of the museum, and were able to get in before it opened since we were there with 250,000 other Girl Scouts. Bean liked looking at the fossils and the jewels. She was very much taken with the jewels and minerals. And the ungodly large prehistoric snake. I am exceeding glad no snake of that size exists today.
MBF could only stay until lunchtime, but she directed us to Pot Bellies, a sandwich shop that has good chocolate milkshakes. It was a few blocks off the Mall, so there weren’t very many Girl Scouts around. A large troop managed to find its way there while we were eating, so we weren’t entirely alone. It sounds like we got the better end of the deal eating there versus at one of the RTM vendors – we paid about the same, but ate much better food. And had a milkshake.
After lunch, Bean and I walked down to the Air and Space Museum. It was a bit of a hike, but the line to get back into the Natural History Museum was beyond long. I didn’t want to go back to the RTM stage as it was too hot and too humid and there was no way Bean would have made it through the afternoon if we didn’t spend a large chunk of it in an air conditioned building.
Bean liked the A/S Museum. I’m sure part of that is because she conned me into buying her an astronaut Hello Kitty toy. I’m a sucker, but her behavior on that trip was exemplary, and I’m not above rewarding good behavior.
We walked back to the RTM stage close to when the concert was finished. Bean wanted to play in the water being sprayed by the fire trucks, but I wanted to find my SUM first. I don’t know how much we actually missed of the sing-along. From what other people have said, it was less a sing-along and more of a concert with the typical girl-power-self-esteem sentiments thrown in. There were a few sing-alongs at the end that we caught. The negative on that was the hokey musical accompaniment. When everything wrapped up, Bean played in the water, and we walked to our dinner meet up location.
That evening, we did a tour of the monuments. Bean behaved well and was respectful when I explained what the monuments represented. I’m sure that a fair amount of it went over her head, but it helps that her father is in the military and has deployed, so she could kind of get it.
At the Korean War Memorial, I was able to pass on some knowledge to one of the girls in our group. She wanted to know why they would put the image of a dog on the wall. I explained that dogs went over there to help, but when the time came to go back to the U.S., the dogs were abandoned. The military would not transport them back. Their trainers were devastated at leaving their companions behind. She was a bit shocked by that.
The following morning, Bean went swimming at the hotel with some of the older girls. Then it was off to the Baltimore Aquarium en route home. We lucked out in that an author was there promoting her books. Bean listened to her read a chapter. And then she refused to take a picture with the visiting mermaid. Until 15 minutes after she had left. I bought the first two books in the series, and the author signed them for Bean.
The highlights of the museum were: participating in a scavenger hunt, with a free cookie as the prize, watching jellyfish, and seeing a dolphin show.
We made it back to the Service Center late that night. It was a fun trip overall. I would like to do it as a troop next time. I don’t know if we’ll go through the Council, or if we’ll try to do it on our own (depends on cost). Even with the scorching heat, the girls would enjoy it. I definitely would NOT take a Daisies or young Brownies to RTM unless we lived locally to it.