The US National Park Service operates many historic sites, monuments, parks and national memorials in the Washington, DC area. The National Mall itself is operated by the US National Park Service. At most visitor centres and ranger stations you can collect National Park Passport Stamps (cancellation stamps) – there is no area in the United States where you can collect more of these stamps than at the National Mall.
I was really looking forward to seeing all these things that I’ve seen so many times on TV. How many times have I seen the Washington Monument? Or the US Capitol Building? Well now we’ve On the East side of the National Mall is the US Capitol Building. Although tours are available I’m not sure if Canadians are able to get tours because that seemed like no fun at all with two small kids.
To the North of the Washington Monument is the White House. We had intended to go see the area around the White House but this was as close as we got.
We were in Washington, DC in February and it was unseasonably cold. And windy. We had hoped to walk the National Mall on a warm day, but we ended up trying to walk it on a cold and windy day as there were no warm days coming. We didn’t get to explore the whole area as much as I had hoped but I’m really glad we were able to see what we did.
This is one of the two National Parks Buildings – this one is to the SW of the Washington Monument, the other is just to the East of the Monument. The one above is the one you want to go to. I should have taken a picture of all the cancellation stamps you can get here, but I didn’t. It is a lot. For the National Mall area, it is your one stop for passport stamps.
That was as far as we got before it just got too miserable with the kids. I hadn’t realized just how windy it was and Nicky’s hat wouldn’t stay on so we just couldn’t keep going. There were also lots of tears at this point. Stephen ran ahead and the kids and I hid in the nice warm bathroom until he got back. Well, after a well meaning park ranger made me feel bad because it was cold and Nicky’s head wasn’t covered.
Stephen had a friend who lives just outside DC who took us on a tour of Washington, DC at night. So the kids and I were able to see the Western area of the National Mall after all.
I had seen pictures of the Vietnam War Memorial before but I was surprised to see what I low profile it actually has. It looks like a scar in the Earth. It has the names of all the US soldiers that died in the war and there are books that you can use to look up people you know.
The Einstein Memorial which is just across the street from the Lincoln Memorial was really cool to see too. If you stand just in the right spot there is a cool little trick too. If you are ever going to be in the area, let me know and I’ll give you a hint.
I was thrilled to be able to see these landmarks in person and I hope to return one day so I can see the whole area when the weather is a bit nicer.