Tourist in our own country – part 1


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Last week, my daughter had a wonderful opportunity to attend a leadership conference with other kids from across the nation.  It was a wonderful experience for her and she’s still gabbing about how awesome it was!  If anyone would like my own feedback about the program, please contact me directly (diane@parsonsphoto.org)!

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While she was in her program, Evanthea and I became tourists in DC!  And while we were there, we received some fabulous recommendations from friends on what to do and see; so I thought it fitting that we should do a blog post on our opinions!

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Our first experience was with Jet Blue Airlines: A+ Top notch service across the board!  Everyone was very nice to the girls, they earned their wings!

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Our next experience was on the Metro: A I highly recommend using the Metro if you decide to tour DC.  We purchased SmarTrip cards for $2 a piece, then we purchased 7 day unlimited fares.  I think we figured out that it cost us $8 a day per person for traveling.  I don’t give them an A+ because despite the fact that we had unlimited fares, we still had to pay the cost difference when traveling during rush hour; typically $1 a ride extra.  Still better than a cab, but annoying to keep track of!

Then we hit the hotel – Evanthea and I stayed at Courtyard by Marriott in Greenbelt: A++  I can’t speak highly enough about the staff at this hotel!  They were fantastic!  They took a moment to understand Evanthea’s allergies, spoke to her like an adult, and joked around with her!  They have a complementary shuttle to and from the Metro station, and that saved us many hassles and lots of cab fare!!

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International Spy Museum: D for disappointing…Evanthea was super excited to go and see the Spy Museum.  After buying our tickets ($22 for adults, $15 for kids), we were told that we were going on a mission.  We were brought up in an elevator and brought to a room to choose a fake name, memorize our facts, and then we’ll find out why after a brief movie.  Here’s who we chose:

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We watched the brief move, and ended up in a room that featured James Bond’s car.  That was it…we were on our own.  Perplexed on what our mission was, we wandered through the museum on our own.  It was a ton of photos of spies, some artifacts, and lots of write ups.  The entire next floor was devoted to James Bond villains…cool in theory but not something to do with a 9 year old who hasn’t seen any of the movies.  We accidentally stumbled in to the gift shop…laughed that we ended up there and were pleasantly surprised with the fact that the gift shop was way better than the museum!

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Right down the street was the Koshland Science Museum: B Tickets are $7 per person and Evanthea loved it!  It’s all interactive exhibits.  It was geared towards kids and adults so they weren’t too simple or complicated.  Her favorite exhibit was the driving one (photos above), she had a simulation of driving through a grocery store to purchase healthy treats!  Fun!

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Next stop was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: A- I’m not a big air and space person, but my husband is and he brings a lot of that love to Evanthea.  She really enjoyed the planes and ships.  It’s free to get in (as are all Smithsonians) and the crowd was pretty light – we were able to move about the museum with ease and see everything.

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Our final stop that first day was the Smithsonian Museum of Natural HistoryA+ it was high on our priority to hit this museum (we ended up coming back two more times!) as my dad used to go on virtual tours of this museum with the girls!  It did not disappoint!  As you can see from the photos, we didn’t have a lot of people to compete with to see the exhibits.  We enjoyed seeing the mammals, the Hope Diamond, and obviously the elephant!

The next day, my mom joined us on our walking tours!

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Our first stop was the National Archives A+:  to see the original Documents of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution.  One simple word: wow.  It was amazing to see the original documents, the original signatures, and to be in that building….just simply amazing!  This was also free to get into – just be sure to hit the documents first as they only let in small groups at a time.  Put your camera and phones away and make some memories because no photos are allowed!

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We had a tour of the US Capitol Building planned and that did not disappoint!  A another free tour, but you have to schedule it in advance.  I give an A because our docent tours were led by a docent who used an FM system but not for the hearing impaired (there was nothing to add to Evanthea’s hearing aid, so she had to listen from one ear only).  But it was a fabulous tour – fascinating facts and the architecture was amazing!  Definitely geared towards kids and adults both.

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Connected through a tunnel is the Library of Congress A+  Again, free to get in and amazing!  The architecture alone is awe-inspiring.  We loved photographing and just sitting to soak everything up – it was just awesome!!

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The Supreme Court Building was the most impressionable to me: A+ The building was humbling.  It was amazing to be there, to see it, to feel the history.  It would have received an A++ from me, but the gift shop was closed for inventory!

Not bad for our first couple of days!!  We averaged about 7 miles walking per day and we tried to hit as many sights as we could!  Stay tuned tomorrow for more reviews!!


3 thoughts on “Tourist in our own country – part 1

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