Early morning is the time to catch the blooming water-bound plants of this park. Run by the National Park Service, the 12-acre marshland park is often overlooked by visitors who head for better-known Washington sites. As a result, the park is an uncrowded getaway. Nature-lovers and children especially will enjoy more than 100,000 flowering plants and fauna sightings.
Skirted by the surging waters of Rock Creek, the National Zoological Park is one of the forerunners for the title of America's finest wildlife facilities. It was created by Congress in 1889, making it one of the oldest zoos in the country. The zoo was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and New York's Central Park. The zoo is famous for its giant pandas from China but you will find all sorts of creatures, both familiar and exotic, crawling about the place. The zoo's Asia Trail gets you acquainted with Fishing cats, Clouded leopards, and other Asian animals. In addition, the zoo is home to the Elephant Trails, Lemur Island, Cheetah Conservation and Great Cats where you can witness mighty lions and tigers in action. Birds and reptiles from across the world also call the Smithsonian National Zoological Park their home.
Great Falls Park, straddling both banks of the Potomac River, offers stunning views. The more attractive side of the park lies in Virginia. Rushing whitewater pours through steep, jagged crevices into a narrow gorge. Photographers, hikers, and nature-lovers find much to enjoy here. The park offers many trails, and the towpath of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal parallels the river. Fishing is allowed, but only with a valid permit. Kayaking, canoeing and rafting is recommended for advanced outdoors-men only. The Maryland side also features Great Falls Tavern with displays of canal history. One-hour round trip barge excursions are offered on a restored stretch of the canal from April to November.
If you're visiting DC and you're a beer connoisseur, DC Brau is a great place to visit. The brewery, one of the few easily accessible within the city, offers tours of its premises, tastings and a number of events across the week. The best part is, you don't have to leave the kids home! They can visit too, and learn about the fascinating methods and science behind brewing beer, though of course, you have to be 21 years old to enjoy a glass.
One of the world's foremost universities, Georgetown University offers much more than just lectures and books. Famous speakers from around the globe make a point of stopping at this renowned institution to give speeches, sit in on panels, or simply meet students and answer questions. The grounds of the university also offer a spectacular setting for an afternoon stroll. Healy Hall, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is one of the finest examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture in the nation. The oldest building on campus, Old North, has acted as a soap box for multiple presidents, including George Washington and Bill Clinton. Not too far off M Street, Georgetown is a must if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
DC Harbor Cruises offers visitors a chance to appreciate the city from a whole new angle. Cruise down the Potomac river as you take in the lovely sights. A nice way to spend an afternoon or evening, it's a chance to experience something unique. Whether you want to check out the beautiful Cherry blossoms without dealing with the crowd and hustle bustle, or you want to relax with a few drinks on the river and enjoy the scenery, it's a good option for both families, groups and couples. They also have a variety of speciality cruises like a Wine and Cheese Cruise and a Fall Foliage Cruise. For details, prices and tickets; visit the website.