VISITING THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

It’s the world’s largest library with as of now, more than 167 million items .

That’s millions with an M , people .

It was number 134 on my bucket list and it’s the Library of Congress .

It was established in 1800 when the country was in its infancy .

During the War of 1812, like many buildings in what was the capital of the new country of the United States, the Library of Congress was burnt down by the British, destroying everything .

Enter former President Thomas Jefferson, who was in retirement down in Virginia.

He donated his personal library of books, which totaled 6, 487 books.

To say that the former president did a lot of reading would be an understatement.

If you happen to be in Washington taking a tour of the Capitol Building , which is right next door, here’s a tip for you .

You can enter the Library of Congress right through a tunnel which connects the two buildings .

If you went through security at the Capitol Building, you don’t have to do it again once you get to the Library of Congress .

Once you get inside , the building that you’re in is, what else , the Thomas Jefferson Building .

You’ll get to see many of those books that he donated in a small area called, Thomas Jefferson’s Library.

There are technically three floors of the library , but the second floor is the one that most tourists go into with the marble staircase and the statue of the goddess Minerva.

There’s also exhibits at the library.

The day I went, there was an exhibit on women getting the right to vote.

I don’t care what your party affiliation is, this is an exhibit that one should see if you happen to be doing your own 30 Plus Teams Tour of Washington or if you happen to live close by.

I was told by one of the information people that coming up there’s going to be an exhibit on Rosa Parks .

As with most of the museums in town, visiting the Library of Congress is free and easily accessible by the Washington Metro .

Use your Smart Card and get off at the Capitol South Metro station on the Blue, Silver or Orange lines.

You can also get off here for the Supreme Court Building and the Capitol Building .

Trust me, visiting all three of these places is worth the trip.

Even if they aren’t on your bucket list.

MY VISIT TO THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING IN PICTURES

It was stop number 3 on my visit to Washington DC for the day after Thanksgiving day.

It’s also number 81 on my 30 Plus Teams Tour bucket list .

It’s the United States Supreme Court Building and I am presenting my visit in pictures .

There are roughly 2 floors at the Supreme Court Building , one of which you can reach by walking up a spiral staircase .

If you don’t want to walk up all those stairs, you can take the elevator .

Or just do what I did.

Look at the pictures of the former Supreme Court justices that line the wall and take up most of the first floor like the statue of the first Supreme Court Justice John Marshall .

You’ll see all the justices and their pictures on the wall, except 9 of them.

I was told by a security guard that they only put portraits of the Supreme Court justices once they have died .

I never knew this and after I went back to another section of the city , I wanted to know one thing:

What is it with this city’s obsession with dead public figures?

So, here in pictures is a visit to Number 81, the Supreme Court Building .

UNITED STATES CAPITOL BUILDING IN PICTURES

It’s number 137 on my bucket list and I finally got to take a tour of the seat of the United States government , the Capitol Building ,

The tour is free and you don’t have to take it, but I would advise definitely do it because you see so much and learn so much.

Shoutout to the tour guide that I had on my tour, Elizabeth .

She was very knowledgeable and I learned so much, such as the statues that dominate the halls of the buildings are donated by each state, and the only way a presidential statue is at the Capitol Building is because the President is deceased .

So don’t expect to find a statue of George Bush or Barack Obama .

They’re still alive and a little something called separation of the branches of government .

As with the presidents, the only way you get a statue is if you’re deceased.

You also learn that the crypt of George Washington is right underneath the Capitol Building.

A star with a velvet rope marks the spot .

It also marks the spot of where Washington DC was founded .

Most people who take the tour want to see the Capitol rotunda.

You can see it from the outside , but if you take the tour you’ll see what’s underneath the rotunda.

A VISIT TO THE NATIONAL ZOO

When I was younger, the singing duo of Simon and Garfunkel had a popular at the time song titled, “At The Zoo.”

One of the lyrics to the song went something like this, ” Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true”

Many years later, in my 30 Plus Teams Tour of Washington DC , I went to the famous Smithsonian National Zoo to see if the line in the song is still true.

It is.

Number 52 on my bucket list is the National Zoo of Washington DC .

Like so many museums in the city, admission is free.

I arrived at the zoo around 8:45am before the crowds arrived .

Some of the animals were out already , including the “star” of the zoo, Bei Bei, the panda , who will be returning to China around November 19.

So if you happen to be visiting the city around that time, stop by and say hi to Bei Bei, he’s very entertaining.

There’s so many animals to see at the zoo, but because of my fear of snakes, birds and bats , I avoided seeing the Reptile House and the Bat Cave like the plague .

I was as happy as a pig in you know what when I saw the sign saying “Bird House Closed”.

The first trail you see when you enter the zoo is the Asia Trail, which features animals from, you guessed it, the continent of Asia.

There’s also an American Trail, which features animals native to the Americas .

I enjoyed seeing the big American Bison.

They aren’t Buffaloes , they’re Bison as one of the signs on the exhibit informs you.

They even tell you what the difference between a male and female Bison.

(Male is bigger with a lot of hair. The Zoo has two female Bisons)

A walk around the zoo just doesn’t give you a peek into the animals cages, but some information about them, including the information that would be considered TMI.

Some of the animals weren’t in their cages or exhibits while I was there.

If this happens, the zoo will put up a sign reading humorously , “NOBODY HOME”.

I spent 2 hours at the zoo, but that just isn’t enough time to visit.

Like a lot of things in the city, it’s easy to get there by the Metro.

It’s on the Red Line and you can get off at one of two stations, Woodley Park Zoo/Adams Morgan or Cleveland Park Station.

Some people like to get off at Cleveland Park and walk back but I like the Woodley Park Zoo stop even though it’s an uphill walk.

Plus what I love about Washington DC, there’s signs to point you to the place you want to go to.

No matter which station you decide to get off at , the walk prepares you for all the walking that you’ll be doing once inside the zoo.

EATING AT A WASHINGTON DC LANDMARK

When one thinks of landmarks in Washington DC , you think of the White House , Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials , Washington Monument among others .

In the U Street Corridor of the city,there’s another landmark , a restaurant that’s been at the same location since 1958.

It’s Ben’s Chili Bowl and it’s number 79 on my bucket list .

U Street was known as “Black Broadway ” back in the days of segregation with many places not catering to black people.

The building that Ben’s is in now used to be a pool hall and before that a movie theater called The Minnehaha Theater.

In 1958, Ben and his wife , Virginia purchased the building and the rest, is history .

Ben died in 2009, but Miss Virginia is still around, either talking to customers, taking pictures with visitors and still behind the counter sometimes seeing that things go smoothly .

They now have branches of the restaurant at the Ronald Reagan Airport, Rosslyn , Virginia and for those Nationals baseball and Redskins football fans who need their half smoke and chili fix, they even have restaurants at Nationals Park and FedEx Field.

If you visit the original store on U Street, you’ll see pictures of the many celebrities that have eaten here.

If you go outside, you’ll see murals of famous Washingtonians and other figures in black history .

I ate there the two days that I was in DC and even though the chili was a little spicy for me , it was oh so good as were the cheese grits and the famous half smoke that I had.

If you ever visit DC, it’s very convenient to get there.

The Metro station, U Street/African-American Memorial -Cardoso on the green and yellow lines is right across the street.

Just take the exit that’s on your right.

It’s worth the trip.

WALKING AROUND THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

While in Los Angeles since I had some time to kill before I checked into my hostel, I did what a lot of tourists who visit Los Angeles do.

I went to Hollywood and checked out not only Grauman’s Chinese Theater , I went to see how many stars I could see which make up the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

This happens to be number 127 on my bucket list , seeing as many stars as I can while walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

So many stars and it just isn’t actors who have their name on the street .

Politicians , sports announcers (the Sports Diva just had to find the stars of Los Angeles announcing legends , Chick Hearn and Bob Miller, who broadcasted games for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings . There’s even a subway station named for Chick Hearn in town. It’s where the Staples Center is, of course . ), singers and even cooking legends like Bobby Flay have their name on the sidewalk.

I don’t need to tell you that I lost count of how many stars that I counted.

But I sure had fun trying to do it.

VISITING THE MOB MUSEUM

It’s official name is the National Museum of Crime and Law Enforcement but that takes much too long to say.

It’s better known by it’s shorter and more well known name, The Mob Museum.

It’s located in Downtown Las Vegas and visiting it was number 11 thing to do on my bucket list .

It’s open every day until about 5:30pm or so

If you’re a senior like me , admission is about $20 , if you aren’t, you pay $25.

There’s also a discount if you happen to be from Las Vegas.

This building, on Stewart Street, used to be the Las Vegas post office.

Before that , it was the building where the trials on Mob Activities in the United States took place.

You even get to visit the actual courtroom where real mobsters and their associates were grilled by United States Senators about their illegal activities .

There’s three floors in the museum , and when you pay your fee, they advise you to start on the third floor and work your way down so that you can understand just how this all began.

Guides also give you a crash course on the history of Las Vegas .

I’m sure most of you weren’t aware that the Las Vegas Strip isn’t actually in the city of Las Vegas , Nevada, but it’s located in the city of Paradise , Nevada.

Mobsters actually were interested in the Las Vegas Strip , not so much what is now Downtown Las Vegas.

One of the most popular exhibits in the museum is part of the wall from the St, Valentines Day Massacre in Chicago.

You’ll learn the events leading up to the massacre and the reason why it happened .

There are a lot of hands on exhibits, one

of which is standing in front of one of those lineup panels just like you see in all those crime shows.

People can see you, but you can’t see them.

In the basement , there’s a replica of an actual 1920’s speakeasy .

On the walls are pictures of the stars of that era like

Duke Ellington , Josephine Baker, and early actresses like Clara Bow and Anna May Wong.

There’s also an area in this speakeasy where you can taste moonshine .

(I declined doing that, so did my friend , )

All in all , I learned so many things that I didn’t know .

If you go to Las Vegas , make the Mob Museum a stop.

This also is a part of American history.