S: Washington D.C. 2012
1: WASHINGTON, D.C. | WASHINGTON | ARRIVED 03 July 2012
2: A long time ago, Linda spent a few months working for the Washington Center. And since then, she's wanted to take Will to see July 4th events in DC. Here's our chance!!
3: METRO No cars in DC - take the metro instead! The Washington Metro trains can go up to 80 miles per hour. There are 83 stations and 103 miles of tracks. Metro also has the longest escalator in the western hemisphere. The escalator at the Wheaton station takes 4 minutes to get to the surface. And even more importantly, it was COOL!! Blissfully COOL down there! We rode it all week with a SmarTrip card.
4: OMNI SHOREHAM HOTEL The Omni, located at 2500 Calvert Street NW, in DC was our home base. It was built in 1930, had 836 guest rooms, and 11 acres of grounds (with an entire row of shady hammocks). It was really beautiful, inside and out. Best of all, they had a pool, which was Will's main request for a hotel. It was so HOT, we went out basically every day. It was a little shallow (4-5 ft.) so no diving, but still very lovely. Pool-side drinks were available and EXPENSIVE! A soda was $4. Dang. | We happen to pick Washington's hottest summer on record to visit. Ick. So how do we beat the heat? Look and see!
5: Metro Station, nice & COOL | Grab a swim! | PITANGO Gelato made treats from fresh, organic ingredients. And oh-my-God Yummy!! Linda loved the pomegranate, they also had "Mojito," dark chocolate, banana, cinnamon, mango, peach, quince, grapefruit, cardamom... Wow. We went at least twice. Will's favorite was chocolate, Dave liked the dark chocolate. | Pitango! Pitango! Pitango! | Mojitos! Rum with lime, mint, & club soda. Also LOTS of iced tea, snow cones, etc.
7: The Capitol Building - Was built after Thomas Jefferson had a design competition. It has its own subway (1909). George Washington himself laid the cornerstone, and the original plan to was bury him in the basement. (Spooky!) The original dome was removed as the building grew in order to reduce the fire hazard and add a larger dome that would be fire-proof. The current dome was added in the 1850's. It's made of cast iron (8.9 million pounds) and cost about $1 million. It took 11 years to build.
8: The bronze Statue of Freedom was originally to be 16' 9", but when the sculptor finished, it was 19' 6" - he reversed the numbers... It weighs 15,000 pounds. The lower part of the base is decorated with faces and wreathes, Ten bronze points, tipped with platinum, are attached to her headdress, shoulders and shield to protect them from lightning. She cost $24,000.
10: The capitol was a beautiful blend of historical events and arts. The painting below was commissioned by Congress to depict the signing of the Declaration of independence. It felt so neat to walk on floors where Washington and Jefferson walked while they were building the country. Will liked finding the "dead center" of the capitol, marked by a brass marker in the basement. At left is the National Statuary Hall.
11: The statues in the Capitol Rotunda are mostly presidents including statues of Washington, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Grant, Jefferson, and so on. They have busts of other famous people, too, like Martin Luther King.
12: THE ROTUNDA - was absolutely beautiful. Painted in 1865, the Apotheosis of Washington (center mural), shows George Washington "rising to the heavens in glory," surrounded by figures representing liberty and victory. It's 180 feet high, and just glorious to stand inside it in the sunshine. The lower frieze (lower center) shows 19 scenes of American history. Far right are the Supreme Court chambers.
15: Our observations about walking around Washington... It was hot hot hot. Super hot! There were an incredible number of metro stations (Thank God!). There was also security, everywhere, and we had to go through the equivalent of an airport TSA shakedown to get into every major building = even to get to a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop. The city offered almost hourly excuses to eat ice cream. People were pretty nice. Meals could be expensive, so we were careful about choosing restaurants.
18: THE NATIONAL ZOO: Our nation's zoo was founded in 1889. It has 163 acres, and holds 400 species - 100 of those are endangered. They have Asian Elephants & Giant Pandas and Low-Land Gorillas. They get about 2 million visitors a year. The "Great Cats" were one of our favorites. They had 3 Sumatran Tigers. Meow!!
21: The zoo was a good place to visit on a hot day. The walking paths were paved with brick, shaded and very wide. They also had misting stations along the path. If you push a button mists of cool water comes out of a shower pipe. Will visited all of them, as you can see.
23: The Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. More than 9 million people visit it each year. Although the building is really big - 161,000 square feet - it can only display about 10% of the collection. The sister facility, at the airport, holds most of the remaining collection. We're going THERE next time! | Air and Space Museum
24: While at the museum, we were able to see the Wright brother's original 1903 flyer, the Apollo Lunar module, Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, and a super exhibit on Amelia Earhart. We also liked the Tuskegee Airmen.
27: Linda loved the Apollo display. In 1969, when Neal Armstrong walked on the moon, she was 6 years old and in the hospital getting her tonsils out. She remembers them waking her up to see the astronauts land. Back then, this was REAL entertainment. Everyone gathered around the television to watch Apollo.
30: The Newseum, at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., is a huge museum dedicated to interactive news and journalism. It has theaters, galleries, broadcast studios - all kinds of interesting stuff! It has a real piece of the Berlin Wall, a radio tower from the World Trade Center, the hermit cabin built by Ted (The Unibomber) Kaczynski, and lots of beautiful photographs.
32: Linda loved the Gallery called "The President's Photographer." It showed pictures taken of each President's private days. She really enjoyed the personality that showed up in each one.
33: Will had an opportunity to be a real news caster. They put him in front of a "green screen," gave him the choice of scripts - he chose a story about the Washington Nationals - and had him read his story while the cameras filmed him. In the end, he was superimposed over a picture of the stadium so it looked like he was there reporting. He thought it was "cool, but weird..."
34: The Museum of Natural History
35: The Museum of Natural History is the size of 18 football fields, and holds more than 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. This includes 30 million insects, 4.5 million plants, 7 million fish in liquid-filled jars, and 400,000 photos. No wonder it's one of the most popular places on the Mall. We could easily have spent a full day here. There was so MUCH to see! And since all the Smithsonian buildings are free - including Air & Space, the Zoo, and this place - it was a great deal for a family.
36: Will LOVED the bones! We took lots of photos here. Linda especially liked the photo above, showing the alligator with its skin & bones together. Will liked the shark teeth a lot, and also the big sea turtles.
38: We spent a while in the butterfly display. It was fun letting them land on you.
39: LOOK WILL !! A Korea Gallery!
41: We all agreed spending the Fourth of July in D.C. was "amazing." We sat at the Capitol, however, so two things happened. First there was SECURITY everywhere, and we MEAN everywhere. Including big giant flood lights that prevented things from getting truly dark. Second, we should have gone a little closer to the fireworks. Next time, we want to sit down by the Washington Monument, closer to the "action." But it was a great display and we enjoyed listening to the concert on the lawn.
42: THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS GAME was a fun 'night life' activity. We took the train / taxi down to the stadium, and sat about 15 rows back. It was still hot, of course, so Will & I wandered around looking for snow cones. The beer was good, too. And the pitcher (Strasburg) was super good. This park is located in southeast Washington, near Navy Yard. It holds 41,000 people.
44: We took the "Old Town Trolley" tour of the monuments at night. There was a pleasant breeze, and it went just about everywhere. Great for "photo opp's." The monuments were really pretty all lit up.
46: The Lincoln Memorial This memorial was proposed to Congress in 1867, and finally dedicated in 1922. It was built to resemble the Parthenon. It's about 190 feet long, and almost 100 feet high. Lincoln sits in the center chamber. The statue is made of white Georgia marble, and weighs 158 tons. It was shipped in 28 separate pieces. Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech was made from the steps of this memorial in 1963.
47: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
48: The Washington Monument
49: The Jefferson Memorial
50: The Martin Luther King Memorial
51: The Korean War Memorial is very special. In the Field of Service, 19 stainless-steel statues, created by veteran Frank Gaylord, depict a squad on patrol. On the south side is a black granite wall. There are faces etched into the granite, based on actual photographs of unidentified American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines - all providing support to the ground troops. Nearby, another granite wall bears a message inlaid in silver - "Freedom is not free."
52: We loved the FDR exhibit. All of the other presidents were frozen, represented by one great statue. FDR's monument flowed through time, and was largely represented by people and nature. You even see him in a wheelchair, giving you a sense of his disability as well as ability.
54: The National Aquarium
55: We could have spent weeks in Washington and seen new things every day. There were statues, museums, parks and events everywhere you turned. It was really difficult to choose what to see - and what would have to wait.
56: But, oh well, it's time to go! Bye Washington! See you next time!