This weekend, I had a phone conversation with a FOJ. We went to high school together. He's now in the Atlanta area, and I'm in South Florida. One of the things that we discussed during that long conversation was a moment that most native Washingtonians have had.
It's the moment that you realize that you took all of the free cultural activities in the Washington, DC area for granted. I remember when that moment hit me. It was in the late 90's. I was on a business trip to Milwaukee. There was another woman there from North Carolina. She was very young and not very well traveled. I could tell because she considered Milwaukee to be the "big city." Hmmph. Anyhow, she wanted to go to the zoo, but after talking to her mom, they decided that she shouldn't be roaming the "big city" alone. She looked like she was about to cry, so I offered to go with her. Our hotel arranged the transportation.
When we got there, my mouth dropped when I saw the price of admission. If memory serves me correctly, it was something like $25 bucks! I do remember asking the ticket lady if they even had pandas. They didn't. I was shocked, but Country Girl's eyes welled up with tears again, so I just paid it. I hope the Milwaukee Zoo folks don't come after me for this, but they have NOTHING on the National Zoo in DC. I guess it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but it was then that I realized that I really need to partake more of the sites in the Nation's Capital.
There's so much there to do, and a lot of it is free or very inexpensive. There's the Smithsonian, the National Zoo, The White House, The Capitol, The Vietnam Vet's Memorial, The Lincoln & Jefferson Memorials, etc. It's a great place to vacation, since the tourist spending requirements are so low. Unfortunately, many residents never take advantage.
What kinds of attractions are in your hometown that are free or inexpensive? What should every tourist see? Have you seen it? When was the last time you did the tourist thing in your hometown?