Wunderground® Travel Planner: Gaithersburg, MD
|Weather Observed||Recorded Days (of 6 total)|
4 days (67%)
|Partly Cloudy||2 days (33%)|
|Thunderstorms||0 days (0%)|
|Hail||0 days (0%)|
|Snow||0 days (0%)|
Of 6 days between 1996 and 2018, Sunny was the most frequent condition. Additionally, 0 days were recorded with precipitation.
Note: As multiple conditions can be recorded during one day, the weather observed may total more than 6.
We are confident that the weather will be Cool.
873 Long Dr.
Aberdeen, MD 21001
Cal Ripken Stadium brings Single-A baseball to town with the IronBirds, an Orioles minor-league affiliate team. Owned by Cal Ripken, the team plays short-season ball every June to September in Ripken Stadium, a 5,500-seat venue complete with skyboxes. Future plans include opening the Ripken Museum and a hotel. www.ripkenbaseball.com.
Baltimore, MD 21202
The most-visited attraction in Maryland has more than 10,000 fish, sharks, dolphins, and amphibians dwelling in 2 million gallons of water. The Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit mimics a river running through a gorge. It features lizards, crocodiles, turtles, bats, and a black-headed python, among other animals from Down Under. The aquarium also features reptiles, birds, plants, and mammals in its rain-forest environment, inside a glass pyramid 64 feet high. The rain-forest ecosystem harbors two-toed sloths in calabash trees, parrots in the palms, iguanas on the ground, and red-bellied piranhas in a pool (a sign next to it reads "do not put hands in pool"). Each day in the Marine Mammal Pavilion, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are part of several entertaining presentations that highlight their agility and intelligence. The aquarium's famed shark tank and Atlantic coral reef exhibits are spectacular; you can wind through an enormous glass enclosure on a spiral ramp while hammerheads and brightly hued tropical fish glide by. Hands-on exhibits include such docile sea creatures as horseshoe crabs and starfish. Arrive early to ensure admission, which is by timed intervals; by noon, the wait is often two or three hours. www.aqua.org. Admission: $21.95. Hours: Nov.-Feb., Sat.-Thurs. 10-5, Fri. 10-8; Mar.-June, Sept., and Oct., Sat.-Thurs. 9-5, Fri. 9-8; July-Aug. 19, daily 9-8; Aug. 20-31, Sat.-Thurs. 9-6, Fri. 9-8; visitors may tour for up to 1½ hrs after closing. Timed tickets may be required on weekends and holidays; purchase these early in the day.
2500 Calvert St., NW
Washington, DC 20008
This elegant hotel overlooking Rock Creek Park has been lovingly tended and is aging gracefully. The light-filled guest rooms have a soothing garden palette and feature flat-screen TVs and marble bathrooms. The vast art deco-and-Renaissance-style lobby welcomes visitors, who in the past have ranged from the Beatles to heads of state (the hotel has played host to inaugural balls since its 1930 opening). There is even a resident ghost said to haunt Suite 870. Families will love the larger-than-typical guest rooms, kiddie pool, bird-watching, bike rentals, and movie nights. Parents: Ask the concierge about story time and cuddles with the guide dog for the blind who trains at the hotel. Pros:
historic property; great pool and sundeck; good views from many rooms.Cons:
not Downtown; big. www.omnihotels.com. 818 rooms, 16 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, pool, gym, spa, children's programs, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted. Metro: Woodley Park/Zoo.
Beneath its magnificent dome, the day-to-day business of American democracy takes place: senators and representatives debate, coax, and cajole, and ultimately determine the law of the land. For many visitors the Capitol is the most exhilarating experience Washington has to offer. It wins them over with a three-pronged appeal: it's the city's most impressive work of architecture; it has on display documents, art, and artifacts from 400 years of American history; and its legislative chambers are open to the public, allowing you to actually see your lawmakers at work.
Before heading to the Capitol, pay a little attention to the grounds, landscaped in the late 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted, a co-creator of New York City's Central Park. On these 68 acres are both the city's tamest squirrels and the highest concentration of TV news correspondents, jockeying for a good position in front of the Capitol for their "stand-ups." A few hundred feet northeast of the Capitol are two cast-iron car shelters, left from the days when horse-drawn trolleys served the Hill. Olmsted's six pinkish, bronze-top lamps directly east of the Capitol are worth a look, too.
The design of the building itself was the result of a competition held in 1792; the winner was William Thornton, a physician and amateur architect from the West Indies. With its central rotunda and dome, Thornton's Capitol is reminiscent of Rome's Pantheon. This similarity must have delighted the nation's founders, who sought inspiration from the principles of the Republic of Rome.
The cornerstone was laid by George Washington in a Masonic ceremony on September 18, 1793, and in November 1800 both the Senate and the House of Representatives moved down from Philadelphia to occupy the first completed section: the boxlike portion between the central rotunda and today's north wing. (Subsequent efforts to find the cornerstone Washington laid have been unsuccessful, though when the east front was extended in the 1950s, workers found a knee joint thought to be from a 500-pound ox that was roasted at the 1793 celebration.) By 1807 the House wing had been completed, just to the south of what's now the domed center, and a covered wooden walkway joined the two wings.
The "Congress House" grew slowly and suffered a grave setback on August 24, 1814, when British troops led by Sir George Cockburn marched on Washington and set fire to the Capitol, the White House, and numerous other government buildings. (Cockburn reportedly stood on the House Speaker's chair and asked his men, "Shall this harbor of Yankee democracy be burned?" The question was rhetorical; the building was torched.) The wooden walkway was destroyed and the two wings gutted, but the walls were left standing after a violent rainstorm doused the flames. Fearful that Congress might leave Washington, residents raised money for a hastily built "Brick Capitol" that stood where the Supreme Court is today. Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe supervised the rebuilding, adding American touches such as the corncob-and-tobacco-leaf capitals to columns in the east entrance of the Senate wing. He was followed by Boston-born Charles Bulfinch, and in 1826 the Capitol, its low wooden dome sheathed in copper, was finished.
North and south wings were added in the 1850s and 1860s to accommodate a growing government trying to keep pace with a growing country. The elongated edifice extended farther north and south than Thornton had planned, and in 1855, to keep the scale correct, work began on a taller, cast-iron dome. President Lincoln was criticized for continuing this expensive project while the country was in the throes of the Civil War, but he called the construction "a sign we intend the Union shall go on." This twin-shell dome, a marvel of 19th-century engineering, rises 285 feet above the ground and weighs 4,500 tons. It expands and contracts up to 4 inches a day, depending on the outside temperature. The allegorical figure atop the dome, often mistaken for Pocahontas, is called Freedom.
Sculptor Thomas Crawford had first planned for the 19.5-foot-tall bronze statue to wear the cloth liberty cap of a freed Roman slave, but Southern lawmakers, led by Jefferson Davis, objected. An "American" headdress composed of a star-encircled helmet surmounted with an eagle's head and feathers was substituted. A light just below the statue burns whenever Congress is in session.
The Capitol has continued to grow. In 1962 the east front was extended 33.5 feet, creating 100 additional offices. Preservationists have fought to keep the west front from being extended, because it's the last remaining section of the Capitol's original facade. A compromise was reached in 1983, when it was agreed that the facade's crumbling sandstone blocks would simply be replaced with stronger limestone.
In 2008 the largest addition to the Capitol in its history opened. The Capitol Visitor Center
is a $621 million facility that's about as large as five football fields and includes an exhibit hall, auditorium, two theaters, meeting rooms, gift shops, and a restaurant. It is positioned below the east side of the Capitol so as not to detract from the appearance of the Capitol grounds. Tours of the Capitol begin in the Capitol Visitor Center. After the 13-minute introductory filmOut of Many, One,
tour groups are led into the Rotunda. At the dome's center is Constantino Brumidi's 1865 fresco,Apotheosis of Washington.
The figures in the inner circle represent the 13 original states; those in the outer ring symbolize arts, sciences, and industry. The flat, sculpture-style frieze around the Rotunda's rim depicts 400 years of American history and was started by Brumidi in 1877. While painting Penn's treaty with the Indians, the 74-year-old artist slipped on the 58-foot-high scaffold and almost fell off. Brumidi managed to hang on until help arrived, but he died a few months later from kidney failure. The work was continued by another Italian, Filippo Costaggini, but the frieze wasn't finished until American Allyn Cox added the final touches in 1953.
The Rotunda's eight immense oil paintings are of scenes from American history. The four scenes from the Revolutionary War are by John Trumbull, who served alongside George Washington and painted the first president from life. Thirty people have lain in state or in honor in the Rotunda, including 10 presidents, from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan. The most recently honored was civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who in 2005 became the first woman to lie in honor.
South of the Rotunda is Statuary Hall,
once the legislative chamber of the House of Representatives. The room has an architectural quirk that maddened early legislators: a slight whisper uttered on one side of the hall can be heard on the other. (This parlor trick doesn't always work; sometimes the hall is just too noisy.) When the House moved out, Congress invited each state to send statues of two great deceased residents for placement in the former chamber. About half of the accumulated statues are here; the rest were dispersed to other spots in the Capitol, including the new visitor center.
To the north, on the Senate side, is the chamber once used by the Supreme Court, and, above it, the splendid Old Senate Chamber (closed until further notice), both of which have been restored. In the Brumidi Corridor (also closed until further notice), on the ground floor of the Senate wing, frescoes and oil paintings of birds, plants, and American inventions adorn the walls and ceilings. Intricate, Brumidi-designed bronze stairways lead to the second floor. The Italian artist also memorialized several American heroes, painting them inside trompe l'oeil frames. Some frames were left blank. The most recent one to be filled, in 1987, honors the crew of the space shuttle Challenger.
Free gallery passes to watch the House or Senate in session can be obtained only from your representative's or senator's offices; both chambers are open to the public when either body is in session. In addition, the House Gallery is open 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday when the House is not session. International visitors may request gallery passes from the House or Senate Appointment Desks on the upper level of the visitor center. Your representative's or senator's office may also arrange for a staff member to give you a tour of the Capitol or set you up with a time for a Capitol Guide Service Tour. When they're in session, some members even have time set aside to meet with constituents. You can link to the home page of your representative or senator at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
Prior to entering the visitor center, allow about 30 minutes to go through security. Bags can be no larger than 14 inches wide, 13 inches high, and 4 inches deep, and other possessions you can bring into the building are strictly limited. (The full list of prohibited items is posted at www.visitthecapitol.gov). There are no facilities for leaving personal belongings, but you can check your coat. If you're planning a visit, check the status of tours and access; security measures may change. www.visitthecapitol.gov. Admission: Free. Hours: Tours 8:30-4:30. Metro: Capitol S or Union Station.
Independence Ave. and 6th St. SW
Washington, DC 20560
This is the country's second most visited museum, attracting 9 million people annually to the world's largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft. Its 23 galleries tell the story of aviation from the earliest human attempts at flight to supersonic jets and spacecraft.
Look up to see the world's most famous aircraft: hovering above are the Wright 1903 Flyer,
which Wilbur Wright piloted over the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; Charles Lindbergh'sSpirit of St. Louis
; the X-1 rocket plane in which Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier; an X-15, the first aircraft to exceed Mach 6; and the Lockheed Vega that Amelia Earhart piloted in 1932: it was the first solo transatlantic flight by a woman. You can touch the displayed 4-billion-year-old slice of moon rock collected byApollo 17
astronauts. Free docent-led tours leave daily at 10:30 and 1 from the museum's welcome center.
Strap into a flight simulator, walk through a model of the Skylab orbital workshop, and learn about the history of flight and the scientific study of the universe from the permanent exhibits.
Immerse yourself in space by taking in an IMAX film or a planetarium presentation. The movies—some in 3D—employ swooping aerial scenes that make you feel as if you've left the ground and fascinating high-definition footage taken in deep space. Buy IMAX theater and planetarium tickets up to two weeks in advance or as soon as you arrive (times and prices vary); then tour the museum.
The three-story museum store is the largest in all the Smithsonian museums, and one of the best. Along with souvenirs, books, and collectors' items, it also displays a model of the USS Enterprise,
used in the filming of the first "Star Trek" television series. A huge food court offers fast food, from pizza to McDonald's.
For more giant jets and spaceships, visit the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
(14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly, VA, 20151. Tel. 202/633-1000; 202/633-4629 movie information; 202/633-5285 TDD. www.nasm.si.edu. Admission: Free; IMAX film or planetarium show $8.75; IMAX feature film $12.50; flight simulators $7-$8. Hours: Daily 10-5:30), near Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. If you want to combine a morning visit with an afternoon departure flight from Dulles Airport, there are 15-minute shuttles every hour between the airport and museum for 50¢. Unlike the museum on the Mall, which is divided into smaller galleries with dense history and science exhibits, the Udvar-Hazy Center focuses on one thing: planes and rockets, hung as though in flight throughout two vast multilevel hangars. This focus makes the center more appealing for families with kids who may not be old enough to take in detailed historical narratives, but will certainly ooh and aah over the marvelous planes. It is also much less crowded than the Mall museum.
One giant three-level hangar is devoted to historic aircraft, such as the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world; the sassy-looking DeHavilland Chipmunk, a prototype aerobatic airplane; the sleek, supersonic Concorde, and the Enola Gay
, which in 1945 dropped the first atomic bomb to be used in war on Hiroshima, Japan.
A second hangar is largely taken up by the space shuttle Enterprise,
as well as satellites, space stations, and space missile launchers. It also features a small but fascinating display of astronaut paraphernalia, including space food (chicken and peas for American astronauts, borscht for Russians) and special space underwear required for spacewalks. There is also an eight-story IMAX theater, which screens an award-winning 42-minute film,Blue Planet,
with sweeping footage of Earth taken from space. www.nasm.si.edu. Admission: Free, IMAX $10, planetarium $8.50. Hours: Daily 10-5:30. Metro: Smithsonian.
3001 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Since 2000 the zoo's most famous residents have been the giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. The excitement surrounding the pandas was heightened when Tai Shan, the National Zoo's first panda cub, was born in 2005. Tai is only the third panda born in the United States. However, Tai returned to China in February 2010, and the 10-year agreement that brought Tian Tian and Mei Xiang to Washington ends in December 2010. At this writing the National Zoo was in talks with Chinese officials regarding the pandas' future, and it is possible they will return to China. Check with the zoo's Web site before you go; you can also sign up for panda e-mail alerts on the zoo's Web site. Even if you miss the pandas, the zoo is still well worth the visit. It continues to add exciting new exhibits, such as the Asia trail that features: sloth bears, fishing cats, red pandas, a Japanese giant salamander, clouded leopards, and other Asian species.
Carved out of Rock Creek Park, the National Zoo contains 2,000 animals, representing 400 species. The zoo is a series of rolling, wooded hills that complement the many innovative compounds showing animals in their native settings. Step inside the Great Flight Cage to observe the free flight of many species of birds; this walk-in aviary is open from May to October (the birds are moved indoors during the colder months). Between 10 and 2 each day you can catch the orangutan population traveling on the "O Line," a series of cables and towers near the Great Ape House that allows the primates to swing hand over hand about 35 feet over your head. One of the more unusual and impressive exhibits is Amazonia, an amazingly authentic reproduction of a South American rain-forest ecosystem. You feel as if you are deep inside a steamy jungle, with monkeys leaping overhead and noisy birds flying from branch to branch. Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo was created by an Act of Congress in 1889, and the 163-acre park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed the U.S. Capitol grounds and New York's Central Park. Before the zoo opened in 1890, live animals used as taxidermists' models were kept on the Mall. www.si.edu/natzoo. Admission: Free, parking $16. Hours: May-mid-Sept., daily 6am-8pm; mid-Sept.-Apr., daily 6-6. Zoo buildings open at 10 and close before zoo closes. Metro: Cleveland Park or Woodley Park/Zoo.
1 Air Force Memorial Dr.
Arlington, VA 22204
Three stainless-steel, asymmetrical spires slice through the skyline up to 270 feet, representing flight, the precision of the "bomb burst" maneuver performed by the Air Force Thunderbirds, and the three core values of the Air Force: integrity, service, and excellence. The spires are adjacent to the southern portion of Arlington National Cemetery and visible from the Tidal Basin and I-395 near Washington. At the base of the spires is an 8-foot statue of the honor guard, a glass wall engraved with the missing man formation, and granite walls inscribed with Air Force values and accomplishments. www.airforcememorial.org. Admission: Free. Hours: Apr.-Sept., daily 8am-11pm; Oct.-Mar., daily 8am-9pm. Metro: Pentagon.
Washington, DC 20024
Washington Monument. At the western end of the Mall, the 555-foot, 5-inch Washington Monument punctuates the capital like a huge exclamation point. Inside, an elevator takes you to the top for a bird's-eye view of the city.
The monument was part of Pierre L'Enfant's plan for Washington, but his intended location proved to be marshy, so it was moved 100 yards southeast to firmer ground. (A stone marker now indicates L'Enfant's original site.) Construction began in 1848 and continued, with interruptions, until 1884. The design called for an obelisk rising from a circular colonnaded building, which was to be adorned with statues of national heroes, including Washington riding in a chariot. When the Army Corps of Engineers took over construction in 1876, the building around the obelisk was abandoned. Upon its completion, the monument was the world's tallest structure.
An elevator whizzes to the top of the monument in 70 seconds—a trip that in 1888 took 12 minutes via steam-powered elevator. From the viewing stations at the top you can take in most of the District of Columbia, as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia.
There's a story behind the change in color of the stone about a third of the way up the monument. In 1854, six years into construction, members of the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing Party stole and smashed a block of marble donated by Pope Pius IX. This action, combined with funding shortages and the onset of the Civil War, brought construction to a halt. After the war, building finally resumed, and though the new marble came from the same Maryland quarry as the old, it was taken from a different stratum with a slightly different shade.
The monument uses a free timed-ticket system for the elevator ride. A limited number of tickets are available each day beginning half an hour before the monument opens at the marble lodge on 15th Street. In spring and summer, lines are likely to start much earlier. Tickets are also available online for a $1.50 service charge. Each ticket is good for a designated half-hour period.
If you don't score tickets to the monument, you can still look down on D.C. at the Old Post Office Pavilion (100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW at 12th St.) or the Washington National Cathedral's Pilgrim Observation Gallery (Massachusetts and Wisconsin Aves. NW).
Maps below viewing-station windows point out some of Washington's major buildings, but you might want to bring a more detailed map (available at the monument's bookstore). www.nps.gov/wamo; www.recreation.gov for advance tickets. Admission: Free; $1.50 service fee per advance ticket. Hours: Daily 9-5. Metro: Smithsonian.
Columbia Pike at Joyce St.
Arlington, VA 22211
Dedicated in 2006, this memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force and its predecessor organizations of the U.S. Army. Three curved spires—up to 270 feet tall—represent the bomb burst maneuver famously performed by the USAF Thunderbird Demonstration Team. The memorial is just uphill from the Pentagon, beside the Navy Annex on Columbia Pike, and easy to see from a distance.
14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy.
Chantilly, VA 20151
Opened in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' flight, the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is beside Washington Dulles International Airport. The gargantuan facility displays 123 aircraft and 141 large space artifacts, including rockets, satellites, experimental flying machines, a Concorde, the Space Shuttle Enterprise,
and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which in 1990 flew from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, in just over an hour. An IMAX theater here shows films about flight. Parking is free after 4 pm. www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy. Admission: Free, IMAX $8.50, parking $12. Hours: Daily 10-5:30.
8940 Jones Mill Rd.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
A self-guided nature trail winds through a verdant 40-acre estate and around the Audubon Naturalist Society. The estate is known as Woodend, as is the mansion, which was designed in 1927 by Jefferson Memorial architect John Russell Pope. The society leads wildlife identification walks, environmental education programs, and—September through June—a weekly Saturday bird walk at its headquarters. The bookstore stocks titles on conservation, ecology, and birding, as well as nature-related gifts such as jewelry and toys. www.audubonnaturalist.org. Admission: Free. Hours: Grounds daily dawn-dusk; bookstore weekdays 10-5, Sat. 9-5, Sun. noon-5.
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
One of the Department of the Interior's largest science and environmental education centers, the Patuxent National Wildlife Visitor Center, between Laurel and Bowie, showcases interactive exhibits on global environmental issues, migratory bird routes, wildlife habitats, and endangered species. A viewing station overlooks a lake area that beavers, bald eagles, and Canada geese use as a habitat. Weather permitting, you can take a 30-minute tram tour through meadows, forests, and wetlands and then explore the trails on your own. The paved Loop Trail runs 1/3-mi; another 3½ mi of trails crisscross the property. patuxent.fws.gov. Admission: Free, tram ride $3. Hours: Daily 9-4:30; tram mid-Mar.-mid-Nov., weekends 11:30, 1, 2, and 3, summer weekdays 11:30; late June-Aug., weekdays 11:30; trails daily sunrise-4:30.
3400 Bryan Point Rd.
Accokeek, MD 20607
On 4,000 acres of land bought to protect the view from Mount Vernon across the river, Piscataway Park attracts history buffs, horticulturists, naturalists, hikers, and families. At National Colonial Farm
you can walk through a middle-class 18th-century farm dwelling and tobacco barn and reproductions of a meat house and out-kitchen used by farmers not quite as prosperous as the Washingtons on the other side of the Potomac. Guides point out the farmhouse's most valuable materials: the glass in the windows and its nails. Whenever a house burned down in the 18th century, the owners would rummage through the remains for the nails. Old-time animal breeds and heirloom crop varieties are both raised here. Also on hand is an herb garden as well as bluebirds, great blue herons, and bald eagles. www.nps.gov/pisc. Admission: $2, families $5. Hours: Park daily dawn-dusk; National Colonial Farm mid-Mar.-mid-Dec., Tues.-Sun. 10-4; tours weekends at 1; mid-Dec.-mid.-Mar., weekends 10-4.
2740 Old Philadelphia Pike
Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505
The rooms are simple, clean, and comfortable, and the staff is friendly at this family-run motel. The property offers a host of recreational opportunities. Pros:
free tour of Amish farm; indoor pools; convenient to farmers' market.Cons:
small bathrooms; some rooms need updating; no alcohol permitted. www.bird-in-hand.com/familyinn. 125 rooms, 4 suites. In-hotel: restaurant, pools, tennis court, gym. Credit cards accepted.
|June 25, 2018||Max Temp||Min Temp|
|Normal (KCGS)||44 °F||29 °F|
|Record (KCGS)||89 °F (2007)||8 °F (2018)|
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