Photos: cj13822 via flickr
The Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson is the majestic backdrop to many of DC’s most notable events, like the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was built to resemble the Parthenon of Rome and may be one of DC’s most iconic landmarks. It memorializes our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who is best known as the author of the Declaration of Independence. The complexities of the man — who penned the phrase “All men are created equal” while failing to free slaves on his own plantation— might be out of reach for your younger crew, but his passion for nature is easy to grasp. You can rent a peddle boat to explore the tidal basin or try fishing along side the memorial. While studying nature, Jefferson amassed a great fossil collection (which you can view at Monticello); visitors can hunt for fossils which can be seen in the marble at the base of the memorial.
The men memorialized on the National Mall aren’t the only inspiring individuals to have influenced our nation’s history; for a peak at the first DC statue to honor both a woman and an African-American, head to Lincoln Park to visit the Mary McLeod Bethune memorial (erected in 1974). Bethune is remembered as a civil rights leader, a suffragist and the first African-American woman to head a Federal agency. She may be best known for her contributions to education; she founded the Bethune-Cookman University, which is today’s only historically black college to have been founded by a woman. What better way to celebrate Bethune’s passion for education than with the game I Spy with sight words. Come prepared with flashcards for the following words, which can all be found in the statue’s inscription: LOVE, HOPE, EDUCATION, RESPECT, FAITH, and DIGNITY.
The most approachable statue in DC is the memorial dedicated to Albert Einstein. This pitstop across from the National Mall may be an opportune place to wax poetic about Einstein’s contributions to science, but we’ll be honest. It’s also a really great photo opp. The National Academy of Sciences encourages visitors to mug it up with the late scientist. And be shore to hashtag your photo with #PhotosWithAlbert.