By Travis McArthur, Residential Coordinator
During the Brevard Center’s Spring Break, I went with a group of students to Washington D.C. On the trip we experienced many things including new food, new cultural experiences and an assortment of fascinating museums. We stayed in our nation’s capital for six nights and saw as much as we could.
On the first day, after we checked into the hotel, we took a stroll through the National Mall and got our first glimpse of the Capital Building and the Washington Monument. We ate lunch at Union Station and then explored the shopping there. Later, we continued to discover more of Washington’s sights, and experienced the city at night.
The next morning we went to the American Indian Museum and explored the exhibits on the various indigenous peoples from all over the world. Up next was the Air and Space Museum where we saw everything it had to offer, including NASA rockets, The Spirit of St. Louis, and lots of military planes. We went back to the American Indian Museum for lunch at Mitsitam Café, which is a buffet style restaurant with food samplings of various native cuisines from all around the world.
“Mitsitam” means “Let’s eat!” in the language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples. The buffet featured food from the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso-America and the Great Plains. After eating and chatting, the students and I went to the Natural History Museum. The students enjoyed all the exhibits including the Hope Diamond, stuffed animals from around the world and an interesting exhibit on human evolution. We finished the evening out at the hotel’s dining room where we shared stories.
On Monday we utilized the hop-on, hop-off buses to explore the city. We visited the Library of Congress and saw everything there including a special exhibit on the Constitution. Then we went straight to the American History Museum where we stayed much of the day.
After a trip back to Union Station to eat, we got some rest after a long day. On Tuesday we used the buses again to get an audio tour of most of the city, eventually getting off at the Washington Zoo. It was a beautiful day to see the zoo and most of the animals were active. The pandas were roaming their cages which allowed us to take many pictures of them. Some of the students took the bus back to the hotel to rest while the rest of us went off to explore the Lincoln Memorial.
On Wednesday we went to the Holocaust Museum and took it all in. There was a special exhibit on Nazi propaganda, and we were all shocked at the different tactics the Nazi regime used to gain power and disparage other groups. Afterwards our group walked to the Capital Building to take a private tour. We were met by an aide to Congressman Bilarikas and were shown around the interior of the Capital. It was a great experience for the students and a special honor for us. We ate at the Capital Grill before leaving to explore more of the Washington Mall and then settling in for a relaxing evening at the hotel.
Thursday morning started out with breakfast at a French café followed by a brisk walk to the Washington Monument for volunteering. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival was going on that week and the students all volunteered to help out there. With the Washington Monument 25 yards away, the students helped hand out information about the event and gave directions to people. They did a wonderful job and we could not have asked for better weather.
The president’s motorcade drove by while we were volunteering which was exciting. We ate lunch on the river and then headed to the Spy Museum. The Spy Museum featured artifacts from around the world including James Bond’s car, a lipstick gun and exhibits on spying during various wars. We ate at the Spy Café before heading back for the night.
The next morning we boarded the plane back to Orlando. We were all very tired from the week. It was a great time and we all got a lot of exercise, sun and nice memories of the trip. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the students.
[flickr album=72157623958909860 num=30 size=Thumbnail]