One of my favorite cities to visit is Washington, DC- our nation's capitol. Recently, my moms took me there so that we could visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival. My parents' friend also came with her daughter, Megumi (who just so happens to be my neighbor, Zoya Yumiko's, cousin! small world!). We woke up early on a Saturday morning, piled into my mom's car, and drove all the way from New York City to DC. When we got there, we headed straight to the National Mall for the Kite Festival! Can you see the kites in the photo behind me?
There were so many different kinds of kites! My favorite was a giant squid kite. You can see it in this picture I took of it flying next to the Washington Monument. Cool, right?
The Cherry Blossom Festival has its own special Junior Ranger program! I'd already earned the regular National Mall Junior Ranger badge back in January when I visited with Piper, but Megumi and I still wanted to earn the special cherry blossom badge. We each worked on the activities in our workbook and when we finished, we were sworn in as Junior Rangers! I think it was Megumi's first time doing a Junior Ranger program. She just moved to New York from Japan. I should have asked her if they have junior rangers in Japan, but I didn't.
After we were sworn in, we walked around the mall. Unfortunately, most of the cherry blossoms were gone at that point, so we needed to hike around until we finally found some trees that still had pink blossoms on them. When we finally found a little group of trees, Megumi and I plopped down in the grass and looked up at the sky and the kites above. Our parents got us souvenir tees to wear- aren't they cool? I really wanted the souvenir pink kite, but my moms said I probably wouldn't have anywhere to fly it in NYC.
Megumi and I decided to take pictures of each other in front of our sad, lonely little cherry tree. Here's Megumi! She and her mom told us all about the cherry blossom festivals she's gone to in Japan. She taught us the word "hanami," which means cherry blossom viewing. Washington DC's Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of the gift of cherry trees from Japan to the United States a hundred years ago, in 1912. Some of the original cherry trees are still alive today!
It was a great trip. I'm really glad Megumi could come along. Of course, I was really happy to earn another Junior Ranger badge! I've been thinking about becoming a park ranger when I grow up. There are so many awesome parks though; I don't know if I could choose just one!