Washington DC is a pretty magical place. The pièce de résistance of course is the mall; the famous green that is surrounded by world renowned museums and monuments.
In addition to all the actual real life history that is contained in Washington, films and tv shows have been using it as a location to shoot for decades. Between Jenny running to Forrest Gump across the reflecting pool to the animals that come alive in the Natural History Museum, you will be shouting “Been there!” at the TV for years after.
The Smithsonian Castle houses the Mall’s Visitor Centre and also for some reason the remains of Mr. Smithson; an Englishman who left the fledging USA with half a million dollars for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge” for the nation. This lead to the founding of the Smithsonian institute – a collection of museums and research facilities. Seventeen of them are in Washington – all free to enter.
The National History Museum is probably the most famous of the Smithsonian Museums – especially since it starred in the film Night at the Museum. There is a vast collection of mainly fauna, but some flora. My favorites were the butterfly enclosure and the chronology of the evolution of man.
The most iconic monument is probably the one for President Abraham Lincoln. Sadly, we didn’t glean any life-changing inspiration while we spent some time with ‘Honest Abe’, just got hit by a number of selfie-sticks.
I think the most exciting thing for me was seeing the White House. Sadly, this is the closest you can get unless you book a tour six months in advance via your embassy. You can’t stand and appreciate it for long though, as a tourist will tap you on the shoulder and ask you to get out of their photograph.
The White House Museum is the closest you’ll get to being inside the White House unless you’re organized enough to book a tour six months in advance. The exhibits inside remind you the presidents were actually just normal people, with an extraordinary job. I loved the scale model – showing the oval office on the left attached to the West Wing – and not in the main house like I’d always assumed.