Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
National Geographic is a global icon for news and research about the natural world. Itís nature, archeology, and history at its best. National Geographic is best known for its publication of the National Geographic magazine, which features articles and breathtaking photographs about natural phenomena around the world. Though the National Geographic museum at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, may be less well known, it is host to treasures no less impressive.
Today, the museum is one of the hottest tickets in town. Its Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit sold out in its first week. Saturday and Sunday tickets must now be bought weeks in advance, meaning that travelers who want to make the museum part of their trip had best plan ahead.
The museum exhibits themselves are small compared to other, larger Washington, DC museums. It comprises one main building with two wings of exhibit space and a gift shop and a second building with an auditorium and a large exhibition lobby. Between the two buildings is a courtyard of insect sculptures and featured photographs. Plan to stay at the museum for at least 30 minutes or longer if you or your travel companions are science oriented or photography buffs.
Vivid scientific photography is what dominates the museum. Though each exhibit is different and changing, you will consistently find images that will not only spark your wonder for the natural world but also educate and inspire you to investigate and perhaps be led to protect animal habitats around the world. Itís difficult not to develop the same enthusiasm for wildlife and natural history that the museums curators and featured photographers clearly have for their subjects.
The museum also takes pains to acquire authentic, historical materials, like the Terra Cotta Warriors, that attract visitors around the world.
Near DuPont Circle and the DuPont Circle metro (red line), the museum is within walking distance of nearby hotels, restaurants, embassies, historic monuments, and other museums, including the Philips and Textile Museums. Avoid parking hassles and charges by taking the DC metro or walking. Admission is free except to ticketed events and exhibits.
National Geographic Museum
1145 17th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036