DC Congressman Tours

Jul 10th, 2003, 12:14 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 178
DC Congressman Tours

I am about to send my tour request form to my Congressman and we have the option to tour the Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, and Bureau of Engraving. I would love any input from others who have taken these tours through their Congressman and on your own. We're trying to decide which would be better. We will definitely be requesting the Capitol tour. Thank you in advance.
seashell is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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I didn't do a tour of the Kennedy Center or the Bureau of Engraving, but I did the others on my own. I would highly recommend going to the Supreme Court building. They have a tour of about 1/2 to 3/4 hour of the actual courtroom where they explain exactly how people are seated and what procedure is followed. The guides are knowledgable and willing to take questions. I had thought of skipping this one and am glad I decided to go! Just a word of advice, it might be best to take the last tour (around 3:30-4:00). It is just before the building closes, so there is not as many people.

I also went through the Library of Congress and thought it was truly something to see. However, you will not be allowed into the actual library. You will only be able to view it from the outside. (and yeah, you do have to be very quiet!) But the artwork and building design is wonderful!

I walked through the Kennedy Center and went up to the rooftop. I would have liked to have seen it more indepth, but I simply ran out of time.

May be others can give you more ideas.
Chele60 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 04:45 PM
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We toured the Capitol, Supreme Court, and Bureau of Engraving & Printing when we were in DC last month.

Interestingly enough, it's the Supreme Court tour that we would skip. They take each group into the Court chambers (when Court is out of session as it is now) and then give a lecture about the way the Court functions. Both my teens had just studied US History this year in school and it just didn't hold our interest. It was almost an hour of listening to this lecture while sitting in the Court chamber. I had been expecting a tour of the building and would have much preferred a walk through tour with explanations. After you leave the Chamber, the guide takes the group into the conference room. That's where we stayed only a few minutes and boogied out!

The Capitol tour is not to be missed!! We had an excellent guide. Unlike the Supreme Court, the tour is of the building, its history, and some of the many features of the building, including paintings, statues, etc. Don't forget to pick up Gallery passes from your congressman for visiting the House and Senate galleries (if they're in session).

The Bureau of Engraving & Printing is also an interesting tour. Not too long, about 30 minutes, with a short (15 min.?) film at the beginning. Nicely done, the tour groups walk on elevated walkways and look down on the various stages of the production of greenbacks. Only negative comment is that the groups were sometimes very close together and that made it hard to hear our own guide.

We didn't tour the Library of Congress, but did visit there. It's a not-to-be-missed building--just gorgeous!

Your Congressman can provide you with reserved tixs to all those you mentioned expect the Capitol. At the Capitol, if your Congressman helps you arrange a tour it will be using one of his/her own staffers to conduct the tour. Otherwise you need to get your tixs in the morning early on the day you wish to tour.

If you ask early enough your Congressman may be able to help. We were only able to get the Supreme Court tour reserved through the Congressman. Don't wait too long to ask.

DeeDee is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 04:56 PM
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We did all but the Kennedy Center and enjoyed them all. They are different of course but I will do them again the next time.
SaraLM is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for the replies. DeeDee, we are visiting in mid-Sept. and I am requesting the tours through my Congressman this week. Since they will be out for summer break in August, I didn't want to take any chances.
seashell is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 12:16 PM
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It doesn't matter when you Rep is out for vacation - some lower level staffer or intern will be handling your request anyway. We were advised to contact our Rep at his local office - they were very nice, but all we got was a packet of general info in the mail. We had better luck contacting his DC office - but others have reported just the opposite.
gail is online now  
Jul 12th, 2003, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,559
Better reserve fast, as these tours can fill quickly. A lot depends on which state you are from and who is your representative. He or she may have lots of tickets if he's high ranking and not too many of his constituents visit; less if you're from a big state with a junior person.

We visited the Capitol, FBI, Library of Congress, and Bureau of P&E through our Hawaii Senators. The capitol was great in that we were able to go different places from the public tours- we were able to ride the underground train, actually go on the senante floor, and eat in the capitol lunchroom- and the others just got us to the head of the (very long) lines for the regular tours.
Good luck...Have fun!
lcuy is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 05:21 PM
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Just want to reiterate that Congressmen do not get tickets for tours for their constituents any longer. If you are able to get a tour of the Capitol from your Congressman it will be a tour given by that Congressman's staffer.

Things have changed since 9/11 and the war in Iraq. LCUY doesn't state when he/she was in DC for these tours, but it had to be before security was tightened. The FBI hasn't had tours since 9/11. The access LCUY describes in the Capitol isn't what we found there last month when we were in DC.

However, the advice to request help from your Congressperson early is very good advice.
DeeDee is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 09:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sorry if I got you hoping for something no longer available...We were there a year before 911, so I'm not surprised to hear of closings.

The Capitol tours are still being given by at least some members of congress; my good friend just had a tour like mine. Best bet again, is to call all your representatives and see what they have to offer.
If you have kids, I'd go to the bureau of printing & Engraving even without VIP treatment. My kids loved it. another of their favorite memories of the city is of canoeing on the river (It may be a canal) just above to Georgetown. That stretch of water had no structures, and we could have been in the year 1700 for the way it looked.
Have a fun trip!
lcuy is offline  
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