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If you were going to DC....

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Depending on transport availability, you would be about an hour from the new Quantico (MCDEC) Marine Corps Museum, an hour from The Manassas battle fields (Bull Run) one and one half hours to the Fredricksburg/Chancellorsville battle sites, minutes from Andrews AF base or Bolling Naval Air Station... (if you have a "friend" you might get a tour out of it! Mount Vernon (George and Martha's home) is great...and not too far from greenbelt...but you will need transport.


Lots to do, and lots to see in the D.C. Metro area. Both Air and Space museums are terrific- White House is a big dissappointment for most folks....Best bet is to have your Scouts do their own research and decide what they would like to see...then "work" the logistics...


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Someone mentioned the National Aquarium -- that's actually in Baltimore, not DC.


I don't know if anyone mentioned the "Newseum" -- a museum of journalism and the media. It was awesome when it was in Arlington, but I understand its been relocated and I don't know where it is now.


The National Geographic Society had some neat exhibits in the lobby when I lived in DC (2000-2002); I don't know what's there now, but it might be worth a look.


Finally, I don't know if this would hold as much appeal for the Scouts as for the adults, but I thought the National Academy of Sciences was awesome -- it has a statue of Einstein on the grounds that is unusual, to say the least.

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All good ideas above...Sounds like you want to camp and travel by car to the DC area...


I work for the transit system, so some of my stuff may be biased, but any way (all this is personal exp.)...

+Greenbelt Park is nice (NPS), reserve a long way ahead. Lots of out of towners. Walk (hike) to the Metro station. Nearby: Goddard Space Flight Center (drive), College Park Aviation Museum (oldest airport in America. Wright brothers trained the Army there. Sikorsky did NOT invent the helicopter)(Metro= College Park), University of Maryland.

+On the NW side of the area: Little Bennett State Park (Clarksburg, Maryland) Good group camping, well kept. 20 minute drive down to Shady Grove Metro Station. Rural, locals. Historic hiking trails.500+ acres.

+SW side: In Virginia: Camp William B. Snyder, O&O by National Capital Area Council (Hay Market, VA). Almost new. Large swim pool. Cub Scout venue camp (play areas), but large wooded camping area WITH TENTS (!) if you ask soon enough. Dining hall possible. 400+ acres. Off I66, must drive to Metro 25 minutes. Udvar-Hazy on the way.

+ S side: I have heard that if you know someone who knows someone, arrangements can be made to camp in Quantico or Fort Myers. Just a rumor, you understand...

Suggestions::: Avoid August, most humid, hot time of year here. But OTOH, traffic is down 15% as lotsa folks MOVE OUT...Get Metro passes ("PASSES"...good all day from 9:30am m-f & Sa-Su for unlimited on & off. not "farecards") in advance, by mail. Not a bad idea to order extra. They get lost. Good on day started, like cash, keep'em until you use'em)... Avoid driving into DC at all costs. Parking is expensive when you can find it. Use Metro and shoe rubber. Bring water jugs and pack lunch, if you can, but lots of good little eateries in area. ("Keep Washington Green... Spend Money")

+The National Aquarium is in Baltimore (as are lots of other neat things to see and do, another thread), but in DC there is a small Aquarium in the basement of the Commerce Dept. It's free (or was) and worth an hour of air conditioning on a hot summer day.

+"Smithsonian" includes many, many museums and exhibits including the A&S, the Nat. Zoo, most of the Art (Hirschorn, Portrait,etc.).All free.

+Air & Space Museum on the Mall , Udvar-Hazy A&S addendum is out in Chantilly, VA. Free adm. Special Metrobus from the Mall, or drive. Lots of REAL aircraft in each, ya pays yer money and takes yer cherce.

***Now Metro::: As I said, buy the passes in advance, parking is available at most of the outer Metro stations (check your map), but the space gets eaten up early by commuters. Legality and Irony: the All Day Pass doesn't start until 9:30am, but by then the lots are often 110% full. There is a section marked "Reserved". In this section, folks pay extra for a special permit. The spaces are 'permitted' until 10am, then anyone can park there. And if you want some adventure, get a Metrobus and Ride-On and Fairfax Connector Bus maps to get around. All Day Bus Transfer is $3.00 cash, buy'em on the bus. Parking is $4.00 per day. Credit cards accepted at the Stations.

++++White House? Capitol? Congressmans Office? DO NOT take your pocket knives. They will be confiscated. You CANNOT leave them with the guard.He/she WON'T keep them except permanently.

+++Use the Buddy System, carry watches, make firm plans to meet HERE at THIS TIME.

Gas is presently $2.78 per gallon in my Maryland Cheap Station.


Wear the uni everywhere you go, and accept graciously when some old man pays for the whole Troops ice cream. Happened to me.


Good luck and Good Scouting. See you on the Metro, mebbe.


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I simply couldn't do the Smithsonian in less than two days...


The memorials have their own mystic(sp?) and give some perspective the next time the boys see the Mall and 1,000,000? people on it on TV. The Promise Keepers thing at the mall several years ago ACTUALLY filled that whole area and was using overflow on the other side of the Washington Memorial. That was a lot of people!


Must see the Silent Drill Team at the Marine Barracks if possible... OohRah!


Prior coordination with the Base Liason Officer, could pay off big at Andrews. A walkthrough of a C-5 Galaxy is a near once in a lifetime for most people - those things are impressively huge.

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There are no lines to get into the White House... you can only get in with a special pass. You gotta "know" someone, although I imagine your congressman can help you. I got connections, but even then it takes weeks to get a pass.


The American Indian Museum isn't all it's cracked up to be. The really good historical stuff is kept preserved by the various tribes. The vast majority of things in the museum are reproductions, or modern creations using ancient techniques and modern materials. Like a pair of Chuck Taylor tennis shoes with beading...What the heck is that about? I was greatly disappointed and the Cub Scouts we took were bored.


The Zoo is always a winner.


Air and Space is good, there's some hands-on stuff for the boys to see up-close.


My favorite has always been the Museum of Natural History. The kids really love it, too. We went to see an 3-D Imax movie there that was really cool. The movie has a fee, but everything else about the museums (including the zoo, which is part of the Smithsonian system) is free. Pack a bag lunch because food is an arm and a leg in the museums and the hot dog vendors on the street have questionable sanitary standards.


Depending on how old the scouts are, the National Gallery of Art is very nice, but the younger ones won't appreciate it. I was about 15 the first time I went there and was studying art interpretation at the time, so it's not for run of the mill 11-17 year olds, but if you've got some with an interest in art you might consider it.


Almost all of the museums front on The National Mall. Basically a huge park with the Capitol at one end and the Lincoln Memorial at the other. In between are many of the memorials, including the Washington Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial always moves me because admist all the hustle and bustle and tourist-y chit chat, as you approach the wall it becomes very quiet, no one speaks above a whisper and the acoustics of the location keeps out much of the traffic noise.


As far as getting around... METRO. NEVER, EVER drive in DC unless you know EXACTLY where you are going and how to get back out again (which is not going to be the same way you got in)


Depending on when you are going, there may be any number of events, special displays or presentations going on in the area.


And when you are all museumed out, you can go the the Marriott Scout Service center and pick up some council strips representing all the places you went...

Look: http://www.boyscouts-ncac.org/category/5_ncac_items_for_sale.cfm





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Not done yet...


Almost forgot the best bargain in travel next to the used Kelty backpack.




Washington has a fine Hostel and so does Baltimore. Right down town.


Try Hosteling International USA: www.hiusa.org and the local council, the Potomac Are Council, Hosteling International usa: www.potomachostels.org


You need to join HI-USA. As an individual, a family, or a group (think Scout Troop). Hostels are all over the country and the world, in ski resorts, big cities, Cape Cod, you name it.A Hostel is an inexpensive accomodation, it might be a converted jail, a light house, an old resort hotel, or some ones converted barn.

You get, as a minmum, a clean bunk to lay your sleeping bag or sheet sack, a kitchen to cook in (shared with other travelers) and a commons room to hang out and visit in. Indoor plumbing in town. Out in the Banf, you might be more primitive. Chores are assigned and shared the next morning.

It is usually only an overnight accomodation, and you are expected to be packed up and gone after breakfast, but arrangements can often be made with the Hostel management (often a family).

Read all about it at the above websites.


Maybe another thread...


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