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“Nothing in the Castle to see”

Smithsonian Institution Building
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Small Group Tour of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Ranked #34 of 432 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The world's largest museum and research complex is actually comprised of 19 museums and the National Zoo, with subjects that vary from African Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
441 reviews
332 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 280 helpful votes
“Nothing in the Castle to see”
Reviewed August 20, 2014

This beautiful castle serves as the administrative headquarters of Smithsonian Institution, the organization responsible for providing you free admission to quality museums throughout Washington DC!

Unfortunately, there is nothing to do in the castle itself. Only the first floor is open to public as an information center and cafe, but the information center was just a desk with few brochures of nearby museums. The entire first floor was not well-maintained and felt like an outdated retirement home. The only interesting thing inside the castle was the crypt of Smithson himself, the founder of the namesake institution.

Don't bother going inside the castle's security checkpoint, but do check out the beautiful garden at the back of the castle!

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Jay Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,372 reviews from our community

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Vicenza, Italy
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“So much to see.”
Reviewed August 19, 2014 via mobile

Plan on taking at least 2 days to see all the museums. Each museum as so much to offer. Museum staff informed me that Fridays are the busiest day of the week. Food and offered outside each museum.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Joshua B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
60 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Is there something here???”
Reviewed August 15, 2014

It was not marked well as to what we might see in here. BUT, when we went into the great hall we were pleasantly surprised. There are really interesting bits and pieces displayed like a piece of Washington's coffin, Presidents' hair, old seed catalogs.

Unfortunately, the price of soda here (bottled Coke) was over $3.50.

The gift shop has a little of everything from each of the Sm's museums.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank MissLynette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
1,400 reviews
940 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 431 helpful votes
“Really neat old building”
Reviewed August 15, 2014

This is an old building in sort of the center of the mall. There is not a whole lot to see there as this is not a large building, but most people seem to miss it. Don't let that be you.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Emil T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
Level Contributor
55 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“A Step Back in Time”
Reviewed August 10, 2014

The Castle as it's known locally is a magical place built in a time when public buildings were of Victorian or Gothic Revival style. This was one of the first two major structures built for the National Museum known in the present era simply as the Smithsonian. It presently serves as a visitor/welcome center for the 19 Smithsonian museums arrayed around the National Mall. A rather nicely maintained and curated garden surrounds the Castle giving it a most pleasing context. Free and eminently worth one's time to visit. I as like a little kid going back to a carefree era while visiting here. All of the usual tourist needs are met here, of course.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Castleseeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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