Free Admission to Mount Vernon February 20th and 22nd

Visit Mount Vernon for Free on February 20 and 22
Visit Mount Vernon for free on February 20 and 22

Washington locals and visitors alike can celebrate President’s Day in style by visiting George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

This year marks the 285th birthday of the first President, and lots of festivities are planned at George Washington’s historic home and estate on the Potomac River.

You can enjoy period music, character performances, story-time, tours of the mansion and birthday cake with General Washington.

Regular admission to Mount Vernon is $20 for persons age 12 and older but admission will be free on President’s Day — February 20, 2016 — and on George Washington’s actual birthday — February 22, 2016.

There is lots to see including the historic mansion, many outbuildings where trades were practiced, the slave memorial, gardens, a pioneer farm, and George and Martha Washington’s tomb.  The setting is on the Potomac River is quite spectacular, making for a pleasant family outing.


Los Angeles Union Station 75th Anniversary Celebration

Union Station 74th Anniversary CelebrationHistoric Union Station in Los Angeles is hosting a 75th birthday celebration in honor of the iconic art deco train station, which has been restored as a multi-modal transit center.

If I lived in Los Angeles, I’d head over to Union Station on May 3, 2014, for this free family event!

The celebration, sponsored by Metroin partnership with National Train Day, Amtrak and Metrolink will commemorate all things rail on Saturday, May 3, 10 am to 4 pm.

Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Union Station

There will be dozens of exhibitors at the station, tours, entertainment on four stages, as well as free Metrolink rides, a guided bike tour, and discounts at museums, restaurants, and theaters in half a dozen nearby neighborhoods.

Events at Union Station

Events at the station will include:

  • Official ceremony to rededicate of the historic ticket concourse
  • Step aboard one-of-a-kind rail cars
  • Tour the Amtrak Exhibit Train
  • Self-guided architectural tours of Union Station’s architecture, embellishments and artworks
  • Watch model trains in action
  • Play in the Chuggington Kids Depot (a preschool television series)
Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Union Station

Entertainment on Four Stages

There will be more than a dozen acts, from music to dance and children’s theater, performed on four stages throughout the station.  
Highlights include:

  • Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, an all-female mariachi ensemble
  • Las Cafeteras, Afro-Mexican Son Jarocho, Hip Hop, Folk and Native American sounds
  • Big Jay McNeely & The Hollywood Combo, a Rhythm & Blues band
  • The Ladd McIntosh Big Band plays Swing, Two-Beat, Latin, Funk
  • Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones perform WWII-era swing music
  • Cava, sounds of Afro-Cuban Son, Cumbia, Ska, Salsa and Funk
  • East Wind Lion Dance Troupe performing a traditional Chinese lion dance
  • Choo Choo Bob, railroad-themed music
  • Los Angeles Muses, a cappella harmonies from groups like the Andrews Sisters
  • Vocalist Jennifer Keith leads a quintet in jazz, American roots and pop music

Free Metrolink Rides and Neighborhood Discounts

Step outside the station for fun-filled activities in all directions.  See the full listing of rides and discounts online.


The Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

Tour Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Join the Electric Railroaders’ Association on the afternoon of Saturday April 5, 2014 for their 32nd annual guided tour of Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, and it turns 101 years old this year.

 This majestic terminal, officially dedicated on February 2, 1913 at the pinnacle of American long-distance rail travel, originally served as the crown jewel for New York Central Railroad. Today, it services Metro-North Railroad passengers and over 20 million visitors annually. After extensive renovations in recent years leading up to its recent 100th anniversary, Grand Central Terminal is better than ever.

The tour will cover architectural and structural features of the station, including  a plethora of platforms, corridors, concourses, rooms and secret passages, as well as various types of locomotives and car equipment.

Participants will learn about upcoming plans for the terminal, such the major ongoing East Side Access Project connecting it to the Long Island Rail Road.

The tour is led by Dan Brucker, Metro-North’s official Grand Central historian.  Check out some You Tube videos of Brucker.  This guy is colorful and demonstrative! 

Tickets for the Tour of Grand Central Terminal

Tickets are $25 per person, and entries must be mailed in by March 1, 2014.

Click here for the Ticket Order Form.

Behind-the-Scenes at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: The Udvar-Hazy Open House

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

I love behind-the-scenes tours at museums and was lucky enough to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland many years ago.

Specialists were in the process of preparing the Enola Gay for exhibit and it was really fascinating to hear their take on the controversial exhibit and to observe them working.

Much of the museum’s restoration work has now moved to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, near Dulles International Airport.

This Saturday, January 25, 2014, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, there will be the first ever open house.

The highlight of the open house will be a tour of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger, where the Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver, flown in World War II, is undergoing restoration.

Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar
Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar

Museum curators and other specialists will offer a behind-the scenes look at the Udvar-Hazy Center through presentations, hands-on activities, stories, and special tours about the collection and restoration projects.

The open house will showcase historic artifacts, documents, and works of art that are not on public display.  You will have the chance to see what it takes to collect, preserve, and restore historic aircraft and spaceships.

Here are the details:

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