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It is always a pleasure to meet Rhode Islanders visiting our nation's capital. If you are planning a trip to Washington, DC, my office can provide helpful information about all the great monuments, museums, and historic landmarks the city has to offer.
The U.S. Capitol
Tours of the U.S. Capitol building may be scheduled through my office. Group tours begin every 10 minutes from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and for groups of 15 or fewer, from 8:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The White House
Attention: As of November 5, 2013, the White House is reopening for limited public tours of the East Wing and Executive Residence.
I am pleased to help Rhode Islanders book tours of the White House. There are several requirements that must be met for White House tours, including security checks and advance reservations.
Public tours must be requested through one's Member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted). As always, White House tour schedules are entirely dependent on the President and First Lady's schedule, and sometimes tours will have to be either cancelled or rescheduled at the last minute.
Due to the limited availability of White House tours, it is imperative that you contact my office at your earliest convenience and at least three months prior to your planned arrival in Washington. The White House will accept reservations six months in advance and I recommend that you contact me at the beginning of this window.
Once I receive your available dates for a White House tour, a member of my staff will contact you for additional security information, which we must submit to the U.S. Secret Service. This information includes the full name, date of birth, social security number, country of origin, and citizenship of each member of your group.
The White House Visitors Office schedules tours on a first come, first serve basis, and only offers a limited number of tickets. My office is notified 2 to 4 weeks in advance of the requested tour as to whether or not the White House can accommodate your request.
Please note: On September 4, 2009 President Obama announced that visitor access records to the White House Complex will be made publicly available 90-120 days after the date of visit. This policy includes all guests touring the White House. Please be aware that your full name and the date of your visit will be part of the publicly released records. Your date of birth, Social Security Number and all other information provided will not be released.
U.S. Supreme Court
Reserved tours of the Supreme Court are Monday through Friday when the Court is not in session. The tour begins at 1:45 p.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Public tours are also available Monday through Friday, every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Engraving & Printing
A limited number of Congressional tours may be arranged Monday through Friday for constituents interested in visiting the center responsible for the design and manufacture of U.S. currency, postage stamps, and Treasury notes. Please notify our office as early as possible if you wish to arrange a Congressional tour. Tours begin at 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. From May through August, there are additional tour times at 4, 4:15, and 4:45 p.m.
The National Archives features the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, as well as current and past special exhibits. Tours lasting about 90 minutes are available Monday through Friday at 9:45 a.m. Please notify our office as early as possible in order to request a Congressional tour. Additionally, a number of self-guided tours of the National Archives are available throughout the day and can be requested through this office.
The Pentagon is the home of the Department of Defense. Congressional tours are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the hour. Please notify my office as early as possible if you wish to arrange a Congressional tour.
Congressional tours of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are available Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. The tour includes Presidential boxes and private lounges. The 4:30 p.m. tour ends at the Millennium Stage, just in time for a free performance at 6:00 p.m.
Library of Congress
Jefferson Building, First Street and Independence Avenue, S.E. Tours are conducted Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. The Library asks that groups over 10 people make a reservation for a special tour, which you can do by contacting my office.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury Building is now open for public tours on Saturday mornings, with reservations available only through Congressional offices. Like its immediate neighbor, the White House, the Treasury Department has remained on its original Pennsylvania Avenue site since 1899. The Treasury Building is home to an impressive collection of artifacts, works of art, and furniture. The tour focuses on the history of the Treasury and the architectural history of the building.
Arlington National Cemetery
Built on the grounds of Robert E. Lee's historic homestead, veterans from all our nation's wars are interred in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. Open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM October through March and from 8 AM to 7 PM April through September. Frequently visited sites include The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Amphitheater, the Custis-Lee Mansion, and the eternal flame marking the grave of President John F. Kennedy. Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier occurs every hour on the hour and every half hour during the summer months.
Ford's Theatre and Lincoln Museum
Ford's Theatre is both an active theater and an historic site remembering the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. A museum beneath the theater displays artifacts related to the assassination, including the Derringer pistol used to carry out the shooting, John Wilkes Booth's diary, and the original door to Lincoln's theatre box. Ford's Theatre, the Lincoln Museum, and The House Where Lincoln Died are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day except December 25.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
An interactive monument to our nation's 32nd President and the era he represents, the FDR Memorial is a landscape of four outdoor sections with granite walls, inscriptions, waterfalls and thousands of plants, shrubs and trees along the famous cherry tree walk. Located on the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park and open year round.
Frederick Douglass Memorial Home
Tour the home of Frederick Douglass, America's leading 19th-century African American abolitionist, author, statesman and reformer. Located at 1411 W Street, S.E. and open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is a monument to Douglass' efforts to abolish slavery and his struggle for Human Rights, Equal Rights and Civil Rights for all oppressed people.
South bank of the Tidal Basin. Open 24 hours daily. At the Swan Boathouse, you can rent a paddle boat to cruise the Basin.
Korean War Memorial
The memorial stands on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial as a tribute to those who served in the Korean War. Open 24 hours daily. Independence Avenue & 23rd Street NW.
West Potomac Park at the foot of 23rd Street NW. Open 24 hours daily. Phone: (202) 426-6895.
The home of George Washington. November through February; open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November through February tours end at 4 p.m.; April through August the tours begin at 8 a.m. Phone: (703) 780-2000
The oldest aquarium in the United States, The National Aquarium has over 50 tanks containing nearly 1,000 specimens from over 200 different species. Popular exhibits include piranhas, sea turtles, sharks, and alligators. The aquarium is not managed or funded by the federal government and the entrance fee is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children.
The sixth-largest cathedral in the world, The National Cathedral was completed on September 29, 1990. The cathedral's pointed arches, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses display influences from the various Gothic architectural styles of the Middle Ages. There are over two hundred stained glass windows, including the Space Window, honoring man's landing on the Moon, which includes a fragment of lunar rock at its center. A variety of tour options are available year round.
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art houses one of the finest art collections in the world. Located on The National Mall, the museum has two main buildings containing paintings and sculptures from artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Jackson Pollock. There is also a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden with a fountain in the summer and ice rink in the winter. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
National Portrait Gallery
With over 19,400 works, ranging from paintings and sculptures to photographs and drawings, the National Portrait Gallery is the only museum of its kind in the United States, combining aspects of American history, biography and art. Famous works include the "Lansdowne" portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart and a portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis that is featured on the new $100 bill. Open daily from 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM.
Lions, tigers, and pandas... oh my! With over 2,500 animals of 435 different species, the National Zoo is a popular tourist destination. Highlights include the Panda House, Reptile Discovery Center, Cheetah Conservation Station, and Great Ape House. The grounds are open daily from 6 AM to 8 PM in the spring and summer and from 6 AM to 6 PM in the fall and winter.
This museum "covers" current events past and present. It's open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Same-day tickets may be purchased in person at hte Newseum, either at the ticketing kiosks or at the admissions desk. Advanced tickets may be purchased by telephone at 1-888-NEWSEUM (639-7386).
The Smithsonian Institution is made up of several world famous museums offering a wide range of exhibits from art to nature and space. Ten of these museums are located in close proximity on The National Mall. All of these museums offer free admission, but please be sure to bring your walking shoes because there is lots to see.
U.S. Botanic Gardens
Need some inspiration for your garden at home? The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) is a beautiful and fascinating living plant museum containing a greenhouse that is divided into separate rooms, each one simulating a different habitat. Located on the National Mall across from the U.S. Capitol, the USBG is open every day of the year, including federal holidays.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum
The Museum's main exhibit, "The Holocaust" is a powerful experience recommended for visitors eleven years and older. The exhibition starts with life before the Holocaust in the early 1930s and ends with the aftermath of the Holocaust after 1945. Passes for the exhibit are free but are required. Same day pass distribution begins at 10:00 AM at the Permanent Exhibition Pass Desk (14th Street entrance) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Passes are timed at 15 minute intervals from 10:00 AM to 3:45 PM. Tickets are limited to four per person. Advance passes may also be acquired by calling ProTix, 1-800-400-9373. There is a service charge and a limit of 10 passes per group.
For more information regarding tours of Washington, DC or to schedule Congressional tours, please do not hesitate to contact Senator Reed's Cranston office at: (401) 943-3100.
Vietnam Veterans War Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans War Memorial consists of three distinct sections: The Wall; the Three Servicemen Statue and flagpole; and the Women in Service to the Vietnam War statue. The black granite Wall is inscribed with the names of the 58,000 plus Americans who gave their lives or remain missing from the Vietnam War. Located in a grassy park of Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial, the Wall is open all day, year round.
Voice of America
Get a behind-the-scenes look at Voice of America, an international broadcasting agency funded by the U.S. Government with a worldwide audience of 123 million people every week. Tours of the studio are available Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, at noon and 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Private group tours can also be requested. Call 202-203-4990 for more information.
The Washington Monument
A trip to the top of the Washington Monument offers spectacular views of downtown Washington, DC and the National Mall. Free tickets are now available, but advance reservations are recommended and can be obtained online at: reservations.nps.gov. Reservations for the Washington Monument may be made over the phone between 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM EST by calling 1-800-967-2283. Those making advance reservations will be charged $1.50 service fee per ticket, plus a $.50 handling fee per order. The National Park Service also makes same-day admission passes available, but you will probably need to get there early in the morning. The monument opens daily at 9, and tours commence every half hour until 4:30. Group tours are also available.
World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial honors all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms. The memorial is made up of 56 pillars arranged in a semicircle around a central plaza with two giant arches on opposite sides. The pillars represent the American communities that contributed to the war effort and the arches are inscribed with "Atlantic" and "Pacific." There is also a Freedom Wall containing 4,048 gold stars, one for approximately 100 American deaths incurred in the war. The memorial is open all day, year round.