Monday, January 12, 2009
A Visit to the Capitol
Over the holidays my brother-in-law was here, so we took him downtown to tour our Nation's Capitol Building. They have recently opened the new visitors' center. It is wonderful.
You began the by looking around the entrance area where they have some of the state statues on display. (Each state is allowed to have 2 statues of their citizens on display in the capitol. The rules are: The person depicted in the statue must no longer be living. The statue must be made of marble or bronze.) Next, you move on to a beautiful theatre where they show a short movie which tells the history and workings of our country's democratic government. After the movie, it is on to tour the actual building. Last but not least is the museum area they have lots of cool facts and some hands on items on display. It is very well done. They have the areas divided up into different time periods, with a model of the Capitol and surrounding area for each period. There are wonderful stories and articles to read, as well as video clips running with nice setting to relax and rest. Unfortunately by this point in the tour Bubby was ready to run and play. I was not able to take in all of the information, but we did enjoy looking at the models and seeing how our Nation's Capitol began as a swampy little place and grew into the wonderful city it is today. (Unfortunately they do not allow pictures in this area, so I wasn't able to snap any shots to share--you'll just have to take my word for it!)
We found it best to get one of the first tours of the day. Our tour was 9:30AM, so when we were leaving around noon everyone else was showing up. Also, I find the best season to tour DC is in the fall or at Christmas. Fall because the weather is still nice, but most of the tourists have gone home. This leaves you to enjoy the sights without heat exhaustion or crazy long lines. Christmas time brings more tourists, but everything is so beautifully decorated it is worth the crowds.
Parking in this area can be a hassle, so metro is always easiest. If you do choose to drive, getting there first thing in the morning is key. I've had luck parking along the street by the National Botanical Gardens.
Here are Princess and the General next to a few of the state statues I talked about. Can you see the replica of Lady Freedom in the background to the left? She is the statue that sits upon the dome of the Capitol, looking out over the city.
Enjoy the Capitol!