America's capital, a totally-planned city, is full of majestic marble monuments
celebrating the ideals of "liberty and justice for all." The public area,
a big park called the "Mall", is laid out in a rough cross shape, with the
Washington Monument at its axis, and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials,
Capitol, and White House at each of its ends. There is
a "bird’s-eye" view of the city from the 500-foot level of the Washington
Monument so you can see where everything is. During this weekend there
is usually a Festival of American Folk life on the Mall.
You may go on your own at many points in the tour, but a staff member will be available to help you, when needed. Here are some of the sights we will see
and a suggested itinerary:
4th of July Fireworks - celebrating the anniversary of
the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Britain (1776)
Jefferson Memorial - A beautiful domed monument to the Third president
of the United States, who was also an architect who loved domed structures.
He was a first-class political philosopher who drafted the text for the Declaration
of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Our vantage point will give you
a great photo foreground for the memorial.
White House - Presently there is not a tour inside
the White House, but we will go to the best places where you can get
close-up photos of the exterior. Who knows? Maybe
the President will wave to you!
Ford’s Theatre: restored to look exactly as it looked the fateful
night of April 14, 1865 when actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln while he
was watching a comedy drama to relax after the Civil War ended. The House
Where Lincoln Died is right across the street.
Museums of the Smithsonian Institution: A government-subsidized
collection of artifacts and memorabilia founded in the 1800's which line the
Mall on both sides. The museums are organized by themes
or areas of interest. Here are a few which you can visit:
National Museum of American History - The original "Star-Spangled
Banner", the actual inaugural gowns of many of the presidents’ wives, as
well as exhibits on high-tech communication, native Americans, and America’s
diversity fill this large museum.
National Museum of Natural History - See the world’s largest diamond,
dinosaur skeletons, a huge stuffed real elephant, moon rocks, and
exhibits on ancient cultures.
National Air and Space Museum - Life-sized replicas of famous "firsts" in
space exploration, the real first airplane, first lunar orbiter, and the plane
that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. Excellent IMAX movies and planetarium shows
are options for about $8-10 each.
Arlington National Cemetery - Visit John F. Kennedy’s Grave, the
Arlington House (where Southern General Robert E. Lee retired so he could
keep his eye on what was going on in Washington), and the Tomb of Unknown
Soldier, with its "changing of the guard" ceremony.
Lincoln Memorial - The site also where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave
his "I Have a Dream" speech--and where Forrest Gump jumped into the reflecting
National Gallery of Art - Two buildings in one, with both classical
and modern art in buildings that are themselves great works of art.
U.S. Supreme Court - We will go inside if it is open, but usually
the court is not in session during this holiday weekend.
U.S. Capitol Building - Though Congress is seldom in session at
this time, you can see where they meet, and be awed by the amazing sculptures
and paintings on the inside of the dome.