First go to the Capitol Visitor Center
What a great morning experience. Parking in D.C. is definitely an issue, but we lucked out and and scored a meter only 5 blocks from the United States Capitol Visitors Center which is located on the North Side of the Capitol.
This trip was both a visit to the Capitol and photo mission. A few months ago, Atlas Signs and Plaques (formerly Metal Facades) applied LuminOre® Real Bronze to the 17 x 23 foot frames located at the Pass and Information desks at each end of the main hall. Although the frames appear to bronze foundry castings, they are really HDU foam coated with cold-spray bronze. Much lighter and far less expensive! A great way to save taxpayers dollars!! In addition the the large frames, the inner frames surrounding the photos and clock are actually aluminum coated with bronze to match the outer frame. The clock bezel is constructed of MDF and metal coated with bronze to match. The whole process can be seen on this blog starting with day one.
The Center is underground and is so tastefully designed that the approach and view of the Capitol itself is not affected. The walk from our parking to the Center was beautiful, passing the Senate Office Buildings and the Supreme Court. Washington D.C. is quite spectacular!
Once at the entrance expect to go through security much like the airlines, but with much friendlier people. First impressions upon entering are that this is quite a grand structure, yet clean and modern. Statues line the great hall and provide interest if you are forced to wait on getting in. Several days before the trip, we looked online to get passes, but there were none available on the one and only day we had for a visit. I contacted Senator Kohl’s office requesting a pass. His office responded with the news that they didn’t have any for that day, but suggested going anyhow with a good possibility of getting a pass due to a cancellation. Worked perfectly. We did not have to wait at all! Just went to the area marked for people without passes. There was a lady just handing out passes like candy, so we were able to get right to the tour.
Tour starts with a 15 minute film in the theater and was followed with a 45 minute guided tour that was well-organized and moved along at a nice even pace.
The tour must be experienced, and we highly recommend treating yourself and family to the grandness and history of our nations capitol.