National Archives - how long?

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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National Archives - how long?

How much time should I plan for to visit the National Archives with the intent that we primarily want to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence? Assume we will be there on a Sunday mid-day in July.

Complete itinerary for the day is:

10am Washington Mt - have tickets already -thank you Fodorites for that tip.

11am National Archives

12 noon Lunch at National Gallery of Art (cafe near waterfall?)

1pm Tour gallery - specifically want to see Alexander Calder mobile. Anybody know where it is? 8 year old daughter is very interested.

3pm - kids and dh will be museumed out - head back to hotel for swim and dinner.

7pm - head back to Mall to see monuments. Can we walk the Mall in the evening safely? Or is there a better alternative? Like take our car and find a place to park close by if there is such a thing. Hate the thought of paying for on/off tourmobile and having to wait and wait.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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The most time at the Archives will be waiting in line. I would call the Archives to get an estimate for Sunday!!!, mid-July on the wait time. Seeing the documents will only take a few minutes. I strongly suggest a taxi from yhe Washington monument to the Archives. You can easily get one from there and it will be less than $7 (assuming 4 people). That might buy you enough time to see the Archives and still hit cafe (great choice ,BTW) at noon.
The Calder is in the atrium lobby of the east wing - you can't miss it.
It is safe to walk all the monuments at night but it is a much better idea to drive - especially do-able on Sunday evening. Parking is readily available at the FDR, where you can easily walk to the Jefferson. Then drive over and park on Constitution Ave somewhere between 24th st & 19th st. From here you are right next to the Lincoln Memorial & Vietnam Vets Memorial and the WWII Memorial. Finally, you might drive over and park at 16th & H st. to takre a peek at the White House.

You're quite right to skip tourmobile, especially since you are going on a Sunday night and have access to a car. Traffic will be VERY light.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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Thanks Bardo for this and other advice that you have provided for this trip.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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At the National Gallery, in addition to the large Calder in the East Wing atrium, there used to be (3 years ago) a small room, also in the East Wing, with several smaller Calders, which you could view from ground level or from a tiny balcony one floor up--they cast interesting shadows on the walls, and were really breathtaking. I hope it's still there--best thing to do would be to ask at the info desk in the EW atrium. Have fun!
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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E - thanks for the additional information. My daughter studied mobiles in the 2nd grade and her wonderful teacher told her about Alexander Calder and his art. And now I get to bring dd to her first art museum!! Can't wait.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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We went in the evening mid-week and there were only about a dozen other people. We spent about 30 minute there. However, judging by the velvet ropes, they are prepared to handle very large crowds.
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Old Jun 24th, 2004, 03:57 PM
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I agree with Richbutnot's idea - the Archives rotunda (to see Constitution and Decl. of Indep.) is open until 9 pm during the summer. Consider going at night when you head back out to see the monuments.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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Rich and Hotdog - sounds like a good plan. I'll have to rethink the itinerary to see if that works. Not waiting in line sounds good to me.
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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I just got back from D.C. We stood in line for 50 minutes at 5:00p.m. on a Thursday. The actual viewing only took 15-20 minutes. Don't forget to use the entrance on 9th and Constitution. We had a really hard time finding the right entrance to some of the Federal buildings. Those extra blocks make a difference to a six year old!
Also, I love the cafe by the fountain next to the National Gallery, it is lovely.
Oh, and we never paid less that $10 for a cab anywhere. They charge 1.50 for each additional person and there is a surcharge for using a taxi between 7-9:30 a.m and 4-6:30 p.m. Make sure you get a quote before you get in so that you don't suffer from ticket shock.
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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rine - thanks for the tips. Any other tips for the trip you care to share? We're going with a 8yo and an 11 yo.
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