Convention Insider

Sightseeing in D.C.

by Stephen, age 9

(While the delegates were busy doing the business of the Order in meetings and caucuses, their families were going on tours around the District of Columbia. Here is one account from a 9-year-old reporter.)

We went on Saturday on a bus tour to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

The first thing we saw was the tomb of George Washington and his wife, Martha. Then we went to the slave memorial to 316 slaves who worked on the grounds. I was surprised that George Washington had slaves.

There was a long line to get into the main mansion, and they were behind schedule, so we knew we were going to have to rush.

When we got in, the first thing we saw was the room where Washington planned the Battle of Yorktown. Then we saw the slave quarters. We went outside and had a view of the Potomac. We went back in to the dining room, the entertainment room with a harpsichord, and other rooms.

Then we went upstairs to see the bedroom of George and Martha. The bed is the actual bed where George Washington died.

The last room was a private room – the changing room, and a library with the original presidential chair.

Outside on the grounds, there was the slaughtering room where they killed all the animals.

What I liked best were the real historical objects that were like a reminder of the real person of George Washington.

The next day we went to the National Zoo, a few blocks from the hotel.

It was a pretty big zoo with many animals. When we got in, we found out it was free, which was good news.

The first animal we saw was a sloth bear, which was very furry. He wasn’t doing much. That’s why they call him the sloth bear because he’s very lazy.

We saw a baby cheetah cleaning his paws. Then it started to rain and we took shelter, for about 20 minutes.

After that we followed the map to see the emu, a big bird from Australia. He seemed proud and was posing for pictures. He was not camera shy.

We went into the different houses like the think tank, where the orangutan was. He can sometimes climb onto the power lines and get out, they told us, because he is smart.

In the great cat section, we saw the tigers and the lions. My mom thought the lions looked sad because they were caged.

In the small mammal house there were owls, monkeys and meerkats. The reptile discovery center had many different kinds of snakes, some venomous, lizards, alligators, turtles and frogs.

The great apes house was the foul-smelling one, so we just took one picture and got out of there.

The bird house had all different kinds of birds: spoon beak, one that was really noisy, toucan was the most colorful, red-crest cardinal, and a green bird I forget the name of.

That was the last house we saw. The elephant house was closed for renovations, but we did see the tip of one elephant. One of the zookeepers said we’re closing up, it’s 6 o’clock.