Our nation's capitol city is super-charged with the American spirit! If your arrival in Washington, DC coinsides with Mother Nature, you may be ushered into the scene of brilliant Fall foliage or Springtime clouds of pink cherry blossoms. Confront this scene with a fun and knowledgeable guide. Learn about the most historic city in America, its origins, its challenge for freedom, and its struggle for liberty and equality for mankind. This city has a "lions' share" of National Memorials. Visitors experience a comprehensive glimpse into the three major branches of government, the nation's Capitol where bold decisions are made, and into the endless array of world-class national museums. There, you'll want to slow down and savor one exhibit after another; each museum revealing a treasure of wealth and knowledge. These and so much more will command your "revisit" to continue the discovery of all this great Capital City has to offer!
Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport (Part of the Smithsonian Collection)
Come "hang out" with the big boys! As an extension to the Air and Space Museum located at the Smithsonian, this is where all the "giants" in flight exploration live. From the age of the Wright Brothers to fighter jets, Boeing planes, and the Space Shuttle Discovery, this exploration brings you "nose to nose" with famous planes such as the Enola Gay. Walk underneath an Air France Concorde and look down upon the fierce Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. View stunt planes, unique one-seater planes, and famous planes throughout history. Enjoy IMAX productions, flight simulators, and an observation tower to watch planes land at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC.
Pick a museum that interests you and enjoy!! You can choose a few or see them all as they are on the National Mall relatively close to each other. The most popular one is the Air and Space Museum. The others are the Museum of American History, the American Art Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of African American History, The Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as "The Castle" was completed in 1855 to house an art gallery, a library, a chemical laboratory, lecture halls, museum galleries, and offices. During this time the Smithsonian was a learning institution concerned mainly with enhancing science and less interested in being a museum. However, due to an acquisition of 60 boxcars worth of displays from the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian did become a full fledged museum.
National Holocaust Museum (The Permanent Exhibit)
The U.S. Holocaust Museum serves as this country's memorial to the millions of people murdered, primarily Jews, between 1933 and 1945 by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Here in this Institute is documentation, study, and interpretation of the history surrounding the systematic persecution and annihilation of a people. Inside this national historical site, preservation of the memories of those who suffered can be a gut-wrenching experience, but it also encourages visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust. Confronting hatred, preventing genocide, and preservation of human dignity are goals the museum wishes to inspire in citizens and leaders worldwide.
Daniel's Story Exhibit
Special exhibit at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum designed specifically for children age 8 and above to introduce them to the basic facts of the Holocaust. While the permanent Holocaust museum is a gut-wrenching experience which could cause nightmares, the "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story" exhibit offers a young audience as well as adults, the opportunity to experience life during those horrific times from a Jewish boy's perspective. This 20 minute exhibit is based on the book entitled "Daniel's Story" written by Carol Matas and published in 1993, telling the fictional story of Daniel in greater detail. You are also welcome to continue on into the permanent museum, if you wish.
International Spy Museum
Explore the world of espionage! Learn about microdots, invisible ink, buttonhole cameras, bugs of all kinds. Marvel at ingenious disguises in the "School for Spies" gallery designed for the CIA. Check out the interactive workshops offered for groups and take a polygraph test! Find out the bewildering secret to why a variety of poisonous snakes emerged as the Berlin Wall came down. Uncover stories about famous men and women who were very effective as spies because no one could have ever imagined them in that role. Get a clearer sense of the role of espionage and its impact on national security. Hear how 'Hollywood' helped design such ingenious disguises.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the home of the 'original' Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. These documents are housed in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, the main chamber of the National Archive complex. There, you will also find a copy of the 1297 Magna Carta, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, the Emancipation Proclamation, and collections of photography and other historically and culturally significant American artifacts. The NARA is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. This institution is officially responsible for maintaining and publishing the legally authentic and authoritative copies of acts of Congress, presidential proclamations and executive orders, and federal regulations.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is the government agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the U.S. government. The most notable of which is paper currency for the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve itself is the central bank of the United States of America. In addition to paper currency, the B.E.P. produces Treasury securities, military commissions and award certificate, invitations and admission cards, in addition to different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The Bureau of Printing and Engraving is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States, but does not produce coins; all coinage is produced by the United States Mint.
Enter into "newsmania" when you play the trivia game that's as fresh as today's headlines. Take a virtual tour of seven levels of news fun and try your hand at being a T.V. reporter. Enjoy a tour on your own as the "news comes to life"! Hear of the greatest stories in the news from around the world and visit a variety of theaters offering short films from interesting documentaries and historic broadcasts, to famous sports news in history. View temporary and permanent exhibits of all kinds.
The White House
The White House, home to Presidents and their families for over 200 years, is also recognized as the "symbol" of the President, His administration, and of the United States of America. In 1790, President George Washington signed an Act of Congress declaring that the federal government would reside in a "district" not to exceed ten miles square on the Potomac River. President Washington and City Planner, Pierre L'Enfant, chose the site for this new residence which is now 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is interesting that President Washington oversaw the building of the White House, but never actually lived there. It was nearly completed in the year 1800 when the first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Each President since then has added his own changes and additions to accommodate family style and taste as it is their family home while in office.
The U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. is a symbol of the American People and their government. Originally built in 1793, it has seen many changes from being burnt, to rebuilding, extension, and restoration.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. The library contains millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts in its vast collection. It is also considered to be the largest library in the world. View the grandeur of the Main Reading Room of the historic Thomas Jefferson building, while learning about the symbolic art and architecture. Have you ever wondered why a camel has a hump? What does the chirp of a cricket tell you about the weather forecast? Visit the Library of Congress for answers to these and many more of life's most interesting questions through scientific inquiry.
Washington Nationals Baseball Game
Attend a national league baseball game at Nationals Park
Ghost and Graveyard Tour in Alexandria, VA
Follow an 18th century costumed guide by lantern light through the charming streets of Alexandria's historic district known as Old Town. Hear ghost stories, legends, and folklore. Be intrigued by unsolved mysteries, tales of romance, and angry ghosts looking for revenge! Appropriate for ages 9 and older.
Ghost Tours in Washington, DC
Ghostly experiences await you on a tour of strange happenings in Washington, DC.. Our nation's capital is rich in history and monumental achievements, however..., a darker past lies hidden behind closed gates and within its corridors. Hear stories of conspiracies, crimes of passion, duels and assassinations associated with Lafayette Park known as 'Tragedy Square'. Tours are led by guides who are very knowledgeable in the field of paranormal history. All ghost stories must have a minimum of three independent sources for accuracy and credibility. "Ghost Tours" has been featured on all major television networks and in HBO films, as well as in the documentary, "Southern Haunts". Appropriate for all age groups, these tours have accurate historical value.
This is the place to brush up on your "Lincoln 101". From four plus years in office, to the Derringer pistol John Wilkes Booth used to kill Abraham Lincoln, you will come to better understand this great man. The museum highlights Lincoln's presidency through the people who surrounded him. His friendship with Frederick Douglass who visited the white House, quite frequently, was highly unusual for the era when blacks weren't even allowed on the grounds. See how Lincoln and Booth crossed paths prior to his death, and read about the 10 conspirators who plotted the assassination. Visit the very theater area where Lincoln was shot and the Petersen House across the street where he died. The museum's "conceptual challenge" has been to ensure that whether you are a fifth grade student or a Lincoln "buff", the experience will be appealing, educational, and full of inspiration.
Mount Vernon (Home of George Washington)
Mount Vernon, home to George Washington, first President and Father of Our Country, is the most popular estate in America. It rests on the banks of the famous Potomac River. Visitors are invited to tour the Mansion house and more than a dozen outbuildings including the slave quarters, kitchen, stables, and greenhouse. Stroll four different gardens, hike the Forest Trail, and explore a four-acre working farm. George and Martha rest in peace in the tomb where wreath laying ceremonies are held daily. Visitors learn about Washington's exceptional life and accomplishments through interactive displays, a major movie, and short films produced by the History Channel, just to name a few. Three life-size models created by a team of artists, forensic, and computer experts, depict Washington as never before seen.
Smithsonian National Zoo
The Smithsonian Zoo will amaze you! Enjoy the many demonstrations during the day such as an elephant taking a bath, or "feeding time" for the giant octopus! The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is currently home to approximately 2,000 animals of 400 species from all around the world. Some of the notable animals you will encounter are Giant Pandas, Cheetahs, Elephants, Orangutans, Gorillas, Wolves, Tigers, Eagles, Octopi, and Bears. The goal of the National Zoological Park was not only to allow the public to view animals they might not otherwise see, but also to provide refuge for wildlife that was rapidly disappearing from the American frontier, such as the bison. For the first 50 years of its existence, the zoo concentrated on displaying as many species as possible. However, by the 1950's, the staff at the zoo became more concerned with the breeding of endangered species. In 1975, the Smithsonian established a 3,200 acre facility in Virginia which serves as a refuge for 'vanishing' wildlife.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Featuring "Shear Madness" (Appropriate for 11th Grade and older)
America's favorite comedy and longest running play in history; The hilarious "whodunit" where the audience gets to solve the crime! Improvisation and up-to-the-minute humor makes this play delightfully different every time you see it. Prior to the show, tour the John F. Kennedy Center which was opened to the public in 1971. This "living" memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial and rests on the banks of the Potomac River. President Kennedy was a life long advocate and supporter of the "arts". In its efforts to fulfill Kennedy's vision, the center presents an unmatched variety of musicals and theater, ballet and dance, ochestral, chamber, jazz, popular, world, and folk music. In addition, there are multi-media performances for all ages and thousands of performances by the greatest artists across America and around the world.
Six Flags® - America
Spend a day enjoying a different kind of fun; Roller Coasters! Enjoy all of the regular and water rides offered by Six Flags.
U.S. Botanical Gardens
From jungle to desert to primeval paradise, the indoor and outdoor gardens of the U.S. Botanic Garden transport you into a world of awesome beauty and diversity of plants worldwide. The United States Botanic Garden, steeped in history and rich with tradition, is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. It is a reminder of the importance of plants to the well-being of humankind, the earths' fragile ecosystems, and their often irreplaceable value.
Washington National Cathedral (non-denominational)
The classical Gothic style of Washington's National Cathedral makes it look as if this magnificent structure was built somewhere in Europe during the Middle Ages. Construction began in 1907, and in fact, was just finished as recently as 1990. The cathedral is officially known as the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, and is elaborately decorated with both religious and nation motifs. Of the cathedral's 215 stained glass windows, the 'space window', commemorating the first landing on the moon, and the 'rose window' are among the most famous. Funeral services for American presidents Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan were held in the National Cathedral. It was also the location of the last Sunday sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. before his assassination in 1968.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic)
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Latin Rite Catholic Basilica honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It is the largest Catholic church in the United States, the eighth largest religious structure in the world, and the tallest building in Washington, DC.. Not to be confused with the Washington National Cathedral or the church serving the Washington Archdiocese, the Basilica is the Patronal Catholic Church of the United States, honoring Mary, Mother of God, under the title Immaculate Conception.
Private Group Disco Dance Party w/ Live DJ (in conjunction with a pizza dinner)
Enjoy a pizza buffet and arcade followed by a private disco dance just for your group! Move to the tunes of today... and a few from yesteryear. The 70', 80's, 90's, and today will inspire all to "get up and boogie". What a great way to end an exciting day in Wash., DC!
World War II Memorial
One of Washington D.C.'s newest monuments, the National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the American Armed Forces during the war. This memorial also honors the 400,000 Americans that died in a war that claimed more than 70 million casualties worldwide. Surrounded by two of Washington D.C.'s most notable structures - the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial - the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in May 2004. Operated by the National Park Service, it was designed to be "a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world".
Air Force Memorial
The Air Force Memorial overlooks the Pentagon and the Washington, DC area with stainless steel spires which represent contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds as they disperse in a bomb burst maneuver.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for those who gave their lives to keep America free. A perpetual vigilance takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in remembrance. The cemetery's rolling hills dotted with endless grave markers are a stunning reminder of the price that was paid for the freedom we cherish. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, by providing a sense of beauty and peace, honor those who have served our nation. Trees, hundreds of years in age, provide a canopy for visitors, and complement the gardens found throughout the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of those laid to rest in these hallowed grounds. Here, you may visit the grave sites of the famed Kennedy Family.
"Embassy Row" in Washington, DC, generally refers to an area where you will find many, but not all, of the District's 170 foreign embassies. Each is a"residence" for the ambassadors of many nations. The first embassy on Embassy Row, and still one of the most prominent, was the British Embassy. The street began to lose its elite luster in the 1920s, and some neighborhoods decayed. In the aftermath of World War II, fashionable living shifted, and nations competed to build or maintain grand residences to represent their nation's significance in the capital city of America, the new "superpower".
Frederick Douglass Historic Site
Born into slavery, Douglass escaped to spend his life fighting for justice and equality for all people. His tireless struggle, brilliant words, and inclusive vision of humanity continue to inspire and sustain people today. Walk the halls of his home, Cedar Hill, now designated as a U.S. National Park.
Iwo Jima Memorial
Under control of the Japanese army, the small island of Iwo Jima became a strategic target for the American army due to its location to the mainland during the war. The goal: Attack and take control of this island. On February 23, 1945, the American army was successful. Six soldiers climbed Mount Suribachi, the highest point, and together raised a very large American flag in victory. This moment was captured on film by Photographer, Joe Rosenthal, who went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for this inspiring picture. The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest in the war. More than 6,800 American and 23,000 Japanese casualties were recorded. Of the six soldiers, only three survived the war. The other three were killed other battles.
The Washington Monument is located at the National Mall, surrounded by flags representing each state. An elevator ride will take you up to the observatory for a magnificent view. As early as 1783, when George Washington was still alive, plans by Pierre Charles l'Enfant for an equestrian statue of Washington were approved by Congress. The plan was never realized so in 1833, at the 100th anniversary of George Washington's birth, James Madison and John Marshall decided to take matters in their own hands and founded the Washington National Monument Society; its purpose was to build a monument to George Washington.
The words of Thomas Jefferson, some written more than 200 years ago, have shaped American ideals. Today, many of these impressive, stirring words adorn the interior walls of his memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and endures as a site for reflection and inspiration for all citizens of the United States and the world. In 1941, Rudolph Evans was commissioned to sculpt the statue of Thomas Jefferson. It was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment, and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Also noteworthy, and adorning the interior of the Memorial, are five quotations taken from Jefferson's writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life.
Korean War Memorial
"Freedom is not free." Here, at the Korean War Memorial, you will find expression of American gratitude to those who restored freedom to South Korea. Nineteen stainless steel sculptures stand silently under the watchful eye of a sea of faces upon a granite wall which stands as a reminder of the human cost of defending freedom. Discover patriotism, devotion to duty, and the courage of Korean War veterans.
Visit this magnificent memorial in honor of America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and support for the Homestead Act are just two indicators of Lincoln's belief and conviction. The Lincoln Memorial is a humble salute to a great leader in American History whose powerful intent to make a difference was cut short by his untimely death. On February 12, 1911, construction began to commemorate Lincoln's birthday. The memorial has been the site of several famous speeches and gatherings, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, during the rally of the "March on Washington".
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. is considered to be America's most influential Civil Rights leader in history. This national memorial is intended to draw visitors far and wide, transforming thougts and ideas of heart and mind towards a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial honors Dr. King's vision for all to live a life of freedom, opportunity, and justice. The centerpiece of the memorial is a statue of Dr. King that rises up 30 feet in the air. As he gazes toward the horizon with arms folded, he seems to contemplating on the future and hope for humanity, thus known as the "Stone of Hope"
Pentagon 911 Memorial
The Pentagon Memorial, located just southwest of the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, is a permanent outdoor memorial to those killed in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001. The park itself is designated to be a place of remembrance, reflection, and renewal, and is structured in a highly specific and unique way. Consisting of 184 memorial units dedicated to each individual victim, the park is organized as a timeline of the victims' ages from the youngest, age 3, to the oldest, age 71. Additionally, to extinguish victims on board Flight 77 from those who were inside the Pentagon, 59 memorial units face one direction, and 125 face the other.
FDR, as he was known, was the longest serving president of the century; a man who embodied the word 'courage'. Historians have long placed Franklin Roosevelt with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as the greatest of all American presidents. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while paralyzed from the waist down, served his country as the 32nd President of the United States. Through the dark hours of the Great Depression, worldwide economic crisis and world war, he declared that "this generation has a rendezvous with destiny". Considered by some as the greatest president of the century, he contributed to the national spirit at home and around the world. The memorial's design consists of four outdoor "rooms" and gardens animated by sculpture, water and stone.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Visit the Vietnam Veterans memorial honoring the men and women who fought for life, freedom, and human dignity. View "The Wall", a revered monument built for the survivors, families, and for a conflicted nation. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors members of the U.S. armed forces who died while serving or considered 'missing in action' during the Vietnam War. The site consists of three parts: the Three Servicemen statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall designed by Maya Lin.
King Street Blues Restaurant
Red Hot & Blue Grill
Magill's Pizza Buffet
Harriet's Family Restaurant
Hard Rock Cafe
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Old Country Buffet
Clydes of Georgetown (upscale)
Reagan International Trade Bldg. Food Court
Potomac Mills Mall (Woodbridge, VA)
Springfield Mall (Springfield, VA)
Pentagon City Mall (Crystal City, VA)
Lunch or Dinner Cruise on The Potomac River
Student Dinner Disco Dance Cruise
Bucca di Beppo Italian Restaurant
Carmine's Italian Restaurant