I had the greatest mom; she tried to gave my twin brother, our younger sister, and me a variety of experiences. We lived in Washington, D.C. and did not have much money; we had no car, but I have a rich heritage.
I saw at least two presidents drive by our rental house! Mama would call out, "Look, the president!" and I'd see a line of long, shiny, black cars driving by. The men inside could scarcely be seen with the darkened windows. However, she'd have all three of us stand on the front porch and wave! "Did you see him?" she'd ask, knowing we couldn't possibly have. That moment would make our day exciting. She'd give us a brief history lesson.
Many times, Mama took us on streetcars to see the capitol building, while in session. I remember sitting in the balcony having to be ever so quiet while the men below talked. (There were no women then.) Those would be the times we'd learn about how bills became laws.
I walked UP the 555 feet tall Washington monument three times and down only once; I took the elevator down the other times! It was free to walk up and ride down; it cost a dime to ride up. Mama would give us the history of George Washington and how the monument came to be. Authorities won't let anyone walk to the top now. This obelisk has a beautiful reflecting pool, as seen in this picture.
Every Christmas and Easter, my mother took us to visit the Botanical Gardens, an aluminum-and-glass conservatory. We all would gasp at the beauty of the blooms and learn some of the names of the many growing things. Once again, the only cost was the price of a streetcar ride.
Other sights we experienced were: the Japanese Cherry Blossoms that surround the Jefferson Memorial, the Smithsonian Institution (a collection of free museums), the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the National Zoo in Rock Creek, and the fireworks while listening to the Marine band on the 4th of July--all free, and all came with fun lessons.
Everyone can't grow up in the nation's capitol, but all parents can give their children a rich heritage by exposing them to inexpensive sights close to home.
What childhood excursions do you remember? Where have you taken your children lately?