August 27, 2012

Washington DC

Washington DC

 

The Basics 

Washington DC is officially called the “District of Columbia.”  It is a “capital district” under the Constitution.  It is not a state, but is owned and operated by the federal government.  It does have a Mayor and a City Council, however, which represent the people who live in DC.  It also has a nonvoting member in the House of Representatives (otherwise it has no representation in our federal government).

It was made up of land donated by both Maryland and Virginia (later, Virginias land was given back to it), and is situated along the Potomac River.  Its location was selected by none other than George Washington himself!

 

Its Claim to Fame

The National Mall is in the heart of DC, with Washington Memorial on one end and the Lincoln Memorial on the other and a reflecting pool in between.   Washington DC has many memorials that honor important people in our country’s history – from Presidents to soldiers that gave their life for our freedom.

DC was the first planned city in America – the whole thing was designed before construction even began!   Soon after America won its independence, President George Washington hired an architect and city planner named Pierre Le’Enfant to design a national capital.   He looked at some of the newly redesigned cities in Europe for inspiration and planned a capital city that had open spaces, wide avenues, monuments, statues and parks.  The city is divided into four sections, all which come together at the Capitol. – Northeast Quadrant, Northwest Quadrant, Southeast Quadrant, and Southwest Quadrant.

 

What Makes it Tick

The federal government!  All three branches of our federal government are based in DC, including all the different departments of the executive branch.  And, most of those The federal government has many buildings within DC.  There are the “Big 3,” of course – the White House is the President’s residence and office (who is head of the Executive Branch), the Capitol is home base for Congress, and the Supreme Court Building houses the highest court in the land.  But, there are many other interesting buildings to visit!  The US Treasury comes to mind – don’t you want to see how money is made? You could also visit the Library of Congress and see the original documents that created our great country -  the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

 

If You Visited

You could also go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring.  The Festival commemorates the gift of 2,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington DC from the city of Tokyo in 1912.  The gift was meant to celebrate the friendships between the two countries.

 

Some of our country’s best museums are in DC – the Smithsonian comes to mind!  In fact, the Smithsonian Institution has 19 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoo.  Some of the most famous Smithsonian museums are the National History Museum and the Air and Space Museum.

 

Want to Know More? 

Check our Washington DC scrapbook for information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Have you ever visited Washington DC? If so, we want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.  Do you have any photos of Washington DC to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Washington DC.  Visit these websites to learn more: