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Smithsonian Institution Building

1000 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington DC, DC 20013-7012 (National Mall)
202 633 1000
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Ranked #19 of 255 Attractions in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Type: Museums, Zoos
Activities: City walk sightseeing
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 15 specialty museums, and other affiliates, with subjects that vary from... more » Owner description: The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 15 specialty museums, and other affiliates, with subjects that vary from African Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration. « less
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
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California
Top Contributor
586 reviews 586 reviews
434 attraction reviews
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

There's really too much here unless you live here or ha ve much more time than I did. Too much information!

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Wahpeton
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
29 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

I wish I could rate this higher, but part of the building was roped off for an event and other areas were under construction, not much to see.

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Sevenoaks, Kent
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
52 attraction reviews
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2014 NEW

We really only popped in her to have a quick look at Smithson's tomb because it was raining. As it turned out they were just about to start a tour so we joined in. Learnt a lot about Smithson and the whole institution - well as much as is known anyway. Really liked this building. After the grandeur of other... More

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East Syracuse, New York
Top Contributor
244 reviews 244 reviews
134 attraction reviews
194 helpful votes 194 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

I maybe wrong in saying this was the first Smithsonian Musesm. At present the building is known as the Castle. Having been on only one floor. I can't say exactly what the building contains. The ground floor has restrooms, gift shop and an information center. The staff is helpful with maps, other Smithsonian Museums, as well as non-Smithsonial museums. On... More

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Roseburg, Oregon
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14 reviews 14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

Nice that they are very close to each other. What's not to like? Got to see items I'd only heard or read about. Now I have seen it and believe it. Hope Diamond, ruby slippers......

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East Bay, California
Top Contributor
185 reviews 185 reviews
103 attraction reviews
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

I had no idea that a James Smithson, a British scientist, planted the seed to what we enjoy today in D.C. So pleased that his tomb is inside the building so we can pay respect to him for his generous donation and insistence that that it be used for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge". This is a beautiful building... More

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Seattle, Washington
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2014

... and not even mind. I come back here nearly every trip, and still haven't seen all I might. Along with the Air and Space Museum, this is my favorite part of the Smithsonian. I think that says a lot about it because the entire Smithsonian system is a treasure.

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Tampa, Florida
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2014

This has alot of wasted space but it was a beautiful building. Its a good place to get maps and info and see some interesting things. I spent about 1/2 hour and saw everything I wanted.

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MN
Top Contributor
181 reviews 181 reviews
102 attraction reviews
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2014

The building is beautiful. There was construction so not everything was open. The exhibits they had were great - an overview of what the different Smithsonian Museums, etc. This is supposed to be the Smithsonian Informational Center. I stood in line at the information counter for a long time before I was helped. They helped (for lack of a better... More

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Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
65 attraction reviews
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2014

This was definitely one of my favorites of the Smithsonian Museums. There was so much to see. Some of the exhibits were a little confusing to navigate and I feel like I missed some things, but overall, I loved everything. It was really great to see Julia Child's kitchen, the Star Spangled Banner, and Dorothy's ruby slippers. I was really... More

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