Washington D.C., Window On the World


                      TRAVEL FEATURES BY KIDS ON THE GO


The author poses with an American icon: the Capitol Building.

DISCOVERING Washington D.C.: Vol. 10.1      

By Jonaki Mehta, Age 17 

As I step off  the metro onto the Smithsonian Station, the streets of Washington D.C., our nation's capital, are buzzing with the busy workers who run the place and the patriotic tourists who travel from all over to see the heart of our democracy in person. With our first African American president in the White House, and many other changes coming along with him, tourists have a new enthusiasm for visiting historical monuments and other city spots.

From new  restaurants to new museums, D.C. is forever an exciting and educational experience where one can most definitely learn something new. There is life on every corner and something to do for every age group. I visited several museums and monuments, refreshing what I’ve learned in school about America’s founding fathers. The George Washington Monument stands tall in all its glory, reflecting in the shining waters of the Potomac River, visible from the  Jefferson Memorial.

Washington D.C.'s busy streets, with the Capitol Building in the rear.

The Jefferson Memorial is a peaceful and silent spot, far from D.C.’s crowded streets, a place to sit back and enjoy the city view from afar. It resonates with our country’s foundation,  with Jefferson’s wise words engraved into the walls around his statue. The Lincoln Memorial, standing amidst the hubbub of D.C., is near the National Mall. 

Other memorials include the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and the more recently added Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, which also render the essence of America. Next, I visited the newly located and interactive Newseum. Starting with the 6th floor view of the Capitol dome and the surrounding modern structures, I worked my way down to the ground level, spending three hours in the exhibits.

The Washington Monument stands at the end of The Mall.

The Newseum, devoted to exhibits about journalism and the impact of news in our daily lives, tells the history of news with 80 front pages  from newspapers in 50 states and around the world. Two caught my eye: the September 11th tribute and the new Elvis Presley exhibit. There is even an interactive floor which includes a chance for visitors of all ages to shoot their very own newscast! Great for journalism buffs like me as well as those unaware of the great influence news has on our lives. An innovative place the museum is designed to interest a wide audience range. 

After eating a delicious street-side hot dog in an enlightening thunderstorm drizzle, I followed the hustle and bustle of experienced city-goers, expecting to make a hole in my wallet.  There was so much to see and do that I had to come back the next day. 

A peek at the traffic from Jonaki's hotel room.


The next day I went to the Hirshhorn Museum to see the collection of modern art, and discovered that most of D.C.’s museums and historical attractions have no entrance fee; that means that the general public can have access to the country’s history and achievements. The Hirshhorn had a special Yves Klein exhibit on display when I was there. Klein’s work was especially impactful to me due to his ground breaking and experimental ideas. After visiting the Hirshhorn collection, the National Museum of African Art and the Freer and Sackler Galleries, I knew I would be leaving Washington knowing a lot more than I did when I arrived. It was an unforgettable experience.

With so much to do, D.C. is an excellent spot for family visits. For a one-person trip like mine, it inculcates learning and fun. Though this was my first experience traveling alone, I wasn’t at all intimidated. I learned a great deal about myself, and hope to embark on a trip to Washington D.C. in the near future. I want to see the new attractions that our ever-changing  capital has to offer. 

The author poses with an American icon: the Capitol Building.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonaki Mehta, a 17-year old high school student from  Camarillo, California, is looking forward to college. 




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