Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 18, 2017
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Capital Gains

Washington DC understandably emphasizes America’s founding fathers, yet it also boasts the mother lode of free stuff. In fact, most of its 70 major sites charge no entrance fee. So feel free to take an up-close look at those iconic Mall monuments (tel: 202-426-6841; www.nps.gov) and check out the institutions that Americans hold so dear. At the National Gallery of Art (tel: 202-737-4215; www.nga.gov), for example, you’re invited to view North America’s only Da Vinci painting, watch a film, listen to a lecture, participate in hands-on workshops and kick back with al fresco Friday evening jazz concerts.

The Capitol (tel: 202-225-6827; www.aoc.gov), Pentagon (703- 697-1776; www.pentagon.afis.osd.mil), Supreme Court (tel: 202- 479-3211; http://supremecourtus.gov) and money-making Bureau of Engraving and Printing (tel: 866-874-2330; www.moneyfactory. gov) all welcome guests. Ditto for the White House Visitor Center (tel: 202-456-7041; whitehouse.gov) and, on a limited basis, the White House itself.

As Nicholas Cage and his co-stars discovered, more National Treasure — including a draft of the Declaration of Independence — lies among the 135 million items in the Library of Congress (tel: 202- 707-8000; www.loc.gov). Tours are free, as are trips to see the signed version of the Declaration, along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, in the National Archives (tel: 866-272-6272; www.archives.gov).

But unless you use Cage’s unorthodox methods (and we certainly don’t endorse that!), gaining entry to such venues can eat up valuable time, since advance tickets and rigorous security checks are often required. The good news is that it is always easy to access the city’s other great treasure trove: the Smithsonian (tel: 202-633-1000; www.smithsonian.org). Covering everything from world-class museums and galleries to the National Zoo, this massive complex offers both complimentary admission and a long list of added bonuses.

Similarly, at the National Air and Space Museum, you can marvel over the Wright Flyer and the Apollo 11 Command Module on a docent-led tour. It is also possible to touch a real moon rock, or toy with dozens of interactive gizmos in the “How Things Fly” gallery without once pulling out your wallet.

-- Susan MacCallum Whitcomb

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