So you’ve been to Washington, D.C. before and seen the most popular tourist attractions? Been to the Mall, the Monuments, the Capitol and White House, the various Smithsonian Museums? Or perhaps you have kids in tow and can’t fathom how you’ll survive the throngs of tourists without hourly meltdowns? This guide will introduce you to some of the less crowded attractions in Washington, D.C.
Hains Point is on Ohio Avenue on the Virginia side of the Washington Channel. At the far end of the Point is a statue called “The Awakening” This is a favorite statue in Washington, D.C. The sculptor J. Seward Johnson, Jr. created a 100 foot buried Giant reaching up out of the sand.
After viewing the statue, drive up the peninsula from the Point to East Potomac Park during summer months to play mini golf or use the driving range or the public, Olympic size pool. The miniature golf course here dates to 1930 and is said to be one of the three oldest in the United States.
Hains Point and East Potomac Park are not readily accessible by Metro. The closest Metro stations are L’Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian. Hains Point and East Potomac Park are best avoided after dusk.
Editor’s Postscript: This statue was dismantled and moved to National Harbor in Prince George’s County in 2008.
Albert Einstein Statue
What more appropriate locale for a tribute statue to Albert Einstein than outside the National Academy of Sciences? The four-ton, twelve-foot high bronze Einstein is depicted holding a paper summarizing three of his most important mathematical theories including, of course, E=MC2. The address is 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C.
Marian Koshland Science Museum
Also at the NAS (entrance located at the corner of 6th St., N.W. and E St., N.W.), the Marian Koshland Science Museum demystifies current topics in science and is recommended for teens and older visitors. Its permanent exhibit Wonders of Science features groundbreaking research while its two traveling exhibits explore DNA developments and global warming. On weekends and select holidays, visitors can extract their own DNA. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students, active duty military or children 5-18.
NAS is accessible by Metro using Gallery Place/Chinatown or Judiciary Square stations.
The remnants of a Civil War fort at 13th Street and Quackenbos St., N.W., Fort Stevens has cannons and ramparts for kids to climb. This fort was instrumental in a civil war battle to save the nation’s capital from capture by rebel forces; the Battle of Fort Stevens is the only battle in which a sitting President was present. while the troops were under fire.
Lincoln Park, on East Capitol St., N.E., between 11th and 13th Streets, N.E., contains two notable statues. The earlier statue, the Emancipation Statue, was funded by freed slaves and pays homage to President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The second, a statue of educator Mary McCleod Bethune is of more recent vintage. It is the first statue in the District of Columbia honoring a woman and the second honoring an African American.
Eastern Market Metro Station is twelve blocks away.
National Geographic Museum at Explorer’s Hall
Located in the National Geographic Society Headquarters, 1600 M St., N.W., this free museum showcases a changing menu of explorations, geology, oceanography, meteorology, nature, culture and photography. One constant is the monster globe- 11 feet tall- in the lobby.
National Geographic Society is accessible from Farragut North or Farragut West Metro stations.
National Aquarium in Washington, D.C.
This aquarium is located inside the United States Commerce Department, on 14th St., N.W. between Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. and Constitution Avenue, N.W. This is a small aquarium, not be confused or compared with the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It’s a cozy place to meet with seahorses, lion fish, turtles, lobsters, sharks, alligators and other creatures of the sea. The Aquarium charges admission.
The National Aquarium is accessible from Federal Triangle Metro Station.
The United States National Arboretum is located at 3501 New York Avenue, N.E. Breathtakingly beautiful, the Arboretum is open year round. Among its most popular features are the National Bonsai Penjing Museum dedicated to the art of Bonsai, with its Japanese pagoda; the aquatic gardens with magnificent lily pads; the National Herb Garden; the National Grove of State Trees containing the state tree of each of the 50 United States; and the awe-inspiring National Capitol Columns and reflecting pool. The Corinthian columns originally found their home on the East Portico of the United States Capitol Building where they were designed to hold up the Capitol Dome. The Dome was built larger than originally envisioned and the columns were removed.
Admission to the National Arboretum is free. The National Arboretum is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the year except Christmas.
The National Arboretum is accessible by Metrobus from either Union Station or the Stadium-Armory Metro stop.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Located at 400 Michigan Avenue, N.E. on the campus of Catholic University, the Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Built in Romanesque-Byzantine style, it is noted for its many domes and mosaics and marble sculptures.
The Basilica is Metro accessible from the Brookland-CUA stop.