The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a prominent Latin Rite Roman Catholic basilica located in Washington, D.C., USA, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal Patroness of the USA.
The shrine is the largest Catholic church in the USA, the largest church of any kind in the western hemisphere, the eighth largest church building in the world, and the tallest building in Washington, D.C (the Washington Monument is taller, but is not a habitable building). An estimated one million pilgrims from around the country and the world visit the basilica each year. The basilica is on Michigan Avenue in the northeast quadrant of Washington, on land donated by The Catholic University of America. As of 2013 the rector of the shrine was Monsignor Walter R. Rossi, who possesses a Licentiate of Canon Law.
Construction of this church, notable for its Neo-Byzantine architecture, began in 1920 under Philadelphian contractor John McShain. It opened unfinished in 1959. The Basilica is the Patronal Catholic Church of the United States, honoring the Virgin Mary, under the title Immaculate Conception. The cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Washington is the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, not the Basilica.
The shrine has merited several papal visits, by Pope John Paul II who designated the National Shrine as a Minor Basilica in October 12, 1990 and Pope Benedict XVI, who bestowed the honor of a Golden Rose to the basilica. The Basilica does not have its own parish community, but it serves the adjacent University, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (located down the street), and hosts numerous Holy Masses for various organizations of the Church from across the States.
The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and as part of the Smithsonian Institution, does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to provide leadership in animal care, science, education, sustainability, and visitor experience. The National Zoo has two campuses. The first is a 163-acre (66 ha) urban park located in northwest Washington, D.C. that is 20 minutes from the National Mall by Metro to the Woodley Park station, or downhill walk from the Cleveland Park station. The other campus is the 3,200-acre (1,300 ha) Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI; formerly known as the Conservation and Research Center) in Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI is a non-public facility devoted to training wildlife professionals in conservation biology and to propagating rare species through natural means and assisted reproduction. The National Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Altogether, the two facilities contain 2,000 animals of 400 different species. About one-fifth of them are endangered or threatened. Most species are on exhibit at the Zoo's Rock Creek Park campus. The best known residents are the giant pandas, but the Zoo is also home to birds, great apes, big cats, asian elephants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, aquatic animals, small mammals and many more. The SCBI facility houses between 30 and 40 endangered species at any given time depending on research needs and recommendations from the Zoo and the conservation community. The National Zoo, as part of the Smithsonian Institution, receives federal appropriations for operating expenses. A new master plan for the park was introduced in 2008 to upgrade the park's exhibits and layout.
The National Zoo is open every day of the year except December 25 (Christmas Day).
The Old Stone House is the oldest unchanged building in Washington, D.C. The house is also Washington's last Pre-Revolutionary Colonial building on its original foundation.
The Old Stone House, built in 1765, was constructed in three phases during the 18th century and is an example of vernacular architecture. During its history, the house was started as a one-story building and gradually became a used car dealership later. After a renovation by the National Park Service in the 1950s, the Old Stone House was turned into a house museum. The Old Stone House stands among the neighborhood's stores and restaurants as an example of local history for tourists, shoppers, and students.
Old Town Alexandria is the heart of the city on the Potomac River waterfront. This beautifully preserved historic district is George Washington's hometown which continues to hum with a foodie-friendly vibe loved by President Obama and the First Lady for romantic evenings. Pre-eminent chef-owner Cathal Armstrong chooses Alexandria as the setting for his best restaurants including Restaurant Eve. Style seekers flock to the shops of the Old Town Boutique District while The Wall Street Journal praises, "The King Street area has some of the best stores and galleries in the [DC] region." Get up close and personal with artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center and tuck into cozy venues for live theater and music. A range of hotel options include Kimpton's Morrison House, named to Travel + Leisure's "World's Best Service 2013" Top 10 list. Whether you're traveling by the free King Street Trolley, bike, boat or on foot, Alexandria is an easily accessible hotspot for those seeking vibrant history and culture in a thriving city
The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial is designed so that the nation may remember and reflect on the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. The Memorial is free and open to the public seven days a week. Groups and individuals are welcome in the Memorial daily but guided tours are not offered; the Memorial is meant to be experienced on a more personal level.
The Pentagon Memorial is located on the west side of the Pentagon Reservation, at 1 Rotary Road in Arlington, Virginia.
President Lincoln's Cottage is a national monument on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home, known today as the Armed Forces Retirement Home. It is located near the Petworth and Park View neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.. President Lincoln's Cottage was formerly known as Anderson Cottage.
President Abraham Lincoln and family resided seasonally on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home to escape the heat and political pressure of downtown Washington, as did President James Buchanan (1857–1861) before him. President Lincoln's Cottage also served as the Summer White House for Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881) and Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)
The historic Cottage, built in the Gothic revival style, was constructed from 1842 to 1843 as the home of George Washington Riggs, who went on to establish the Riggs National Bank in Washington, D.C. Lincoln lived in the cottage June to November 1862 through 1864 and during the first summer living there, Lincoln drafted the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. Mary Todd Lincoln fondly recalled the campus; in 1865, she wrote, "How dearly I loved the Soldiers' Home."
The Soldiers' Home stands on 251 acres (1.02 km2) atop the third highest point in Washington. The Home was designated a National Historic Landmark on November 7, 1973, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 11, 1974. In 2000, the cottage was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered list. Then about 2.3 acres (9,300 m2) of the Home was proclaimed a National Monument by President Bill Clinton on July 7, 2000. The National Trust took on the restoration which was completed in 2007. The Cottage exterior was restored to the period of Lincoln’s occupancy in the 1860s by the Philadelphia firm J. S. Cornell & Son, according to the standards of the National Park Service. Today it is managed through a cooperative agreement between the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center features exhibits about the Soldiers' Home, wartime Washington, D.C., Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief during the Civil War, and a special exhibit gallery. President Lincoln's Cottage and Visitor Education Center is open to the public for tours seven days a week.
Every Saturday morning from 9am-12pm the National Railway Historical Society opens its Railroad and Railway Workers Museum to vsitors who enjoy the days of olde. See everything from tools and equipment used by railway workers of the past century and the many other train related items, Railway Express Baggage car, restored cabooses, and the grounds containing various signalling and Maintenance of Way equipment. Members are on hand to provide more detailed explanations of railroad equipment. operations and safety. Weather and other conditions permitting board the restored crew cars used by the workers in the early to mid twentieth century and take a liesurely excursion along the Spotsylvania County tracks along Deep Run.
The Renwick Gallery is a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, located in Washington, D.C., and focuses on American craft and decorative arts from the 19th century to the 21st century. It is housed in a National Historic Landmark building that was begun in 1859 on Pennsylvania Avenue and originally housed the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now one block from the White House and across the street from the Old Executive Office Building). When it was build in 1859, it was known, at the time, as the American Louvre.
The first-floor gallery features temporary exhibits that usually rotate about twice a year. On the second floor, in the Grand Salon, is one of the most famous art-filled rooms in Washington, it is hung with 70 paintings, by 51 American artists, painted between 1840 and 1930.
The Renwick Gallery, the Museum's branch location for contemporary American craft and decorative arts, is located steps from the White House in the heart of historic federal Washington.
The main section of the park contains 1,754 acres, or 2.75 square miles, along the Rock Creek Valley. Including the other green areas the park administers (Glover Archbold Park, Montrose Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Meridian Hill Park, Battery Kemble Park, Palisades Park, Whitehaven Park, etc.), it is more than 2,000 acres. The major portion of the area lies north of the National Zoo, and was established by act of Congress made law by President Benjamin Harrison on September 27, 1890, the same year that Yosemite National Park was established. Park construction began in 1897.
Legislative language from its establishment, and the character of the park, suggests that it is among the oldest of America's national parks. In 1913 Congress authorized creation of the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and extended the park along a narrow corridor from the zoo to the mouth of Rock Creek at the Potomac River. The parkway is a major traffic thoroughfare, especially along the portion south of the zoo. The park is patrolled by the United States Park Police.
The parklands follow the course of Rock Creek across the D.C.-Maryland border to connect with Rock Creek Stream Valley Park and Rock Creek Regional Park in Montgomery County. The Maryland parks are operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The Rock Creek Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 23, 1991.
The International Gallery is home to a revolving and exciting array of visiting exhibitions. Check at the information desk in the Castle for show information. Enter at the copper-domed kiosk on Jefferson Drive next to the Castle.
American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music (July 11, 2011-Oct. 9, 2011). One of the first interactive museum exhibitions to tell the story of the profound influence and impact of Latinos in American popular music, including jazz, R&B, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.
Artists At Work (June 23, 2011-Oct. 2, 2011) Ripley Center Concourse. Works in all media—painting, sculpture, photography and video—by Smithsonian staff.
The Discovery Theater
The Discovery Theater offers the best in live performing arts for young people. Each season more than 30 performances feature puppets, music, theater, storytelling, dance and cutting-edge science for groups and families. Visit DiscoveryTheater.org or call 202-633-8700.
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) showcases 40 to 50 exhibitions in cities across the nation every year. Look for a Smithsonian traveling exhibition scheduled to visit your community at sites.si.edu.