Date of Visit: March 19, 2011
Visiting the Thomas Jefferson Memorial is kind of confusing with all the construction in the Tidal Basin area. For one, the new Martin Luther King Jr Memorial construction means you have to cross earlier than normal to go to the Tidal Basin area from the Lincoln Memorial and there is no signage that tells you that. In fact, it is right by the old signage that tells you to keep going and cross later to go to the Jefferson Memorial.
The other problem is that around the Jefferson Memorial there is construction partially on the memorial and partially on the tidal basin levee. You can still visit the memorial, but you have to go the long way around the construction with a wheelchair because there are a bunch of concrete barriers that are too close together to get a wheelchair between.
Once you get to the memorial from the non-Tidal Basin side, there is a ramp to by pass the few steps. Then you walk around the memorial and there is an almost hidden entrance to under the memorial, but there is signage pointing to it. However, it has the same issue as the Lincoln Memorial in not having automatic doors. This is more problematic, though, because right inside the door is the ramp down to under the memorial. Down there is an exhibit area, some shops, and the elevator up to the statue.
There is a touristy gift shop and a National Parks gift shop in the lower area. The touristy one was a little hard with the wheelchair, but not impossible like the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park one is decently laid out and not too bad to maneuver through, so it was easy to go in and get the National Park Passport stamps for the Jefferson Memorial and George Mason Memorial.
The elevator conveniently takes you up to the statue chamber level and you follow a hallway to go into the chamber.
Photos by Mik and Kjersti
Text by Kjersti with Mik's wheelchair accessibility input
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
South of Tidal Basin