Halfway through March I called our Senator's office to schedule a tour of the Capitol. They told me to arrive at 10:40, and I THOUGHT that meant we would meet someone from our Senator's office or maybe get to see the house in session.
Because I thought we were on a time schedule, we rushed out of our hotel room, with lunches packed for the day. In the city,you have to allow a lot more time for transit...especially if you don't have the timing of the trains down pat.
We found the Capitol building, and a long line outside the visitor's center. I called the Senator's office, and they said we were in the right place. We got to the front of the line and ready to go through security. The security guard said I couldn't take my re-usable water bottle inside, even though it was empty. We had to go outside and throw it in the trash can... They wouldn't even let us set it on the ground in a corner beside the trash can! We went back through the security line... And this time we got stopped in the bag check for our lunch of protein bars and peanut butter crackers. We had to go BACK outside, throw our lunch in the trash, and go BACK through security check. We made it!! Rushing to the counter, the lady told us that we should just get in line for a public tour, since we had no letter of confirmation or anything.
It dawned on me all at once... Why in the world had we rushed like crazy and thrown away our lunch?? We were in the public tour line, and it seemed to make no difference what time we had arrived. Frustrated that we had wasted our lunch, we went on with the tour.
The view from inside the dome was spectacular. After seeing the dome, we went to a room where congress met until the mid-1800's. I loved seeing the oil lamps mounted on the columns. The room is now home to statues from different states. Jefferson Davis represents Mississippi in the room.
Well, after those two rooms, we turned in our headsets and were through with our tour. Yep. On the bright side, we got to use the tunnel through to the library of congress and by-pass security there!
The library of congress is the most beautiful building I have ever been in! It is truly awesome. We got to see a Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Jefferson's library, and a great exhibit called "Creating the United Staes" featuring primary source documents from history.
Look at this mosaic ceiling!! Of course, the natural light and bright colors definitely added to the beauty! We went upstairs and got to view the reading room. We didn't get to find the President's book of Secrets, though!
After the library of congress, we decided to check out the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. We walked down the mall several blocks to the museum, and then we stopped for a pretzel break before entering.
We spent 4 hours in the museum! The kids enjoyed the first room, a hands on room all about flight. Sarah is flying a small cessna (sp?) plane!
Over and over we agreed how exciting it was to see the ACTUAL whatever it was... We got to see the ACTUAL plane flown by the Wright brothers!
After shutting down the museum, we made our way to Chinatown! The archway was beautiful, and you can see the Starbucks (with Chinese lettering!) on the corner in the background.
At the metro station, we avoided eye contact with some weirdos with microphones while waiting on our friends. One of the guys looked like Mr. T, they were all dressed in black robes, and they had a picture of Jesus with devil horns. Welcome to the big city... Our friends, Josh and Smitha Bullock, arrived, and we enjoyed a nice dinner together.
Back at the hotel, the kids swam for a little while before bed...