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Home Travel Guide Travel Guide Topics City Beat Explore Washington, D.C.

Explore Washington, D.C.

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Explore Washington, D.C.
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City Beat
Exploring Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.--our nation’s capital city--sixty-seven square miles notched out of Maryland at the meeting of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers.  It was once a mosquito infested bog!  George Washington selected the site and Pierre L’Enfant created the young nation’s “federal town.”  The first cornerstone was laid in 1793.

The Mall near the White House is one of the nation’s oldest parks.  Many of the city’s famous landmarks and attractions are located on or near this “T” shaped park, which extends two miles (east to west) from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial and at the “T”  a half mile (north to south) from the  White House to the Jefferson Memorial.  The park’s lawns, elm trees and benches offer relaxation in between visiting the many sites.  Located between Constitution & Independence Aves. at 17th St.

* These sites are located on the Mall

*The Smithsonian Institution came about in 1846 as a result of  James Smithson’s request that his half million dollar estate be given to Washington under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge... .”    The Smithsonian continues to grow, with 16 museums and galleries. Nine museums are on the mall, with others located throughout the city.  A few favorites:
*National Air and Space Museum is one of the world’s most popular museums and explores the history and development of air and space technology.  You can see how it all began with the Wright Brothers, touch a moon rock, and walk through a two-story skylab.  Imax Theatre and Planetarium offer daily shows.  Free Admission.
More Information:  (202) 357-2700

*National Museum of Natural History has displays on natural history and human culture.  You can marvel at the Hope Diamond, stand in awe at life-size models of a blue whale and dinosaurs, visit a living coral reef and insect zoo.  You won’t want to miss the feeding of the tarantula in the Children’s Discovery Room!  Free Admission.
More Information:  (202) 357-2700

*National Museum of American History encompasses an array of exhibits on every facet of American life.  It’s like an attic full of memories--from the original copy of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” to Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”  Free Admission.
More Information:  (202) 357-2700

National Zoo is known for its giant panda, a gift from the People’s Republic of China; Sumatran Tigers; a white tiger; and orangutans, lowland gorillas and Komodo dragons.  Free Admission.  
More Information:  (202) 673-4800

*United States Capitol building is on Capitol Hill, a 221 acre park.  It was built in 1792 and has some 550 rooms.  The two wings contain the Senate and House chambers.  House or Senate gallery passes can be obtained from your senator or representative (plan 2-3 months ahead).  You can also re-quest tickets to the White House, F.B.I. Building, Supreme Court, and Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  Free Admission.
More Information:  (202) 225-6827



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