As many of you know if you follow my Instagram or Facebook accounts, we recently returned from a trip to the east to visit my parents in Maryland. Lula has been begging to see all the monuments in DC for over a year now since they studied a bit of government and the nation’s capitol in first grade. And Diesel has recently fallen in love with George Washington. (I mean, who wouldn’t? He was quite a guy!)
So we decided to drive to Maryland together (just the three of us) for Spring Break and see as much as we could in DC. But there’s SO. MUCH. TO. DO. How in the world to decide what to see and do with kids??? Well, there are plenty of other things to do, but here’s what we did…
We had three days to spend in DC based on my dad’s work schedule. He’s kind of a DC expert since he lived there when he was in his teens. (He was working at a grocery store downtown when the Martin Luther King riots broke out after he was murdered. He’s got some crazy stories!) My parents live in the Frederick area. So we drove our car down to the Shady Grove Metro stop, parked, and hopped on the metro. The kids LOVED this part of the adventure since we have no public transportation in our little town.
We got off the metro at Union Station and proceeded to the US Capitol building. It was FREEZING cold, but we were bundled up as best we could be. We had a few blocks to walk to the Capitol, and the kids were so excited as it got closer and closer. My mom had already pre-scheduled a tour time for us months before, so we were trying to get there on time.
The area where the tours begin is filled with statues of famous people. Lu and D were cracking me up because they wanted to see every single one and know who they were. I have two very curious and inquisitive little monkeys!
The tour begins in a huge theater with a short video about the history of the Capitol building and a little of DC. Then we split into groups and were assigned a tour guide. Our tour lady was great… very engaging and funny. Honestly, the tour is really short, and you don’t get to see very much, but we had quite a big and unexpected surprise.
While we were in the rotunda, which is the main part of the tour, our tour guide started saying, “Oh, someone’s coming through. Come this way! No, come over here this way!” She was trying to get us positioned in the best possible spot for whoever was walking through the middle. At that point they had the middle of the rotunda blocked off so no one could cross, and people were lining up on both sides. We had no idea what was going on, and our guide didn’t know who was coming through, but she knew it was someone. :)
The President of Ireland was in town, so we thought it might be him. But all of a sudden, Vice President Pence started walking through the middle. There was a hush in the crowd as everyone tried to take pictures and videos. Everyone pushed the kids to the front so they could see… including us! He patted Diesel on the face and said, “Hi, buddy!” I must confess, though I’m not very political at all, it was pretty cool to “run into” someone so important. I think my mom was in hysterics. :) She’ll be talking about it with my grandmother and aunt for the next month at least!
After all this excitement, the rest of the tour felt a little lame. Honestly, we barely heard what our guide was saying after this as all the adults were posting their pics to social media and buzzing about our run in with fame. But the kids were listening and asking questions, so they got something out of it.
We were a little let down at the end of the tour. My mom thought we’d be able to go into the House or Senate, but you have to get tickets from your own congressman to get in. However, she was determined to prolong our tour. So she went up to a help desk and asked how we could get in. They actually called the Maryland office and said someone would bring us tickets and where to wait!
So after some more waiting, we got tickets, went through more security, waited in another line, went through more security, and finally got to go into the House of Reps to watch what was going on. It’s all pretty boring but at the same time really, really cool to be that close to such important things. It’s a strange feeling.
Overall, visiting the Capitol building leaves one with mixed feelings. Lula’s comment was, “Considering I’m so interested in history, it’s weird that I thought that was pretty boring.” And there you have it… from the mouth of a seven-year-old! And I agree… boring was the right word, but interesting at the same time. I think it’s important to see the goings on in our nation’s capitol, even if it’s not that exciting or intriguing.
Because we got such a late start and it takes so long just to get down there, we decided that was probably enough for the day. So we headed back to the metro and stopped at Ted’s Bulletin in Gaithersburg on the way home for a super yummy meal after a tiring day on our feet.
The end… Next up, Part Two: Monuments!