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MARINATING

Washington, D.C., museums well worth the trip

Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 12:01 am

I visited my daughter in Washington, D.C., recently to watch her race in a mini marathon (13.1 miles).

With all the historic sites, it is a beautiful city to run in. The route took her past the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, which, unfortunately, was roped off as it was still undergoing repairs from damage caused by an earthquake a few years ago.

She completed the course in a respectable two hours, one minute. Heck, that's better than my time in the 100-yard dash!

The great thing about all of the national monuments and museums there, most notably the various Smithsonian exhibits, is that they are all free. Good to see my tax dollars being put to good use in this country for a change.

A highlight is the National Air and Space Museum annex, which, out of necessity, is based in a hangar near Dulles Airport. It houses numerous exhibits ranging from the Enola Gay, the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird (which you would recognize from the X-Men movies) and, since last year, the space shuttle Discovery. That in itself is an amazing sight, up close and personal. Well worth the price of admission, which — I can't stress enough — is zero!

One of the few museums not managed and funded by the federal government — and therefore not free — is the aptly named Newseum. It is a chronicle of American and world history based solely on accounts from print media and televised news reports.

Visitors have access to a remarkable display of old newspapers, archived video footage and memorabilia — including a section of the Berlin Wall — showing virtually every important event in our planet's history. Needless to say, the rooms dedicated to 9/11, including the mangled antenna from the top of the World Trade Center, will leave you stunned.

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is marinating@tribune.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.